Immigration Policy in Canada


Pre-University Paper 2009 41 Pages

Didactics - English - Applied Geography




1 Introduction

2 From Colony to Country
2.1 French Immigration
2.2 British Immigration
2.3 Conflicts and Wars
2.4 From Expulsion to Integration

3 Canada – a Dream of many Foreigners
3.1 Quality of Life
3.2 Canada’s Health Care System
3.3 Crime Rates
3.4 Canada’s multicultural Society

4 Canada’s Immigration Concept
4.1 Canada’s Immigration History
4.2 Organisation and Structure of the System
4.3 Temporary Residence
4.4 Permanent Residence
4.4.1 Family - class
4.4.2 The Refugee Program
4.5 The Point System
4.5.1 Business Immigrants
4.5.2 Skilled Workers
4.6 Integration of Immigrants
4.6.1 Income
4.6.2 The Host Program
4.6.3 Rights and Duties of permanent Residents
4.6.4 Tackling personal Reviews
4.7 Reasons for this liberal Immigration Policy
4.7.1 Demographic Issues
4.7.2 Socio – economic Reasons

5 The U.S. Immigration Compared to Canada’s
5.1 The U.S. Immigration System
5.2 Skills of Immigrants
5.3 Tackling Personal Reviews

6 Conclusion


List of Abbreviations

List of Illustrations


Work Log



When I was eleven years old, just having finished my first year of English lessons in school, I came in touch with Canada for the first time. Not knowing what would expect me right across the sea, I experienced what it meant to travel by myself. Indeed, it was a kind of liberty, which I had never felt before.

During the past years Canada has become some sort of shelter for me, guarding me from all difficulties at home. Though, being apart has afterwards always brought my family back together closely. Admittedly, those memories and feelings were the major elements I brought into relation with Canada before writing this school paper. I wanted to know more about this bewitching country and reached unfamiliar territory while working. I have so far explored positive and negative aspects and find myself eventually more critical against Canada's vanity. Nevertheless, Canada remains a part of my childhood and will hopefully also be a matter of my future.

By this work I am trying to deliver insight into Canada's genesis and its development, its character and its morality. Ultimately, I can only avouch that I share great understanding with anybody, who is falling for this country.

1 Introduction

Since the changes in communication and transportation have affected the mobility of human beings, people are on the move - whether they leave their home to visit another country or to stay there. Canada, as we know it today, lives for and on immigration.

The intention of this paper is to give an overall view of Canada’s immigration policy and all its important surroundings, meaning economic and humanitarian facts as well. Tackling this extensive topic means to take a close look at both involved parties of immigration: the host country and its newcomers. One of my concerns was to bring in current information from these both sides. Therefore, I also consulted conductive opinions from people, who have made a great pool of experiences with this issue.

In addition, because Canada’s entire history and its whole origin is based on immigration, I also decided to bring in a short survey on historical occurrences throughout time.

2 From Colony to Country

Nowadays, Canada is an officially bilingual country with the francophone population being a minority within. Of course, Canada’s first inhabitants were native Indians (primarily Inuits).

The following chapter shall give an overview of the most important historical events and incidents, which made the nation what it is today.

2.1French Immigration

In 1534, the Breton captain Jacques Cartier, circumnavigated the Eastern coast of Canada (today: Newfoundland) for the first time. The natives of this area called their settlement “Kanata”, what meant “village” in the Mohawk language. Eventually, Canada came to its own name because the French thought that this was meant for the whole area.

During the 16th century, trying to settle down always failed due to the Canadian winter. However, furriers on private initiative managed to colonize the East coast in 1604 and called it “Acadien” (English: Acadia). The first settlement was created by the head of the whole operation, Samuel Champlain. They called it “Kebec”, what meant “strait” in the language of the natives.

Finally, in 1663, the so - called “New France” had become a province on its own, which the Catholic Church had big influence on. In addition, Jesuits were responsible for education and social affairs. Also the French King Louis XIV arranged to introduce the political system of the mother country - absolutism and centralism. The economic strength of those French colonies was mainly based on fur trade. This is also why many Canadians consider the beaver as the symbol of their country.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Illustration 1: „Nouvelle France” during the 17th century

The “Régime Seigneuriale”, a governmental organisation, allowed leading figures (for example officers and bishops) to own big areas (always in the size of 5 x 15 kilometres). Afterwards, most of these lands became feudal systems. Over time, the fact that there were about 15 times more men than women led to huge concerns regarding the survival of the French population in Canada. As a result, young orphans, so - called “filles de roi” or “King’s daughters”, were consigned to the new Crown Colony.

