Have you successfully immigrated to Canada?


Christiane Harzig
Immigration law - an instrument for shaping society

If you want to judge Canada's immigration policy, you have to ask whether the glass is half full or half empty.[1] In other words, there are basically two ways of evaluating or interpreting the immigration policy of the country: Against the background of the immigration discussion in the Federal Republic of Germany today, one is impressed by the routine and professionalism with which the contours of immigration policy are repeatedly negotiated in the Canadian political public . Against the background of precisely this tradition, Canadian critics in particular cannot avoid perceiving their country's immigration policy as racist in the past and as not liberal and far-reaching enough in the present. Canadian immigration law, as it were as a coded immigration policy, was (and is) domestically linked to economic and demographic developments and, in terms of foreign policy, should be integrated into the triangular relationship: US-American neighbor, British motherland and international relations.

In the following, the historical development of immigration legislation will first be shown. Using a few examples, it can be made clear how domestic political requirements and the management of the immigration process were interdependent. In a second part, this relationship is related to the current immigration situation.

The development began with the so-called "United Empire Loyalists". You are probably among the most privileged political ones

Refugees in Canadian History. These loyal settlers from the 13 colonies played a key role in both the Anglicization of the province of Quebec and the political safeguarding of the southern border. They were given land, clothing, food and other integration aids. In order not to let the development get out of hand, the parliament of Lower Canada passed the "Act Respecting Aliens" in 1794. Herein it was determined that officials should review the political, social and economic suitability of the settler families from the United States.[2]

Behind this legislation was already the fear that the immigrant women could become a "public charge" despite all support. That this fear was not entirely unfounded became clear between 1847 and 1851, when the "hungry Irish" began to immigrate to Canada. The cost of the direct medical and social assistance needed to bail out Irish immigrant women, weakened by hunger and disease, was substantial. The questions of who had to pay for the costs and how to prevent a repetition of the disaster should be fundamentally resolved. From now on, Canadians would regulate and control immigration into their country and also pay for the follow-up costs.[3] The fear that immigration would lead to a burden on the public purse was anchored in the long run.

Towards the end of the 19th century it had become increasingly clear that immigration and economic development were closely linked. This resulted in two measures for immigration policy: industry needed a free hand in order to get particularly cheap labor and settlers were required for agriculture

to be advertised.[4] While a certain laissez faire policy was applied to industry, from 1896, under the responsibility of Clifford Sifton, an active immigration policy for the purpose of settlement was pursued.[5] Sifton's policies were characterized by a number of fundamental measures: they focused exclusively on settlers for agriculture, with preference given to families; a national / ethnic hierarchy was established, the main aim of which was to recruit British and American settlers. However, when these were not available to the desired extent, they resorted to Central and Eastern European settlers (Ukrainians / Galicians). African-Americans, immigrants from Asia and Italy were explicitly undesirable. In addition, Canada, a country of immigration, was marketed in Europe with the help of advertising brochures and an agent system.[6] The increase in the number of immigrants as well as the diversification of the countries of origin is due to his political initiative. The structures of this policy were to shape Canadian immigration policy well into the 1950s.

Based on the legislation regarding the immigration of Chinese to Canada, on the one hand the fundamentally racist orientation of the early immigration restrictions can be seen, on the other hand it also becomes clear how the political / legislative reactions were (and are) integrated into the economic needs of the country, in international relations as well as in relation to the possibilities of political articulation of the immigrants are "communities". Third, it shows the extent to which the interests of a single province, in this case British Columbia, could influence federal government legislation. By threatening to leave the confederation if necessary, British Columbia had repeatedly put pressure on the government in Ottawa to achieve anti-Chinese legislation at the national level. Similar-

Quebec was able to use tactics in the later 1930s and early 1940s to prevent the admission of Jewish refugees. For reasons of space, this cannot be discussed further. Please refer to the article by Dirk Hoerder and the overview in the appendix.

