Canada’s Immigration Policy The slow road to Multiculturalism

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Canada’s Immigration Policy

The slow road to Multiculturalism

  • Canadian immigration policy was designed to fulfill specific needs (i.e. settling the west)

  • Also, designed to maintain Canada’s White British character and culture

  • Clearly racist laws were enacted to prevent non-white immigration (i.e. 1923 Chinese Immigration Act prevented Chinese women and children to join their family working in Canada)

After WWII

  • Canada accepted thousands of “displaced peoples” from Europe

  • 1948: Mackenzie King repealed the Chinese Immigration act and extended this right to East Indian families

  • 1952: Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent’s government passed the Immigration Act which further opened up Canada

  • In the 1950’s, demand for workers after the War (Canada’s booming economy) was so high that the borders opened wide for the first time

  • 1960: Prime Minister John Diefenbaker’s government passed the Canadian Bill of Rights which outlawed discrimination based on Race, Gender or Religion

  • 1962: Immigration Act passed to reflect Bill of Rights and a point system is introduced (immigrants chosen on occupational need)

  • 1967: Under Lester Pearson Immigration Act changed: this allowed many Black West Indians to come to Canada (in fact Canada’s Black population doubled in the 1960’s)

  • 1970’s: Under Pierre Trudeau, Canada took a leading role in accepting refuges from War-Torn nations (i.e. Hungarians, Czechoslovakians, and Vietnamese). This policy continues to this day.

  • 1978: Pierre Trudeau’s government passes a new Immigration Act which is based on the following criteria:

- Promote Canada’s economic, cultural and demographic goals
- Encourage family reunions
- Non-Discriminatory
- Accepting of refugees and be humanitarian

  • Since the 1980’s Canada’s immigration standard have changed several times but the fundamentals Trudeau established remain in place

  • 1n the 80’s and 90’s most Canadian Immigration has been “non-white”

  • However, not everyone has completely accepted Canada’s immigration policy. For example, the former members of the reform party proposed legislation that would favour European Immigrants. Also, the Meech Lake accord would have given more power to the provinces to control immigration. This was done to satisfy Quebec’s wish to maintain their “Distinct Society”

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