Free from Local Prejudice (1815-1867)
In 1828, A.C. Buchanan was appointed by Britain as Upper Canada's first Chief Agent for Emigration. The fact that he was an emigration agent, not an immigration officer, speaks volumes about the role Canada played in establishing its own immigration policies during this period. During the first half of the 19th century, immigration to Upper Canada and Lower Canada (named Canada West and Canada East in 1841) largely came from, and was directed by, the British Isles. In fact, Buchanan himself had advised the British authorities to appoint Canadians only as emigration agents, not as immigration officers, to ensure that the administration of immigration to the colony from the mother country was "free from local prejudice."
Gradually, during this period, these Canadian agents and the colonial governments they represented began to take a more active role in setting their own immigration standards and policies.
In this section you can explore the harsh realities of
the ocean voyage and the impact that the Passenger Acts had in regulating voyage
standards in Right of Passage; find out more
about A.C. Buchanan and the role that he and other agents played in preparing
immigrants for settlement in Canada in At Your Service;
and read about the challenges of welcoming sick immigrants in Ill-Prepared.