The end of World War II presented Canada with new immigration policy situations. Domestically, the economic development created an increased demand for labor, and foreign policy was more and more involved in international contexts. This led to a renewed debate on the objectives of immigration policy, and in 1947 the Liberal Prime Minister Mackenzie King made a public statement. Six essentials were named:

  1. Immigration is a domestic policy issue;
  2. Immigration serves to increase the population;
  3. Immigration is necessary for economic development;
  4. Immigration must be selective;
  5. the country must also be able to "absorb" the immigrants (absorptive capacity);
  6. Immigration is not intended to change the current character of the Canadian population.[7]

The essentials show that the thrust of immigration policy had not yet changed: immigration was still oriented towards economic and demographic needs and women from Western Europe were explicitly preferred. And although the problem of "displaced persons" could have prompted this, there was still no integration into the international context.

However, the implementation of this policy, as enshrined in the 1952 Act, remained half-hearted and cumbersome. Though

a "Department for Citizenship and Immigration" was set up, but the financial and human resources of the immigration authority remained completely inadequate. Above all, however, the minister responsible was given unrestricted power to decide on the economic, social and cultural suitability of an immigrant. He had the right to refuse immigration to certain ethnic groups or special occupational groups, people with "peculiar" cultural habits, i.e. people who indicated that they would not assimilate easily. The minister was the sole and final authority.

The law and related policy proved extremely impractical. The respective ministers complained that they spent 90% of their time dealing with individual cases. It was also limited to only processing immigration applications from Europe and conflicts with the Ministry of Labor, which wanted an even stronger focus on economic needs, arose continuously. The criticism of the 1952 law is clear:

"... the Immigration Act of 1952 proved a great handicap to effective immigration management. It was a poor and illiberal piece of legislation which was difficult to administer."[8]

By the late 1950s, the law's inadequacies had become evident. The unprocessed applications piled up in the European offices, the need for qualified workers was not met, criticism of the openly discriminatory and racist regulations grew louder and a long-term, future-oriented immigration program was called for. During the reign of the Progressive Conservative Party under Diefenbaker from 1959 to 1963 the lowest immigration figures occurred; In 1961, with around 70,000 immigrants, the absolute low point was reached. At the same time, however, the overseas offices in Rome, Athens and Lisbon referred to waiting lists that would take years to process.

Also at this time, almost unnoticed by Parliament, the Cabinet and later research, implementing regulations were issued in 1962, which largely repealed the fundamentally discriminatory aspects of the Canadian immigration law. However, a differentiation was retained. Unlike the people from Asia and Africa living in Canada, Canadian European women could also provide guarantees for more distant relatives.[9] As a result of this new regulation, immigration offices were opened in Egypt, Lebanon, the Philippines, the West Indies and Pakistan between 1963 and 1968.[10]

In the early 1960s, after a brief recession, the economy began to recover, the conservatives were replaced by the liberals, immigration numbers rose, but the situation in the immigration service remained unsatisfactory, mainly due to administrative deficiencies. In 1966 the ministries were therefore restructured. The Ministry for "Citizenship and Immigration" (including Indian Affairs) became the "Department on Manpower and Immigration". In this way the long conflict between the Ministry of Labor and the immigration authorities could be resolved, but the exclusive focus on the interests of the economy has now been criticized. It was now official that the immigrant women were perceived as workers alone, the need for social care for a transitional period was largely denied. The debate about this decision also made the changing demands of the economy towards more professionalization and specialization clear. There was still a great need for - now highly qualified - labor and in doing so there was competition with other immigration countries.[11]

In October 1966, the Immigration Service presented the White Paper on Canadian Immigration Policy. This discussion paper should prepare a revision of the immigration law.

Unfortunately, this template did not convince anyone because it contained little concrete information and suggestions. The main problem of how to bring the sponsorship system under control so that more skilled workers came to Canada was not addressed. A new proposal was submitted a few months later and was convincing. Initially, three basic approval groups were defined:

  • independent applicants
  • dependent family members ("sponsored dependents")
  • independent family members ("nominated relatives").

The whole thing should be regulated via a point system, which established the criteria for the "usefulness" of an applicant. The criteria for an independent applicant include, for example, education, personal assessment, professional skills, professional needs and age. When an applicant was sponsored by a Canadian citizen, he / she experienced a certain preference. The criteria have remained largely the same to this day. (See the list in the appendix.) This point system - just a regulation, not a new law - represented a fundamental turning point in Canada's immigration legislation. It came into force in April 1967.

