Immigration to Canada Canada has three founding cultures

Download 41.06 Kb.
Size41.06 Kb.
Immigration to Canadaads4-07b
Canada has three founding cultures:

  1. First Nations

  2. French

  3. British

  • Since only one of these cultures is “indigenous”, immigration is a key factor in understanding Canada, it’s origins, and it’s present day make-up.

Immigration to Canada came in five distinct waves:
Since we have already spent time looking at the first 3 of those waves we will review them only briefly

  1. First Nations

Recall arrival theories:

    1. Bering Land Bridge’

    2. Atlantic Coastal

    3. Pacific Coastal

    4. Pacific Crossing

What’s in a Name?

  • Labels are used to describe the first people living in North and South America before European contact

  • Names such as:

    • Aboriginal - The term referring to the original inhabitants of this country and the term used in the Canadian Constitution

    • First Nations – the term used by aboriginal associations to describe themselves with emphasis on an established society prior to European contact.

    • Indigenous – meaning originated from the local area

    • Indians – A legal definition under the Indian Act, aboriginal people can renounce their treaty rights through a process called enfranchisement.

    • Natives

jacques cartier

  1. French

Settling around the banks of the St. Lawrence from 1600 to 1763 when they were conquered by the English, the French were the first Europeans to make a permanent settlement in Canada.

wwi13american revolution - tarring and feathering of a british exciseman by a liberty tree.

  1. Loyalists

Fleeing persecution during the American Revolution, people who had remained loyal to the British crown fled to Canada in 1784. Their coming drastically changed the character of the colony.


  1. The Great Migration

Events in Europe force many from their homes to seek a new life in North America from 1815 to 1850.

The Great Migration: Why leave Europe?

  • The Napoleonic Wars ended in 1815 causing an economic depression & high unemployment

  • Massive population growth

    • Higher life expectancy (more people were surviving famines & disease due to new farming methods & better diets)

Population Explosion Effects

  • Population growth had outpaced economic opportunity

  • Land & jobs were scarce for many

  • People crowded into urban areas & lived in slums

  • Many decided to leave for America for better opportunities


The British Government Reaction

  • Increased policies for emigration to solve the problems such as high unemployment, poverty, & social unrest


  • Many Scottish farmers were evicted from their homes in a process called clearances

  • Landlords reclaimed farmland from settlers & created huge sheep farms to provide wool for English textile mills

  • Over 50,000 Scots moved to Nova Scotia

rotpot.gif (69111 bytes)


  • Potato was the main crop & staple of the Irish diet

  • Mid 1840s “potato blight” spread to Ireland & destroyed the crops

  • Famine set in killing approx. 1 million Irish between 1847-51

  • In 1847 over 90,000 emigrated to BNA

The Voyage Out

  • Immigrants arrived at Halifax, St. John, & Quebec

  • Cargo ships were used to bring the immigrants from Britain to earn extra profits

  • Cramped conditions, disease, little food, sea sickness, death

  • “Coffin Ships”

  1. Post- Confederation 1880-1914

  • Aggressive recruiting of immigrants from around the world from China to the Ukraine expanded Canada west.

  • Also called the Sifton Migration after Clifford Sifton, Minister of the Interior from 1896 to 1905

Clifford Sifton Overview

  • In the years preceding his appointment many of those homesteading on the prairies had been overwhelmed by the rigours of prairie life, and had packed up and moved to the United States.

    • Sifton set out to reverse that trend.

  • Once American immigrants began to move into the west Sifton shifted the focus of the government’s immigration policy to eastern Europe.

  • Many Canadians were horrified by the influx of Poles, Russians and Ukrainians. One newspaper even referred to Sifton’s immigration policy as a round “of European Freaks and Hobboes.”

  • Despite this and other criticisms, the campaign was an outstanding success and the number of immigrants entering Canada rose from:

    • 16,835 in 1896 to

    • 141,465 in 1905.

The Last Best West

  • In 1896, Sir Clifford Sifton became Canada‘s new minister responsible for immigration.

  • Sifton increased immigration by:

    • embarking on an extensive promotional campaign, featuring the slogan "Canada: The Last Best West."

    • reorganizing the immigration department to give it more power in setting immigration policy;

    • increasing the number of immigration agents and support personnel aboard; freeing up unused land owned by the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) and the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR); offering "free" land to settlers


  • Sifton's new immigration policy eventually eliminated any threat of American annexation in Canada's West.

