In 1966, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) lobbied the Canadian government to accept a small number of Tibetan refugees for permanent resettlement. Federal officials informed the UNHCR that Canadian immigration policy discouraged group settlement. Initially, efforts to permanently resettle the Tibetan refugees were stifled as Canadian immigration officials disagreed over the resettlement of “self-described nomads.” As the Canadian government strengthened relations with the People's Republic of China (PRC), federal officials resettled an experimental wave of 228 Tibetan refugees in an effort to meet their international humanitarian obligations and to find a permanent solution to the plight of Tibetan refugees in northern India. The resettlement program demonstrated that refugees from a non-European ethnocultural and linguistic background who did not qualify under normal immigration criteria could be successfully re-established in Canada in a short period of time and at a relatively low cost to the federal government. The special program for Tibetan refugees illustrated to federal officials that future refugee programs had to be coordinated with individuals and families themselves in order to effectively meet their needs and governmental requirements during resettlement.

The migration of the New England Planters was the first significant migration to the Atlantic colonies in British North America. In the wake of the deportation of the Acadians in 1755, newly cultivated lands opened up in Nova Scotia, which needed to be populated. Roughly eight thousand men and women from New England came to settle in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, and in the Upper St. John River Valley of present-day New Brunswick, between 1759 and 1768. They left a legacy that can be found in the social, religious, and political life of Atlantic Canada.

The first move towards settling the newly vacated lands after the Acadian Deportation was made via the Proclamation by General Charles Lawrence to the Boston Gazette on 12 October 1758, inviting settlers in New England to immigrate to Nova Scotia. The agriculturally fertile land in Nova Scotia would be a driving force in enticing the emigrants, but the New England colonists were wary. Lawrence sent a second Proclamation on 11 January, 1759 stating that in addition to land, Protestants would be given religious freedom, and a system of government similar to that in New England would be in place in the Nova Scotia settlements.

Prior to 1850, fugitive slaves who escaped from the southern United States to the northern states were considered to be free. However, after the passing of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, the northern states were no longer a safe haven. Escaped slaves could be captured by slave-catchers and returned to their owners. This also meant that people who had escaped slavery by entering a free state years earlier could be returned to slavery. Because of racism in American society at the time, it was much easier for a white slave owner to claim that someone was their escaped slave than for a black person to prove they were not. The same threat existed for all free blacks. The Act Against Slavery, passed in 1793, made Upper Canada (part of what is now Ontario) the first British colony to prohibit slavery. Once crossing into Upper Canada, all men, women, and children, were free.

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