In 1976, following the presentation of further discussion papers known as "Green Papers", a new law was passed that laid down the 1967 regulations. First, the tasks of the immigration program were named in paragraph 3 of the law. In detail that meant again:

  • The demographic targets set by the government should be met;
  • Canadian culture should be enriched and strengthened, taking into account the bilingual and federal nature of Canadian society;
  • Family reunification was the top priority;
  • different social groups should work together to facilitate and promote the integration of immigrant women;
  • tourism, trade, scientific exchange and international understanding should be promoted by facilitating visa procedures;
  • Canada's humanitarian commitments to refugees have been recognized;
  • It should be ensured that newcomers benefit from the Canadian Constitution, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
  • a strong and vibrant economy and a healthy, safe and well-ordered society should be promoted;
  • as well as an international order and justice, criminals were denied access to Canada.[12]

It was also determined that the screening of applicants should not be discriminated against on the basis of "race", ethnic group, skin color, religion or gender.

The law does not provide for the establishment of immigration quotas. Rather, these are renegotiated every year after consultation with economic experts, demographers and social groups. The classification of the applicants was retained, the classes are subject to a list of priorities. The "family class" and the refugees have top priority. (This group will be discussed later). This means that all citizens or residents with permanent residence permits who have been living in the country for more than three years have the right to vouch for their family members.[13] In addition to these direct relatives, there are also the "assisted relatives" or the "nominated class". This category includes the more distant relatives whose immigration the guarantors want to support financially. These applicants must also meet the evaluation criteria

subject to the point system. All applications must first be made from outside the country.

The law passed in 1978 also provides for the category of "Business Immigration". This category is divided again into entrepreneurs, investors and self-employed (entrepreneur, investor, self-employed). The entrepreneur has already proven his entrepreneurial and economic skills and now wants to set up, buy or invest in a company in Canada. The aim here is to create jobs.[14] He must also run his company himself. The investor, on the other hand, does not need to work himself, it is enough if his capital is at least $ 500,000.[15] The self-employed only has to occupy himself and thereby enrich Canada economically, culturally and artistically. He / she also has to submit to the point system, but receives 30 bonus points if he / she can convince the immigration officer of the potential success of the business. In order to be able to meet the very special labor demand of the country, there is still the possibility of immigrating with a job in your pocket (arranged employment). However, the employer must have proven beforehand that there is no equally qualified Canadian for the position to be filled.

Despite all the liberalization of immigration legislation, there is still the possibility of refusing immigration, for example in the case of mental and physical disabilities, if it can be assumed that this disease poses a risk to public health (AIDS!?!?) Or if so the sick person could become too much of a burden on the public health system. Second, people can be excluded who show that they are unwilling to take care of themselves or are difficult

Have a criminal record. And thirdly, subversive activities or acts of violence against democracy are a reason for exclusion.[16]

With the presentation of the "Green Paper" and the passage of the Immigration Act of 1978, however, the discussion about immigration issues was not off the table. The principle question, whether or not to emigrate, is only asked by a few outsiders. Hardly anyone today questions the fundamental importance of immigration to Canada's society. Nevertheless, individual aspects are hotly debated.

First and foremost there is the question of the economic significance of immigration. The scientific and political public argue about whether and to what extent the immigrant women meet a necessary need for labor, whether they create their jobs themselves, either because they work independently in niches of the Canadian economy or because they stimulate production by increasing demand, or whether they are stealing jobs from Canadian working people during the worst economic recession since the 1930s. The academic public of economists generally endorses immigration.[17]

The second set of topics deals with the demographic aspects of immigration. It is based on the fact that the Canadian population does not reproduce itself sufficiently, that at the beginning of the 3rd millennium too many older citizens have to be cared for by the working people. We are familiar with this discussion from the Federal Republic of Germany. If the population is to be maintained at the current level of 25 to 26 million, one needs - if the birth rate remains the same -

a net immigration of 125,000 per year.[18] The scientific public of demographers can now discuss how many people the country needs or how big the optimal growth rate would be if the questions of ecological compatibility and quality of life were taken into account. So far we only know that the number is far from being reached, the actual size does not seem to be predictable.[19]

