Canadian Immigration Point System

The immigration laws (1866 - 2001)

Since 1869, Canada has always had an immigration law to encourage certain types of colonists to settle in the country, while avoiding the criminals and those who pose threats to security, or others suffering from particularly contagious disease or death. The criteria for immigrants allowed to enter have changed over the years, depending on the economic and political circumstances. In the early twentieth century, the federal government has also set limits on certain ethnic or religious groups.

Related Topics:

The Immigration Act, 1869

Acts relating to immigration and immigrants, 1906 and 1910

the War Measures Act, 1914 and the Elections Act Wartime, 1917

An Act to amend the Immigration Act, 1919

The Immigration Act, 1952

The system of points, 1967

The Immigration Act, 1976

The Asian and African immigration in the 1980s and 1990

Law on Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, 2001

The Immigration Act , 1869

The first Immigration Act dealt primarily with the prevention of diseases and their spread in Canada, as well as measures to ensure the safety of passengers aboard ships carrying immigrants. The provisions included the establishment of limits on the number of passengers on non-cargo vessels, and the preparation of lists of passengers to be presented to the officers of quarantine before shipment to the port.

The rules for the quarantine of passengers were introduced in 1872 in a separate law on quarantine. It required all vessels carrying passengers ill or died on board to refer to Grosse Ile near Quebec City. (Grosse Ile, however, was already a quarantine station before the passage of the law.)

At first, few other restrictions were imposed on those who come to Canada, but anyone who was a blind, one deaf, a mental or physical disability must now be entered by the captain on the passenger list. If a person posed a risk to public safety, the Canada Customs officer must require a deposit of $ 300.

Furthermore, if poor immigrants and poor to come to Canada, the captain of the ship carrying them had to pay a sum of money equivalent to their travel expenses and initial costs for installation in Canada.

Under the Immigration Act, the business houses who sought to offer their services to immigrants had to obtain a special license from the government. This regulation was to prevent the exploitation of newcomers by boarding houses or corrupt innkeepers.

Immigration under the Department of Agriculture since Confederation in 1867 until March 1892 when the Department of the Interior was created. The department existed until October 1917 when it merged with the Ministry of Labour.

An act relating to emigrants and quarantine, 1866 / An Act Regarding Emigrants and Quarantine, 1866

Extracts from the Quarantine Act, circa 1893

Statutes Passed by the colonies to restrict Pauper Immigration, 1886

Acts relating to immigration and immigrants, 1906 and 1910

Measures were included in the Act relating to immigration and immigrants from 1906 to rule out other groups of people for fear that they become a burden to the federal government. In addition to the existing rules to prevent the mentally ill or criminals from entering Canada, the law was amended to include former inmates of mental hospitals or prisons, or anyone who has been accused but not convicted serious crimes.

The immigration laws were also strengthened in 1906 and 1910 to allow the government to deport undesirable immigrants, like those suffering from serious diseases. In addition, a probation of three years was introduced in 1910 for each immigrant arriving in Canada. If immigrants were committing crimes in Canada over the past three years, they risked deportation to their countries of origin.

About this time, Canada was faced with a weak economic recession. A measure was introduced that all immigrants should have at least $ 25 upon entering Canada, to demonstrate to government officials that they were not free.

Between 1902 and 1913, the Canadian government deported nearly 870 persons on grounds of insanity. Six other 1900 were condemned to leave the country for crimes committed and some were forced from 2.850 because they were suspected of being about to become criminals. In the absence of detailed statistics on crime, historians believe that the varied types of criminals to protest the alleged pickpocket policy.

Act on immigration and immigrants, 1906

Immigration Act, 1906

Act on immigration and immigrants, 1910

Immigration Act, 1910

The War Measures Act , 1914 and the Elections Act Wartime , 1917

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The beginning of World War virtually ended European immigration to Canada for the duration of the war, and this for two reasons:

The Europeans were to remain in their respective countries, to help the war effort.

The volume of shipping on the Atlantic declined substantially. He had become too expensive and dangerous for many immigrants to cross the ocean in the middle of a global conflict.

Because Canada and Great Britain were at war with countries such as Germany , the Austrian , the Hungary and the Ukraine , immigration from these countries was completely interrupted. The natives of these countries already established in Canada were considered enemy aliens under the War Measures Act of 1914 .