Each girl, who decided to come to New France received an assortment of practical items in a case: a pair of stockings, a pair of gloves, a ribbon, four shoelaces, a white thread, 100 needles, 1,000 pins, a comb, a pair of scissors and two knives. Their travelling was paid by individuals or by private groups. Though, each of them had the right to refuse any marriage offer that was presented.

In 1671, the birth rate of over 600 babies confirmed the fertility of the country’s population.

2.2 British Immigration

As explained in the last chapter, the French colonialists were the first discoverer of the interior of the new land, but also fishermen from Spain and Great Britain had explored the rich fishing grounds of Canada. In 1497, John Cabot, a captain at British command took possession of the eastern located Cape Breton Island. Unfortunately, the francophone Canadians obstructed the passage to the British main trading post on Hudson Bay. Consequently, conflicts between those two colonies were foreseeable.

2.3 Conflicts and Wars

As mentioned before, the French possession of the whole area to the west anticipated any chance of fur trade for the British colonialists. Tensions between those two colonial empires became ever stronger.

During the 18th century, Europe was embossed by three important wars: the War of the Spanish Succession (1701 - 1713), the War of the Austrian Succession (1740 - 1748) andthe Seven Years’ War (1756 - 1763).

During the time of these three wars, the French and the British fought against each other, because they both wanted to be the successor on the throne of Austria and Spain. Of course, these wars also affected their colonies in Canada. Certainly, throughout history the British naval power has always been very powerful and was naturally invincible. In 1713, Louis XIV lost a bigger part of Acadia on the Eastern coast to the Britain colony.

Unfortunately, the peace treaty of 1748 had never fully abolished all conflicts between the fighting nations of the last wars. After they had occupied the French fort “Louisburg”, the British Canadians captured Quebec. The insufficient immigration of fellow countrymen and the constantly strong British sea power were foreseeable reasons for the loss of the French population.

Due to the Peace Treaty of Paris in 1763, France lost all its North American colonies. Though, the French always got along very well with the Canadian natives. Therefore, they also put a stamp on the whole area.

2.4 From Expulsion to Integration

Until the peace treaty of 1748, Acadia was mainly francophone. Indeed, after France had lost all its Canadian colonies, the British decided to displace the former population there. Though, some areas resisted with denying the oath to the British crown. Due to this failure of the anglicisation of Quebec, London decided to accommodate and proclaimed the Quebec Act in 1774.

Therefore, by the permission of their civil law besides the British criminal law, the francophone population got integrated. This cooperation led to a much better relationship between those two nations. Consequently, the French Canadians also refused to join the other 13 British colonies on avowing themselves as independent. But even then, the new United States of America still tried to relieve them from British fists. The Constitutional Act of 1791 introduced new regulations within the government of Quebec. Not until then, the U.S. let go on trying to “rescue” the francophone population.

Still, even in the 20th century the majority of Quebecers wanted more acknowledgment from the state Canada. In 1963 and 1970 “le Front de Libération du Français” pushed Quebec into the October crisis, while “le Parti Québécois” tried to guide the province peacefully into independence.

In the end, only New Brunswick and Quebec managed to stay officially bilingual. In 2006, the House of Commons finally acclaimed the Québécois as an own nation within a united Canada. Today, Quebec is home to over 7.5 million inhabitants, of which over 80 per cent speak French.

3 Canada – a Dream of many Foreigners

Every year, Canada receives approximately 240.000 newcomers. Looking for a reason, which causes such high rates of immigration to Canada, we cannot avoid certain clichés or the fact that the country is often compared to its southern neighbour - the United States of America. Referring to this, Jean Chrétien, a former prime minister of Canada once said:

“We are North Americans, but not Americans. We differ within history and geography. But most of all, we differ within the community, which we built up.” (paraphrase, Elvira Fuchs)1

Canada is even trying to be as different to the USA as possible. Therefore, its population is proud of its so - called “moral superiority”. The United States get often associated with the “3 G’s”: Guns, Ghettos and Gated Communities, while Canada stands for “Peace”, “Organisation” and “a good Kind of Policy”. As a matter of fact, Canada is a beauty of nature and its wideness also holds true for its people, who are tolerant and open - minded.