"National characters", "visible minorities", "changing origin of immigrants" are key words that characterize the third set of topics in the immigration discussion. With the proclamation of a multicultural society in 1971, Canada said goodbye to the English-dominated national character that allowed large French enclaves and had been able to preserve it for over a century. By lifting all immigration restrictions that related to cultural, ethnic and religious peculiarities, the "national character" was made available at the same time. Today one observes the changing areas of origin - in 1984 around 50% of the immigrants came from Asia, especially from Vietnam and Hong Kong - with cautious skepticism, but also perceives the many different cultures that the immigrants bring with them as an enrichment. The problem of everyday racism is not necessarily left out of the discussion, but it is also not always addressed aggressively.[20] This topic is of particular importance due to the urban concentration of the new immigrants. While the so-called "visible minorities" only make up 6.3% of the total population, their share in cities like Toronto and Vancouver is 17%.[21]

One aspect that receives far less public attention is the administration of the immigration process. Here there is still a wide gap between demands and reality. At the end of the 1980s, the office lacked sufficient and qualified staff, adequate financial and technical equipment, clear, understandable and unambiguous directives and cooperation with other authorities. A 1986 report by an independent research group suggested urgent improvements. Since 1988, especially since the establishment of the "Immigration and Refugee Board" in January 1989, the work seems to have improved somewhat, but an external assessment is still pending.

One reason for the difficult situation of the immigration authorities on the one hand and the ongoing discussion about immigration on the other is the monumental task - also for Canada - of getting the refugee problem under control. This will now be dealt with in conclusion.

In Canadian immigration history, no distinction was made between refugees and immigrants. If people had to leave their homeland for political reasons, they, like the American loyalists, could find protection as immigrants in Canada. The situation after the Second World War did not change anything. Although they agreed to accept "displaced persons" from the camps in Germany, they were selected largely according to the same criteria as immigrants. In the best case scenario, the DPs were strong and healthy, as far as possible still had knowledge that was needed, and had relatives in Canada.[22] The "Displaced Persons" program deserves a more differentiated look. However, this must be done elsewhere.

The refugees from Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Uganda (Asians) were ultimately simplified and accelerated

Subjected to immigration procedures.[23] Currently, refugees fall under the regulations of the Immigration Act 1976/78. There are four different ways to immigrate to Canada as a refugee (sic!).[24]

The first option consists of submitting an application for "resettlement" to a Canadian embassy or consulate outside the country as a so-called "Convention Refugee", i.e. as a refugee according to the Geneva Refugee Convention, or as a member of the "designated class".[25] In 1988 there were, for example, the following three groups:

    "Self-exiled Persons Designated Class";
    "Indochinese Designated Class";
    "Political Prisoner and Oppressed Persons Designated Class".

The groups can be adapted to the changed global political conditions. However, people applying for immigration in these two categories are subject to similar criteria as regular immigrants. You must demonstrate that your establishment in Canada is likely to be successful.

This first form forms the core of Canada's refugee policy. Over half of all refugees are allowed in through this door. After consulting with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the provinces and representatives of the private sector, the government sets refugee quotas annually. Although the government has allowed this system to ensure optimal flexibility, the size of the numbers and the regions of course often give rise to criticism.[26]

The second form enables groups of private persons or organizations (e.g. church groups, ethnic groups or human rights organizations) to take on guarantees for "Convention Refugees" or "designated class" refugees. This means that these groups enter into a contractual relationship with the government and guarantee the refugee families for whom they have vouched for financial and other support in the integration process. The aid must be guaranteed for at least one year or last until the refugees can stand on their own two feet. The government includes these private sponsorship programs in the calculation of the quotas and informs the branch offices accordingly. These private programs have proven to be particularly successful in terms of the establishment process, although the refugees sponsored in this way do not first have to prove their potentially successful integration before recognition of refugee status.

