After World War II, Canada's immigration patterns and policies
gradually became more liberal until they were radically altered in the late 1960s. As enshrined in the
Immigration Act of 1910 and subsequent orders-in-council, there still remained a "pecking order" in terms of immigration.
Irish and French immigrants were still officially considered the most desirable. However, as had happened in the past, when economic conditions warranted it, the Canadian government was willing to modify those guidelines.
With the economy remaining in full swing following the war, Canada experienced a manpower shortage that the "preferred" countries could not
completely satisfy. In Alberta there was a farm labour shortage, particularly in the southern sugar-beet industry. Plus, the newly developing oil industry would soon
generate thousands of jobs. The choice was to either let the economy slow or welcome new immigrants.
The government of William Lyon Mackenzie King chose to
open Canada to wide-scale
immigration. This massive influx would still be limited primarily to
In 1947 King announced that the Liberals would adopt a postwar immigration policy that would
"foster growth of the population of Canada by the encouragement of immigration without
altering the fundamental character of the Canadian nation." Although
the policy was restrictive, for the first time in Canadian history the United Kingdom and United
States would no longer supply the majority of immigrants. During this period their
numbers remained large but were eclipsed by the those arriving from continental
This digital collection was
produced with financial assistance from Canada's Digital
Collections initiative, Industry Canada.