After World War I, the Canadian government cautiously resumed the task of filling the
settlers. Initial attempts at attracting primarily British migrants were
fairly successful, but
the vast majority of Britons immigrating to Canada at this time eventually
settled in towns and
cities and not on prairie farms.
Additionally, there were nearly as many people leaving Alberta for the United States
as there were arriving to the province. In 1924 the United States had adopted a quota severely restricting European
immigration. As this quota did not apply to native-born Canadians, and combined with severe
drought conditions in central and southeastern Alberta, thousands of
homesteaders pulled up stakes
and headed south for greener pastures in the United States.
Immigration policy was, consequently, once again adjusted to find a source of "agriculturalists." To
this end, in 1925 the Canadian government signed the Railway Agreement with
Canadian National Railwaysand the
Railway. The railway companies were given the authority to recruit immigrants
from agricultural areas in eastern, southern and central Europe. Often, the railways broke the terms of the
agreement by going over quotas and by using it to bring in
inexpensive labour when employment in Canada was
not guaranteed. The American quota had potential European migrants now looking to Canada and,
as a result of the agreement, 35,000 of Alberta's migrants in the 1920s came from this part of the world.
This digital collection was
produced with financial assistance from Canada's Digital
Collections initiative, Industry Canada.