Third there is the "Special Measures Landing Program". This program is aimed at refugees who have already established themselves in the country and are not ready to return to their home country. Above all, this program was intended to solve the problem of people living illegally in the country and to enable the application processing backlog to be dealt with more quickly. The persons concerned were given work and residence permits and were subject to simplified conditions when they achieved "landed immigrant" status. They could then also bring their family members to join them.[27]

Also the fourth possibility the "Inland Refugee Determination System" is aimed at refugees already living in the country. This is probably the most problematic category and a form that is similar to the German situation. The government is particularly concerned here because the familiar control and selection mechanisms are not working.[28] The refugee already living in the country must

So to prove to the immigration officer that he is politically persecuted within the meaning of the Geneva Refugee Convention. If he succeeds, he will be granted unrestricted political asylum with permanent residence status and a work permit. Only, on the one hand, the recognition rate in this category is low and, on the other hand, the visa has a selection function here. Nevertheless, more and more applications in this category have been made since the mid-1980s, but the vast majority of them are rejected as unfounded. Especially Portuguese, Brazilians and Turks were classified as economic refugees here. Court decisions of the past few years show that the procedure here is becoming more and more restrictive.[29]

Since 1978 the immigration law has been further amended and changed. Based on the amendments made in 1988, the "Immigration and Refugee Board" (IRB) began its work on January 1, 1989. This authority is (was) responsible for the implementation of refugee policy within the framework of the "Ministry of Employment and Immigration".[30] The questions of who can legitimately obtain the (apparently privileged) status of a refugee within the meaning of the Geneva Refugee Convention, how the recognition process can be effective, how abuse can be prevented and how the very narrow definition should be meaningfully supplemented in accordance with the changed global political situation, deal with this IRB in a predominant way. The issue of the gender-specific causes of flight, i.e. those that primarily induce women to flee, is also discussed here and the staff is made sensitive to this problem and trained.[31]

At the moment, the recognition process as a "Convention Refugee" consists primarily of a hearing in front of a two-person committee (panel). The rule that applies is that both persons must agree to reject a rejection, but the one to be recognized

One person's consent is enough. Here, the principle formulated in the mid-1980s, that in cases of doubt, a decision should be made in favor of the applicant (benefit of the doubt) was brought into a legal form.[32] Appeals against decisions in this process can be lodged with the "Immigration Appeal Division".

Almost 38,000 people applied for asylum in 1992, mainly from Sri Lanka, states of the former Soviet Union, Somalia, Israel and Pakistan. The recognition rate was around 57% and was therefore significantly lower than in previous years.[33] Without going into the so-called source countries in more detail, it is important to keep in mind that these are seldom "arbitrary", i.e. there is a relationship between the source and receiving country that goes beyond the concrete political situation. This ratio is usually characterized by a number of factors. Howard Alderman, the director of the "Center for Refugee Studies" at York University in Toronto points out in this context,

"... that inflow into Canada - setting aside any distortions caused by Canadian policy - may be a reflection of the economic wealth of the country producing the refugees, the number being produced, the distance of the countries from Canada, the established traffic patterns to Canada from those countries, and the critical mass of ethnic cohorts already in Canada. "[34]

The high number of refugees from Sri Lanka and the former Soviet Union (e.g. Ukraine) point to the relationship between ethnic groups already established in the country and the refugees.

The last change to the immigration law for the time being was made in 1992. In public it is under the title "Bill C-86"

known. The reason for this change in the law was the feeling or the realization that - similar to the early 1960s - one had lost control over the volume and composition of immigration. Once again a growing number of (family) immigrants with a lower level of school education and professional qualifications was noted, and it was complained that in 1991 only 11% immigrated via the point selection system. With "Bill C-86" one wanted to regain control of the immigration program and make the admission process faster.[35] This goal seemed to meet with understanding from the public. A poll expert sums up public opinion:

"They (the government) hit a resonant chord by saying they would keep the traditions of compassion and tolerance, but pay more attention to the notion that there is a lack of control."[36]

In anticipation of the upcoming elections, the conservative government announced another far-reaching change in early August 1993, this time in the organization of the Ministry of Immigration. The tasks of the previous "Ministry of Employment and Immigration" have been split up. The "Ministry of Human Resources" is now responsible for immigration policy, i.e. for determining the annual immigration figures and the selection criteria. He has a budget of $ 270 million for rehabilitation measures. The "Ministry of Public Security" is then responsible for everything else, i.e. for the implementation of the immigration policy and day-to-day administration. It is hardly surprising that this decision meets with criticism, since the immigrant women are now administered by the same authority that also has the police, the secret service and large parts of the penal system under them.