Under this law, enemy aliens had to register with the government and carry ID cards at all times. In addition, there they were not allowed to:

possession of firearms;

post or read anything in a language other than English or French;

leave the country without exit permits;

join a movement socialist , communist or otherwise would be considered by the government as illegal.

Thousands of enemy aliens were placed against their will in internment camps or were deported from Canada. Only when labor ran out around 1917 that foreigners were finally able to leave the camps gradually. The problem of shortage of manpower was thus resolved in Canada, although groups of war veterans were particularly unhappy with this decision. They feared that foreign enemies keep these jobs after the soldiers return home.

Moreover, the government Conservative of Robert Borden introduced the Elections Act in war in 1917. This law has accomplished two things:

she removed the right to vote to all enemy aliens who were naturalized in Canada since 1902;

it granted the right to vote to adult women in Canada during the war, provided they had spouses, children or son who fought in Europe.

The War Measures Act, 1914

War Measures Act, 1914

Elections Act Wartime, 1917

Wartime Elections Act, 1917

Act to amend the Immigration Act, 1919

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After the war, the federal government introduced new measures to prevent the entry of immigrants to Canada are unfit. Act to amend the Immigration Act of 1919 contained a new regulation, section 38, which authorized the government to set a limit or prohibit the entry of people from races and nationalities that are undesirable.

Later in 1919, Section 38 was originally an Order in Council prohibiting the entry of the Austrians , Bulgarians, Hungarians , the Turks and others who fought against Canada during the First Great War.

This section was also used to prevent the entry of Doukhobors , the Hutterites and Mennonites because of their particular religious customs and habits. (The government, however, these prohibitions repealed in 1922-23.)

Section 41 of the Act gave the government greater powers to deport activists who voted against the policy of the government or against the interests of business. This was very important for the government with the rise of communism and socialism in Canada after the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919.

Act to amend the Immigration Act, 1919

Immigration Act, 1919

For more information on the Act to amend the Immigration Act, 1919 , please visit Immigrant Voices online. (Bilingual)

The Immigration Act , 1952

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In 1946, the federal government created a law called the Canadian Citizenship Act which came into force on 1 January 1947. This act officially created Canadian citizenship. Before her, all Canadians were considered British subjects. Under this new legislation, Canadian citizenship was granted to the majority of residents born outside the country, but now living full time in Canada.

Following the creation of this law, however, Canada continued to give preferential treatment to white European or American residents who wanted to immigrate to this country. This was evident in the Immigration Act of 1952.

The Act of 1952 authorized the following groups considered "preferred categories" to settle the country:

British subjects

French citizens

U.S. residents

Asians who wanted to find relatives living in Canada.

However, the law discriminated against:

Asians have no close relatives living in Canada

homosexuals and prostitutes

the Mentally Retarded


other ethnic groups designated by the government. The law allowed the adoption of Orders in Council which imposed quotas on those of India , Pakistan and Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

With a growing social consciousness in Canada in the late 1950s, discriminatory conditions based on race or country of origin before 1962 were excluded.

Immigration Act, 1952

Immigration Act, 1952

For more information on the Immigration Act of 1952, please visit Immigrant Voices online. (Bilingual)

The system of points, 1967

In 1967, Canada has introduced a system of Poins that gave preference to immigrants who, among other things:

knew English or French

neither too old nor too young to find stable jobs

had a job waiting for them in Canada

had a parent or family member already residing in Canada

had a good education and good training

were ready to migrate to an area affected by a high unemployment rate.

Immigrants were assigned points on a scale of 0 to 10 (or 15) on the merits listed on the list above. If they reached a certain level of points in total, they were allowed to enter the country. There were no quotas or restrictions on the number of people who could immigrate, as immigrants succeed in the test system of points.

Canada began to receive more immigrants from Africa, Caribbean, Middle East and Asia. The vast majority of these immigrants settled in urban areas of Canada such as Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

But this sudden influx of non-white immigrants took the white communities of major cities by surprise. Racism practiced against many immigrant groups in large cities has spread more and more during this period.

