The Canadian Immigration Law (1910)

Immigrants In Quebec Harbor

Immigrants In Quebec Harbor nd. ca. 1910. Library and Archives Canada. GGA Image ID # 14a629a8b4

Notwithstanding the fact that Canada makes persistent efforts to promote immigration its law relative to the exclusion of undesirable immigrants is hardly less rigid than that of the United States.

In fact the classes excluded under the laws of both countries are nearly identical, as will be seen from the following comparison of such sections of the Canadian law relating to the exclusion of Section 2 of the United States law.

Both the Canadian and United States laws are printed in full elsewhere. (a)(b)


26. No immigrant shall be permitted to land in Canada, who is feeble-minded, an idiot, or an epileptic, or who Is insane, or who has had an attack of insanity within five years; nor shall any immigrant ho so landed who is deaf and dumb, or dumb, blind, or infirm unless he belongs to a family accompanying him or already in Canada, and which gives security, satisfactory to the Minister, and in conformity with the regulations in that behalf, if any, for his permanent support if admitted into Canada.

27. No immigrant shall be permitted to land in Canada who is afflicted with a loathsome disease or with a disease which is contagious or infectious and which may become dangerous to the public health or widely disseminated, whether such immigrant intends to settle in Canada or only to pass through Canada to settle in some other country; Provided, That if such disease is one which is curable within a reasonably short time, the immigrant suffering therefrom may, subject to the regulations in that behalf, if any, be permitted to remain on board where hospital facilities do not exist on shore, or to leave the vessel for medical treatment, under such regulations as may be made by the Minister.

28. No person shall be permitted to land in Canada who is a pauper, or destitute, a professional beggar, or vagrant, or who is likely to become a public charge. * * *

29. No immigrant shall be permitted to land in Canada who has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, or who is a prostitute, or who procures or brings or attempts to bring into Canada, prostitutes or women for purposes of prostitution.

30. The Governor in Council may, by proclamation or order, whenever he considers it necessary or expedient, prohibit the landing in Canada of any specified class of immigrants or of any immigrants who have come to Canada otherwise than by continuous journey from the country of which they are natives or citizens and upon through tickets purchased in that country.


2. That the following classes of aliens shall be excluded from admission into the United States: All idiots, imbeciles, feeble-minded persons, epileptics, insane persons and persons who have been insane within five years previous; persons who have had two or more attacks of insanity at any time previously;

paupers; persons likely to become a public charge; professional beggars; persons afflicted with tuberculosis or with a loathsome or dangerous contagious disease;

persons not comprehended within any of the preceding excluded classes who are found to be and are certified by the examining surgeon as being mentally or physically defective, such mental or physical defect being of a nature which may affect the ability of such alien to earn a living;

persons who have been convicted of or admit having committed a felony or other crime or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude; polygamists, or persons who admit their belief in the practice of polygamy; anarchists, or persons who believe in or advocate the overthrow by force or violence of the Government of the United States, or of all government, or of all forms of law, or the assassination of public officials;

prostitutes, or women or girls coming into the United States for the purpose of prostitution or for any other immoral purpose; persons who procure or attempt to bring in prostitutes or women or girls for the purpose of prostitution or for any other immoral purpose;

persons from now on called contract laborers, who have been induced or solicited to migrate to this country by offers or promises of employment or in consequence of agreements, oral, written or printed, express or implied, to perform labor in this country of any kind, skilled or unskilled;

those who have been, within one year from the date of application for admission to the United States, deported as having been induced or solicited to migrate as above described;

any person whose ticket or passage is paid for with the money of another, or who is assisted by others to come, unless it is affirmatively and satisfactorily shown that such person does not belong to one of the foregoing excluded classes, and that said ticket or passage was not paid for by any corporation, association, society, municipality, or foreign government, either directly or indirectly;

all children under sixteen years of age, unaccompanied by one or both of their parents, at the discretion of the Secretary' of Commerce and Labor or under such regulations as he may from time to time prescribe:

Provided, That nothing in this Act shall exclude, if otherwise admissible, persons convicted of an offense purely political, not involving moral turpitude;

provided further, That the provisions of this section relating to the payments for tickets or passage by any corporation, association, society, municipality, or foreign government shall not apply to tickets or passage of aliens in immediate and continuous transit through the United States to foreign contiguous territory:

And provided further, That skilled labor may be imported if labor of like kind unemployed can not be found in this country: And provided further, That the provisions of this law applicable to contract labor shall not be held to exclude professional actors, artists, lecturers, singers, ministers of any religious denomination, professors for colleges or seminaries, persons belonging to any recognized learned profession, or persons employed strictly as personal or domestic servants.

a Chapter 93, Revised Statutes of Canada, 1900, and the amending acts of 1907 and 1908 consolidated. Appendix A. For law as amended May 4, 1910, see Appendix I. b Act of February 20, 1907. Appendix C.

Although the phraseology employed differs somewhat in the exclusion provisions of the two laws above quoted, it is apparent that both are designed to exclude practically the same classes of physical, mental, and moral defectives and delinquents.

The Canadian law, however, contains no provision regarding polygamists, anarchists, or contract laborers, while the United States law specifically excludes such persons.

Assisted immigrants also are debarred by the United States and not by the Canadian law, but, as stated elsewhere, persons of this class have been added to the list of immigrants recognized by Canada as undesirable, through an order of the governor-general in council.

There is a radical difference, noted elsewhere, between the attitude of Canada and the provisions of the United States law with regard to the admission of so-called contract laborers.

Source: Extract from The Immigration Situation in Canada By United States. Immigration Commission (1907-1910), Walter W. Husband p 41-43

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