Truly, Canada, as a member of the Group of Eight (G8), is one of the world’s wealthiest countries. Therefore, immigrants oftentimes hope for a richer and easier future in their new home, meaning that they expect better job opportunities and a bigger income.

However, this chapter purposes certain well - known characteristics, which make Canada an outstanding country.

3.1Quality of Life

The definition of development has changed throughout history and there is still no uniform way to specify such a term. Though, the HDI is an Index for human development, combining several measures of life expectancy, GDP per capita, rate of illiterates and educational attainments. Canada has been rated as the top country (out of 177) for not less than ten times since 1985. According to that, it is considered as a state with a proper standard of living. Since the release of the Human Development Report 2007/2008, Canada has been keen on overtrumping its three role models Island, Norway and Australia to reach the top again. The monthly magazine Canada Geographic predicts:

“The rise of 31, 6 million people to a population of 40 million will not harm this country, which is opulently blessed with geothermal energy, water, oil and much more.” (paraphrase , Elvira Fuchs)2

3.2 Canada’s Health Care System

As mentioned above, the HDI is also an index for life expectancy. According to Statistics Canada, the average Canadian lives for 80 years3. Therefore it is proven that Canada’s health care system, which has become almost popular within the last years, does a good job.

The Conference Board of Canada has noted:

“Of all of Canada’s social politics, [the health care system] is the most prized, and it is central to Canadians’ views of what is necessary for a high quality of life.”4

Canadian citizens have a very favourable health status. According to the website “Health Canada”, this is not only a result of a good health care system, but also of Canada’s well society.

“The good health status of Canadians is based on more than health care services. Health is now considered to be a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not just the absence of disease or illness. This approach includes social, economic and physical environmental factors that contribute to health.”5

Over the past four decades, even after many reforms and the Canada Health Act, the basics of Canada’s health care system remain the same - provided on the base of medical needs, instead of the ability to pay.

In this country everybody has a right to claim free health care and regarding this issue, it is tried to make a significant difference to the U.S., where health care is seen as a service, which has to be paid for. Statistically, Canadians live three years longer than Americans do. Michael Moore, an American filmmaker points out this difference within his latest documentary “Sicko”. Moore is quoted in a Canadian newspaper:

“It's not hard to do better than the U.S., (…) The Canadian system, if you look on that list of the World Health Organisation, is not that far above us. It's not like the French system. The French system is the best in the world.”6

Of course, the conservation of such a good health care system is getting more and more expensive over time. In addition, the government of Canada is always very cautious when it comes to temporary immigrants from the United States, because many of them are likely to short - change the cheap health care in Canada and return to the U.S. afterwards.

3.3 Crime Rates in Canada

Next, I want to address one further cliché, which speaks for the appreciation of Canada - the low crime rate. Surprisingly, this extent seems to be even lower in the densely populated areas as Quebec and Ontario. This might also be affected by the very strict control of small arms. Whereas nearly every household in the United States of America owns a gun, in Canada you can only find one in ten people. Justifying this fact is not as easy as it seems. The “dream - country” does have many foreigners within itself, it does have an average unemployment rate, its people do watch the same violent films and its youth plays the same violent videogames. Michael Moore was keen on questioning the reason for America’s high crime rates in his documentary “Bowling for Columbine”. Facing some very eye - opening facts as the rate of homicides there, which is about 70 times higher than in their northern neighbouring country, this film is aiming also at the differences between the American and the Canadian society.

The following months after 9/11th the rate of bought fire arms in the U.S. rose about 70 per cent. This brings up the idea of a totally paranoiac U.S. - American society, which is telling itself the lie of keeping guns to protect their families - as a “matter of comfort”. But actually, the rush of that high number of guns is causing the exact opposite of feeling safer.

Going through many arguments, which could have justified this distinction, Moore is ending up with his own opinion.


1 Ettmayer, 2.2.

2 GEO, 12.

3 Health Report 2005, 43.

4 Health Canada, 12.

5 Health Canada, 9.

6 Moore, May 20th, 2007.


ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
1.4 MB
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Institution / College
Bundesrealgymnasium Innsbruck
Immigration Immigration Policy Canada Kanada Colony Foreigners Newcomers Immigration Concept Point System Health Care Immigration History Residence Permanent Residence USA United States of America Refugees



Title: Immigration Policy in Canada