"But to lump genuine refugees in with criminals and spies, as if they automatically present a threat to Canadian security, is false and mis-

leading. It encourages stereotyping and may contribute to racist behavior. "[37]

A criminalization of the immigration "problem" seems hardly to be avoided by this regulation.

It is hardly possible to conclusively evaluate or even to present immigration and refugee policy, since international conditions have changed constantly and rapidly over the past three years and will continue to do so. The Canadian government has therefore announced further changes to the current immigration law for 1993 that deal with the right to refugee status. The possibilities of appeal are to be reduced and the immigration officers have been given far-reaching powers in the event of rejection. The job opportunities for the asylum seekers in the process were also restricted.[38] In a working paper from January 1993, amendments to the law relating to the abuse of the asylum procedure are shown.[39] A more detailed analysis of the changes must, however, be reserved for later work.

However, this much can be clearly seen: Canada is also reacting to the current refugee crisis by isolating itself. Only here is another starting point. On the one hand, there is an established immigration system that - despite all the restrictions - also works. Second, social, humanitarian groups have the opportunity to work past the government as part of the "private sponsorship" program. Third, there is a social consensus on the country's humanitarian responsibility. How deeply this consensus is really anchored in the population is another question. The last point can be compared in its two aspects with the German situation. One difference, however, arises from the fact

thing, and that is the fourth point, that this consensus is also anti-racist and wants to be anti-discriminatory. In my opinion, Federal Republican society is still a long way from publicly reflecting on its everyday racism.

In summary, it can be stated that immigration policy and immigration law for Canada have always been and still are a tool for shaping society. The primacy of domestic politics applies here; economic and related demographic interests are in the foreground, political considerations only play a secondary role, but are becoming more important in connection with the refugee debate. In addition to the economic and demographic objectives that have remained constant for more than a century, the concept of family reunification gained in importance in the 1950s and 1960s, while the fear of the "public charge" has not decreased so much, but with the point system and the Primacy of professional needs has been channeled.

At a crucial point, however, immigration policy has taken a new direction. The "national character", which still had to be preserved in the law of 1952 and which should remain unaffected by immigration, has been put up for discussion today. Immigration is perceived as a cultural enrichment and one watches more or less cautiously, which Canadian identity will ultimately crystallize. With the concept of the multicultural society, an offer was made that most Canadians accept, but cannot yet really fill it with content.

What is astonishing, however - and this is intended as a final comment and criticism - is the complete lack of international integration of immigration policy in the past and largely in the present. It is true that one always had to deal with one's powerful southern neighbor and one had and still has obligations towards the British Empire and the Commonwealth, which one also fulfills if necessary; the hu-

Manitarian obligations are emphasized and a certain responsibility is felt towards the Geneva Refugee Convention, but conceptually these international connections do not appear in the discussion of immigration policy. The so exclusively acting primacy of domestic political interests does not allow the thought of "one world" to arise and the socio-economic needs are not placed in the context of global developments. This applies both to politics, - which would still be forgiven for directing its focus exclusively on Canadian interests - but it also applies to the scientific discourse and here the narrow-mindedness is to be criticized.

Overview of immigration legislation


To Act Respecting Aliens

First legislation to deal with immigration. An officer is given the task of checking the loyalty of immigrants from the United States.



to prevent immigrant women from becoming a "public charge".


British North America Act,
§ 95

Gives the provinces and the federal government the right to regulate immigration by law.


