Discuss the relative importance of economic, social, cultural and moral considerations underlying Canada’s migration policy.
Canada is the world’s second largest surface area, with a population of 33 million. It is a rich resource base for industry with fertile soil, plentiful power supplies, well developed modern industries and a highly urbanised population. About 70% of Canada’s workforce growth comes from immigration and currently one in five Canadian workers are foreign born. Canada’s establishment and economic growth are directly attributable to immigration, but the country has always operated a highly selective system with policies changing due to the economic, social, cultural and moral needs of the country at that time.
Between 1870 and 1918 was known as the ‘Open Door’ policy. The main need at this moment in time was economic and for infrastructure development, especially a rail network. In the west of Canada the main industry was agriculture and the East was mainly manufacturing. A rail network was then essential to link the two and create an integrated economy. This stage was called Open Door because there was no restriction on numbers into the country, but there was some cultural considerations underlying this policy as well. The migrants sought were almost exclusively from the USA, UK, NW Europe to reflect Canada’s customs and ideals. Therefore, the government could control racial composition of migrants.
From 1919-1929 immigration became more selective and the main focus underlying the migration policy was social. Prospective migrants had to pass a literacy test. Migrants were separated into those from ‘preferred’, such as from the U.K and were given financial assistance, and ‘non preferred’ countries. ‘Non-preferred’ countries included Russia. Immigrants from here were only admitted in times of need for the lowest-paid jobs, and there were still restrictions. This shows further cultural considerations in the policy. The non-preferred...
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