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Banner: Moving Here, Staying Here. The Canadian Immigrant Experience

The Documentary TrailTraces of the PastFind an Immigrant
Free From Local Prejudice
A National Open-Door Policy
Filling the Promised Land
A Preferred Policy
A Depressing Period

Shipped Out

by Vadim Kukushkin, University of Alberta

Not only was it difficult to immigrate to Canada in the early part of the 1930s, but staying in the country could also be a challenge. During the Depression years, Canada increasingly resorted to deportation as a means to remove "undesirable" immigrants from Canadian soil. According to the Immigration Act, an immigrant could be deported for any one of several reasons: criminality; medical reasons; immoral behaviour; illegal entry to Canada; becoming a public charge or advocating the overthrow of the government by force.

While Canada deported immigrants both before and after the Great Depression, never before or since have deportations reached the same magnitude as in 1930-1935, when about 28,000 persons were sent back to their countries of origin. In 1934, the deportation rate stood at 36 percent of the number of immigrants admitted to the country. After 1935, with the change of government, the scale of deportation returned to "normal" levels.

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