Immigration Act

First immigration
legislation of

Immigration officers are being established in Canada, the UK and the rest of Europe. You will receive a budget to support you. Quarantine stations will be set up in the ports. A head-tax of $ 1-1.50 will be introduced; a $ 300 bond is required for the mentally and physically disabled who do not belong to a family. The federal government is given the right to outvote provincial governments on immigration issues.


various additions
to the law of 1869

Among other things, introduction of "prohibited classes": e.g. people who suffer from a contagious and "hideous" disease or criminals. These can also be deported.


Chinese Immigration Act

Chinese immigrants must pay an entry tax of $ 50, ships are only allowed to carry one passenger per 50 tons of tonnage, and Chinese living in the country must obtain a residence permit.


Increase in poll tax for Chinese immigrants from $ 50 to $ 100.


"Continuous Journey Stipulation" Regulation

Immigrants who did not come directly from their home country, i.e. without a stopover, and who did not buy their ticket in their home country may be turned away; was mainly directed against immigrants from India, China and Japan.


Immigration Act

Mainly new administrative regulations. Definition of Canadian citizenship, definition of immigrant groups, regulation of admission and support for immigrants: "Subversive" is added as a reason for exclusion.



Immigrants must be in possession of $ 25 or $ 50 "landing allowance". Asian immigrants must present $ 200.


Immigration to Doukhobors, Hutterities and Men-nonites is prohibited.


Chinese Immigration Act

The law applies to all people of Chinese origin. You have to register. The landing fee is canceled. However, immigration from China is restricted in principle, only a few groups of people are allowed.


Lifting of the immigration ban for Doukhobors, Hutterities and Mennonites.


Repeal of the Chinese Immigration Act


Statement from Prime Minister Mackenzie King

Immigration policy essentials: i.a. Immigration is selective; Immigration must not change the national character.


The Immigration Act
(comes into force on June 1st, 1953)

Establishment of the previous regulations. Also: "every person seeking to come to Canada shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he satisfies the immigration officer examining him that he is not an immigrant".



Discrimination on the basis of national or ethnic origin is lifted.


Introduction of the point system

Introduction of three immigration categories: evaluation of applicants according to training, professional needs, age, personal disposition, etc.


Immigration Act
(comes into force in 1978)

For the first time, the objective of immigration policy is clearly stated: the promotion of economic, social and cultural objectives; Family reunion; no discrimination; Fulfill international obligations in relation to refugees.

Since 1980

Government submits 1-3 year plans setting immigration numbers.


Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Adoption of the new Canadian constitution to which immigrants and refugees in the country can refer. Requires respect for the multicultural character of the country.


Bill C-86

Upper numerical limits are to be set for the individual immigration classes, the numbers are to be better controlled and the admission process to be more effective. The overall immigration program should be better managed.

[Footnote references]

Footnote 1: I would like to thank Dirk Hoerder for providing up-to-date material on immigration policy.

Footnote 2: Ronald D'Costa, "Canadian Immigration Policy: A Chronological Review with Particular Reference to Discrimination", in: 0. P. Dwivedi et al., Eds., Canada 2000: Race Relations and Public Policy (Guelph, 1989 ), Pp. 44-52, here 45.

Footnote 3: For the analysis of these events see G.J. Parr, "The Welcome and the Wake: Attitudes in Canada West Toward the Irish Famine Migration," Ontario History 66 (1974), pp. 101-113.

Footnote 4: Donald Avery, "Dangerous Foreigners': European Immigrant Workers and Labor Radicalism in Canada, 1896-1932 (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1974), Chapter 1," Immigrant Workers and the Canadian Economy ", p. 16 -34.

Footnote 5: Clifford Sifton was Minister of the Interior from 1896 to 1905 and responsible for agriculture and immigration policy.

Footnote 6: Mable Timlin, "Canada's Immigration Policy, 1896-1910", Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science XXVI (1960), pp. 517-532.

Footnote 7: cf. Freda Hawkins, Canada and Immigration. Public Policy and Public Concern, 2nd. edition (Kingston, Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1988 (1972)), pp. 92-93.

Footnote 8: Hawkins, op. Cit., P. 118.

Footnote 9: Hawkins, op. Cit., P. 125.

Footnote 10: See Harold Troper, "Canada's Immigration policy since 1945", International Journal xlviii (1993), pp. 255-281, here p. 266.