    • However, it would further marginalized French-speaking people in Québec, some of whom felt this policy was excluding them from settling on the Prairies.

  • Despite general attempts to get people to settle in rural areas in Canada's West, about 50 per cent of people actually settled in Canadian cities where they took labour industry jobs

    • Including Winnipeg, Edmonton, Montréal and Toronto

  • Another 30 per cent went to rural farms in the Prairies and

  • The remaining 20 per cent or so took remote jobs in mines, lumber camps or on the railways.

The Birth of Alberta and Saskatchewan

  • Between 1897 and 1911, 2 000 000 people came to Canada

  • By 1905, enough people were living in the Northwest Territories that the federal government decided to create two new provinces:

    • Alberta

    • Saskatchewan.!canada_provinces_1905-1912.png

Chinese Immigration

  • Chinese immigrants were subject to a head tax, which required every Chinese immigrant to pay a special $50 tax upon entering the country.

  • Although relatively few in number - there are only 23,000 Chinese people in Canada in 1900, immigrants from Asian countries are resented by the white majority.

  • Originally, male Chinese labourers were allowed into Canada to work for low wages in British Columbia's gold mines and on the trans-Canada railroad.

  • Chinese workers will accept lower wages than white workers, and this causes resentment in the white population, especially when jobs are scarce.

  • In the lumber industry, Chinese workers are paid only between 25% and 50% of the wages paid to white labourers for the same work.

The Reaction on the West Coast

  • In 1885, work on the railway was nearing completion.

  • Trade union workers and some politicians on the west coast wanted to get rid of these Chinese workers

  • Many white people in blue-collar positions feared that the Chinese would take away their means of employment and standard of living.

  • At this time overtly racist stereotypes of Chinese immigrants were common:

    • less clean and more susceptible to diseases.

    • dishonest and immoral.

    • simply weren't suited to living in the harsh climate of Canada.

  • In the face of mounting public dissatisfaction, a Royal Commission was held by the federal government in 1885 to look into the effects of Chinese immigration.

The Chinese Head Tax

  • By 1903, the Chinese head tax was increased to $500 per person to eliminate Chinese immigration.

  • This fee was roughly equivalent to two years worth of wages for a Chinese labourer living in Canada at the time.

  • However, some employers in the railway industry needed cheap labour, and were willing to pay this fee for adult men.

  • That meant that Chinese immigration wasn't eliminated altogether, but that Chinese women and children didn't get the opportunity to join their husbands and fathers.

  • This created a Chinese bachelor society in Canada.

Anti-Asian Vancouver Riot 1907

  • In September 1907, there was a serious riot against Asian businesses in downtown Vancouver that was started by members of the racist Asiatic Exclusion League.

  • A mob of about 9,000 white people riled up by the Asiatic Exclusion League descended upon Oriental businesses in downtown Vancouver, smashing windows and destroying signs. Later that year, a federal government inquiry was held to look at providing compensation to the Oriental community

Further Restrictions

  • After 1905, Frank Oliver succeeded Sir Clifford Sifton as Immigration Minister.

  • Oliver favoured immigrants to Canada's West from certain regions believed to have the settlers best suited to life on the Prairies. He tended to support the immigration of those who came from the following regions in this exact order of preference:

    • Nearby Canadian provinces

    • Britain

    • The United States

    • Northwestern Europe

Rating the Immigrants

  • Eager to develop the West, Canadian immigration authorities rated immigrants according to their race, perceived hardiness and farming ability:

Most Wanted



white American farmers



Need Not Apply

South Slavs

Frank Oliver

  • As a member of parliament, Oliver had said that settling the West was not "merely a question of filling that country with people who will produce wheat and buy manufactured goods" but also of "building up of a Canadian nationality so that our children may form one of the great civilized nations of the world." He worried that immigration could "deteriorate rather than elevate the conditions of our people."

Immigrant Landings (1860 -2004)

Percent of total immigrants landing in Canada within the family, economic, refugees, and other classes: 1995-2004

Immigrant Landings by Category and Source Area - 2004

Immigrant Landings by Intended Destination - 2004

Source: CIC, Facts & Figures

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright © 2020
send message

    Main page