Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 94, Issue 4, pp 254–257 | Cite as

The Health Effects of Taxi Driving

The Case of Visible Minority Drivers in Toronto
  • Marcia E. FaceyEmail author



To examine the relationship between work and health among visible minority taxi drivers.


In-depth semi-structured interviews with taxi drivers (10) and industry informants (5), document analysis, and participant observation. Data analysis followed the principles of grounded theory.


The data suggest that factors such as racism/discrimination, the nature of their social position (e.g., immigrant status, language barriers, lack of access to economic resources, lack of ‘Canadian’ work experience), and the social and organizational characteristics of work (e.g., employment contracts and the nature of work) constituted threats to taxi drivers’ health and influenced their health-related behaviours. They experienced economic exploitation, economic uncertainty, occupational violence, fatigue, and high levels of competition, and they engaged in risky behaviours on the job. Taxi drivers also employed various health-protective behaviours in an effort to manage the threats to health.


These findings are consistent with extant studies of taxi drivers. However, further research is needed to more clearly discern the influence of ethnicity in work-health relationships. The study has implications for population health and is suggestive of areas for further research; e.g., other service-oriented occupations where workers have limited control and little is known about their health or health-related behaviours.



Cette étude examine les liens entre le travail et la santé des chauffeurs de taxi qui appartiennent à une minorité visible.


Entretiens approfondis semi-structurés avec des chauffeurs de taxi (10) et des informateurs de l’industrie (5), analyse de documents et observation des participants. L’analyse des données a suivi les principes de la théorie à base empirique.


Interprétation: Les données suggèrent que des facteurs comme le racisme et la discrimination, la position sociale (p. ex., le statut d’immigrant, les barrières linguistiques, le manque de ressources économiques, le manque d’expérience de travail au Canada) et les caractéristiques sociales et structurales du travail (p. ex., les contrats de travail et leur nature) créent une menace pour la santé des chauffeurs et influençent leur comportement à l’égard de leur santé. Les chauffeurs, qui doivent composer avec l’exploitation et l’incertitude économique, la violence au travail, la fatigue et une concurrence très vive, prennent beaucoup de risques au travail. Par contre, ils adoptent diverses méthodes afin de gérer les risques pour leur santé au travail.


Ces résultats correspondent à ceux d’autres études sur les chauffeurs de taxi, mais des recherches approfondies seront nécessaires pour bien comprendre l’influence des diverses ethnies sur les liens entre la santé et le travail. La présente étude contient des leçons importantes pour la santé publique et présente plusieurs pistes de recherche. Par exemple, on pourrait étudier d’autres domaines du secteur des services où les employés ont peu de contrôle, et où les connaissances sur la santé et les comportements connexes sont peu nombreuses.


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public Health Sciences, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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