Footnote 11: Hawkins, supra, p. 158; Tropcr, supra, p. 267.

Footnote 12: Larry Gold, "Immigration Law and Policy", in: Steven Globerman, ed., The Immigration Dilemma (Vancouver: The Fraser Institute, 1992), pp. 78-98, here p. 81.

Footnote 13: These sponsored persons can in turn bring their own family members into the application.

Footnote 14: "The entrepreneur is an individual who has owned, operated or controlled a successful business enterprise and who desires to immigrate to Canada to establish a new business or purchase or make a substantial investment in an existing Canadian business". Gold, op. Cit., P. 92.

Footnote 15: The amount of the investment depends on the province.

Footnote 16: I am not aware of any statistics that provide information on the number of these exclusions.

Fn.17: Cf. Herbert G. Grubel, "The Economic and Social Effects of Immigration" and Julian L. Simon, "The Economic Effects of Immigration: Theory and Evidence", both articles in: Globerman, op. Cit., P. 99- 146.

Footnote 18: It can be assumed that net immigration is a little over 50 percent of total immigration. See William L. Marr, "Post-War Canadian Immigration Patterns," in Globerman, supra, pp. 17-42.

Footnote 19: See Grubel, op. Cit., P. 118.

Footnote 20: In Canada too, violent riots first had to take place (in Toronto, 1992) in order to address discrimination against young people of color when looking for a job.

Footnote 21: Multiculturalism: What is it really about? Department of Multiculturalism and Citizenship, 1991, p. 33.

Footnote 22: The following statements refer largely to James C. Hathaway, "Selective Concern: An Overview of Refugee Law in Canada", McGill Law Journal 33.4 (Sept. 1988), pp. 677-715, here p. 681. Reference is made to the "Sponsored I, abor Movement" and the "Close Relative Scheme".

Footnote 23: This affected 37,000 Hungarians, 11,000 Czechoslovaks and 7,000 Ugandan Asians. Political (Cold War) and international (Commonwealth) reasons played an important role in the handling of the procedure, loc. Cit., P. 681.

Footnote 24: This linguistic formulation was adopted from Hathaway.

Footnote 25: "A Convention refugee seeking resettlement is defined as a Convention refugee who has not become permanently resettled and is unlikely to be voluntarily repatriated or locally resettled '". Hathaway, op. Cit., P. 684.

Footnote 26: E.g. there has been a long argument about the preference given to refugees from Eastern Europe over refugees from Latin America.

Footnote 27: Refugees from Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Iran, etc. were able to make use of this option. Hathaway, op. Cit., P. 700.

Footnote 28: "The combination of admission on the basis of other than immigration-derived criteria, and the absence of limits on the number of Claims that can be recognized has led to significant bureaucratic concern to restrain the potential of the Inland determination System" , loc. cit., p. 704

Footnote 29: See Immigration and Refugee Board, Annual Report, for the year ending December 31, 1992, p. 23f.

Footnote 30: It is currently unclear where this authority will be located after the restructuring of the ministries decided in August 1993 (see below).

Footnote 31: Immigration and Refugee Board, Annual Report, loc. Cit., P. 18ff.

Footnote 32: See Howard Adelman, "Canadian Refugee Policy in the Postwar Period: An Analysis", in: ders. Ed., Refugee Policy, Canada and the United States, Toronto: York Lanes Press, 1991, p. 172- 223, here p. 204.

Footnote 33: in 1991 it was 64 percent; 1990 70 percent. See Immigration and Refugee Board, Annual Report, p. 20.

Footnote 34: Adelman, op. Cit., P. 186.

Footnote 35: Immigration Canada, Immigration Consultations 1993 - the Management of Immigration, Strategy Planing and Research, Immigration Policy Group, January 1993.

Footnote 36: Frank Graves, President of the EKOS Research Association in the Toronto Star, August 6, 1993.

Footnote 37: Archbishop Michael Peers in Toronto Star, op.

Footnote 38: See Gold, op. Cit., P. 78.

Footnote 39: Strategy Planning and Legislation Division, "The Immigration Act as Modified by Bill C-86", Working Copy, January 1993, p. 7.

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