Behind the scenes with Researcher Jan Raska
Inclusion / Exclusion in Canadian Immigration History
Date: Saturday, February 13, 2016
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Cost: Included with Museum Admission
Why were some immigrants permitted to enter Canada, while others were denied entry and effectively excluded from residency and citizenship? Join Jan Raska, Researcher at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 for a guided tour as he explores inclusion/exclusion in Canadian Immigration History.
The concept of inclusion has shaped Canada’s identity. After Confederation, the Canadian government developed policies that determined which individuals and groups were ‘desirable’ and actively encouraged or permitted them to immigrate, while others were deemed ‘undesirable’ and actively discouraged or denied entry into Canada. Until the 1960s, immigration remained a highly selective process based largely on the health, character, occupation skills, and country of origin of a prospective immigrant. In 1967, Canada removed ethnoracial and geographic barriers to immigration.
Canada’s historical immigration policies were selective, designed to promote the admission of applicants thought to be desirable and to deter or prohibit applicants deemed to be undesirable. Many grounds have been used for exclusion. Some reasons were readily substantiated and relied on evidence, such as proving an applicant’s history of criminality. Others reflected the discretion and authority of inspecting officers, such as the judgment that an applicant was likely to become a public charge. It was both a matter of informal practice and of legislation. Canadian authorities excluded immigrants at three distinct points in their journey: before their travel to Canada, at the port of entry, and after arrival.