Canada History

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A New World | Prosperity | World Role | Newfoundland | Korea | CCF & Tommy Douglas | Immigration

On may 1, 1947 the Mackenzie King government issued the guidelines for it's new immigration policy. The economy was booming and new workers were needed to meet the demands of expansion of industry and  growth across the country. The new policy was directed towards immigrants who could be easily assimilated in either the French or English communities across the country. This meant that the melting pot theory of immigration would be expected to absorb these new arrivals into mainstream Canada and that the fundamental makeup of the country would remain relatively unchanged.

The main source of the new immigrants was targeted as U.S., British, and North-western Europeans. These immigrants would not upset the balance across Canada and were actively recruited. One of the main groups to be accepted were the Dutch who were faced with overcrowding in the Netherlands, and with the loss of so much farmland during the later stages of World War II, they also faced food shortages. The Government through an imitative known as the Netherland Farm Families Movement. Germans were welcome due to the Canadian populations view of them as being ethnically similar to the rest of Canada, as well as many British wives of soldiers who had served overseas.

Immigration applicants originating for the Mediterranean area were discourage and usually rejected as were Asian applicants. It took another year for French applicants to be accepted as desired immigrants and even then they were required to be able to prove that they were able to support themselves until they found employment.

Another  aspect of the screening process had to do with political affiliation. Anyone suspected of being a communist or harbouring any support for communism were rejected as unsuitable for entry into Canada. Health screening would also reject those with health issues or handicaps.

although a wave of immigration was encouraged as a part of the post war boom and growth in the Canadian community, the immigration was racist and selective. At that time, this was not viewed as a negative but as a mechanism for maintain traditional social characteristic. Most Canadians supported these policies. 

1947 also saw the passage of the Citizenship Act which was the creation of Canadian citizenship and passports to replace the British subject status which had been the rule until then.

The other issue that was effecting European recovery and stability was that of Displaced persons. DP's were the millions of people who after World War II found themselves in foreign countries with no way or desire to return to their homeland. A large number of these people were Jewish, ex-Nazis former soldiers in the allied armies that did not want to return to a communist controlled, Soviet managed country in eastern Europe or those who had nowhere to return to. On July 23, 1946 an Order in Council was passed in Canada to make provisions for displace persons. The first immigrants accepted to Canada under this provision were 4000 former Polish soldiers who had fought with the English and Canadian troops on the western front.

Over the next 7 years Canada accepted thousands of DP's who built new lives across the country.


Year DP's arriving in Canada
1947-48 14,250
1948-49 50,610
1949-50 33,197
1950-51 24,911
1951-52 41,016
1952-53 1,713