In addition, during the 1970s, the Quebec provincial government worried about the integration of its non-white immigrants in the Francophone majority. Before 1970, immigrants were mostly incorporated into the English culture in the province. Many people in Quebec were concerned that the integration of immigrants in the regions surrounding neighborhoods or English may not contribute to dilute the French culture and language. The provincial government wanted to change this scenario for the immigrants become more integrated into the francophone majority, and he began to pass laws to that effect in the late 1970s.

To learn more about the points system, please visit Immigrant Voices online. (Bilingual)

The Immigration Act, 1976

In April 1978 a new immigration law was sanctioned. (This law called the Immigration Act of 1976 , the year of writing.) This Act:

gave more power to the provinces to develop their own immigration laws (Section 7);

defined "prohibited classes" in much broader terms. Individuals who could become a burden to social assistance or health services rather than specific groups of people such as homosexuals, the disabled and others found themselves now refused entry (section 19);

created four new categories of immigrants who could come to Canada:



parents well-supported

independent immigrants

While independent immigrants had to conform to the system of points, the others were not required to take part as long as they pass background checks on crime, safety and health;

creative alternatives to deportation in cases of serious crimes or offenses medical, since deportation meant the immigrant was banished forever from Canada. After 1978, the government could issue exclusion orders for periods of 12 months and a notice of departure, that the cause of rejection of the person was not serious.

The Asian and African immigration in the 1980s and 1990s

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During the 1980s, a new type of immigrant was added to the Immigration Act of 1976: one that belonged to the category of the world "business". Anyone who would be willing to inject significant funds to promote business and commerce in Canada could immigrate here.

Many immigrants are part of this new class of Chinese were from the small island of colonial Hong Kong. During the 1980s and 1990s, business capitalists in Hong Kong were anxious about the imminent takeover of the island by the Chinese government in 1998 under a treaty with Great Britain. They envisagèrent Canada as a place where they could relocate and start a business because, since the late 1940s, China had become a country communist particularly oppressive.

Between 1983 and 1996, about 700.000 Chinese business people (the majority from Hong Kong) came to Vancouver and to a lesser extent, Toronto. They brought with them billions of dollars in investment funds.

Between 1981 and 1983 alone, Chinese immigrants invested $ 1.1 billion in the Canadian economy.

During the years 1980 and 1990, the number of immigrants Black or African in Canada also began to grow. Some of these immigrants were highly educated professionals in search of better working conditions in Canada. Others were refugees fleeing war, famine and the political and economic instability in their country of origin.

The majority of these immigrants came from African countries such as:

South Africa





the Uganda


For more information, please visit Immigrant Voices online. (Bilingual)

The Law on Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, 2001

The immigration law was sanctioned by the House of Commons in November 2001 and became law in June 2002. Despite what these dates might suggest, this law was not adopted hastily in response to the terrorist attacks that shook the United States September 11, 2001. However, some rules in the law have been strengthened to prevent the entry of terrorists and dangerous criminals.

The new law was intended to replace the 1976 which was amended and modified more than 30 times. In particular, this law:

expanded the powers to arrest, detention and deportation of permanent residents who would weigh the least suspicion or which may become a threat to security;

strengthened the requirements for immigration to Canada as a refugee . An agent deal now claims of refugees during a hearing, and refugees would no longer have the right to appeal their cases if they failed at that hearing;

made it more difficult immigration people as workers or skilled workers with the points system;

expanded the range of requirements in terms of qualifications and training. These conditions include those that were now less specific in some occupation. This is explained by the fact that today, people tend to keep their jobs for four to seven years and then completely change jobs. In the past, people tended to keep their jobs during the most of their adult life active;

has set limits on the types of persons who may apply as immigrants in the category of business. The goal was to reduce the number of those who seek to come to Canada just to start a small family business, such as shops or restaurants. The law now sought to let people with previous experience of at least five years in business, corporate gross income of $ 500,000 and a net annual income of $ 50,000;

put people who have engaged in same-sex unions or common-law (that is, two people having sex and living together) on an equal footing with married couples traditionally for immigration purposes.

To read the Immigration Act and the Protection of Refugees, 2001 , please visit Justice Canada online.

For more information, please visit the Canadian Encyclopedia online.