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Whence They Came

Barbara Roberts

6. The Bureaucracy Matures, 1920s-1935

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1Throughout the 1920s deportation case-building and record-keeping increased in importance. Before the 1920s, the Department's emphasis on constructing solid cases was usually based on its desire to make the transportation companies pay the cost of deportation, and to avoid grave criticism or public uproar for shipping out paupers or the helpless. By the 1920s, it had begun to build legal cases that would demonstrate the fairness and completeness of its work.

2To perfect deportation as an administrative proceeding, the Department had to show that deportations were legally carried out, for consistent reasons, by proper methods, in accord with the provisions of the Immigration Act. The evidence that was assembled and the cases that were created protected the Department rather than the immigrant. This is not to suggest that the Department intended to cover up gross violations of the rights of deports, or gross illegalities in its actions. The Department did not as a rule commit such offences, nor did it need to. Its violations of the Act were often technical and could be seen as petty and unimportant, were it not for the consequences for the people involved.

3The 1920s were a period of intensified activity for the Department, not searching out deports – that system had been effectively set in motion in the preceding decades – but in creating an unassailable legal rationale for its practices, policies, and actions. The rationale was unassailable because it was based on prevailing social and sexual mores and discrimination, and because it was concealed from the public and, for that matter, from Parliament. If awkward questions were to be raised, the records created by the Department would show the occasional instance of regrettable necessity of a mixed and shifting type. It remained almost impossible for outsiders to discover how the actions of individual immigrants were related to the statistics on the causes of deportation published in the annual reports.

  • 1 Public Archives of Canada (PAC) Record Group (RG) 76, File 563236, Blair to Winnipeg Commissioner, (...)

4During the decade the Department had to develop techniques to cope with legal and procedural issues such as the extralegal detainment of immigrants who had not been convicted of crimes. The Department had been placing them in jails in lieu of designated immigration detention facilities. Its authority to detain immigrants for examination or deportation was limited by the Act to holding them in an “immigrant station”. A jail was not an “immigrant station” within the meaning of the Act. Sometimes the Department could arrange to have a jail so designated, such as the penitentiary in New Westminster where fourteen Russian “agitators” were being held. The Minister simply sent a letter “recognizing” the Warden and his staff as “officers” under the Immigration Act, and the jail as an “immigrant station” in order to “clear up the question of legality of detention in a penitentiary.” After the Department of Justice criticized several related practices as being illegal, the Department decided to follow more closely the procedures laid down in the Act, to use the proper paperwork, and to produce documentary evidence that its actions were legal.1

  • 2 Ibid., 18 November 1920.

5Certain illegal practices continued, however. For instance, under some sections of the Act, an immigrant could be arrested without a warrant, but not detained in jail. Nonetheless, the Department decided to continue to do this “at present until we can get the Act amended in such a way to make entirely legal such detention. ''The Department hoped that if problems arose it could prosecute the detained immigrant for being in Canada in contravention of the Act or entry by stealth or misrepresentation. It might gain a fine or even a conviction. “The moment a conviction is secured, the question of legality of detention awaiting the outcome of deportation proceedings, is no longer a question for us.”2

  • 3 Ibid., 6 December 1920.

6The Department also used extralegal procedures with deports who were quite legally held in jail following criminal convictions. Contrary to the provisions of the Act, it was their “custom to deal with inmates of prisons, penitentiaries, and asylums without the formality of an examination by a Board of Inquiry.” After 1920, the Department tended to hold Boards of Inquiry, although its methods remained questionable. One short cut was to keep a supply of blank orders signed by the Minister, so that they could be sent off at very short notice in response to a telegram from an agent.3

  • 4 Ibid., Vancouver Agent to Secretary Blair, 6 October 1921; Blair to Minister, 9 December 1922.

7The situation in British Columbia illustrates the way the Department complied almost meticulously with certain legalities while at the same time violated the Act. By 1921, applications for writs of habeas corpus by defendents in Departmental deportation cases were “almost weekly occurences.” British Columbia judges had repeatedly ruled that the courts could investigate to be sure that the Department had followed proper procedures laid out by the Act. As a consequence, Vancouver agents paid much greater attention to detail to be sure that their cases would stand up in court. It was to provide British Columbia agents with evidence that they acted legally that the practice of having the Minister sign blank orders for examination became standardized. By 1922, the Minister was signing blanks in batches of fifty.4

  • 5 Ibid., Blair to Colonel Dennis, 10 May 1927.

8As the Department increased its attention to case-building, it gave outside officials detailed instructions about preparing deportation cases. To the head of the Canadian Pacific Railway Colonization Department, Secretary Blair explained how to deport some Yugoslavs who had refused to do farm work. It was first necessary to prove that they had entered as agricultural workers but had subsequently refused farm jobs. They could then be arrested without a warrant and deported under Section 33 for entering by misrepresentation. The CPR man was told to submit several cases to the Department, when he had prepared them along these lines, in order to have the deportation proceedings started.5

  • 6 Ibid., Commissioner to Fraser, 5 February 1929; Assistant Deputy Minister to Badgley, 15 September (...)

9The Department increased its attention to record-keeping, as well. Agents were told to be sure to obtain a signed statement from immigrants who withdrew their appeals against deportation. Perhaps the most significant decision (at least from the point of view of later analysis of the practices of the Department) was to “save the deportation cases.” This practice was initiated after the Department found that it could not proceed with a deportation ordered on the grounds that the immigrant had been previously deported, because the person's file had been destroyed. “It seems to me that in deportation cases it might be advisable to retain our files almost indefinitely, because such cases are liable to crop up over and over again and once a record is destroyed it is difficult to effect the second deportation without a good deal of trouble.”6 The general principle of saving the deportation records was consistent with the increased attention by the Department to creating and maintaining records, and building good legal cases for its deportation activities.

  • 7 Ibid., Deputy Attorney General to Vancouver Commissioner of Immigration, 6 January 1923; Deputy Mi (...)

10Developing precise definitions of deportable conditions or offences was an important factor in assembling solid deportation cases. The Department tried to define more precisely what constituted becoming a public charge. The answers to that question were sometimes inconsistent. For instance, the Deputy Attorney General of British Columbia said that a woman who received Mother’s Pension (that is, welfare for the support of dependent children, usually paid to poor widows and other women in desperate circumstances) was not “a charge on the public authorities.” Yet these “pensions” were paid from public funds. Women who lived in Salvation Army or YWCA or WCTU hostels were not public charges either, according to the Department of Justice.7 First World War veterans receiving treatment for war-related problems at veterans’ hospitals, however, were considered to be public charges, and could be deported as such.

  • 8 Ibid., Winnipeg Commissioner of Immigration to Blair, 19 September 1922; Blair to Winnipeg, 22 Sep (...)

11The deportation of veterans had political implications, and raised complex questions. The issue centred on the question of whether or not a hospital maintained by the Red Cross, or a public institution to help veterans set up and run by the government, were “public charitable institutions” within the meaning of the Immigration Act. Members of Boards of Inquiry had not always agreed, and this had led to difficulties in reaching consistent decisions on deportation cases. In the opinion of the Immigration officials in Ottawa, Red Cross hospitals were public institutions, since funds had been subscribed in Canada by municipal, provincial and federal governments as well as by the general public. If the Red Cross gave help to people, particularly those not citizens or not members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), they became public charges within the meaning of the Act. Further, government veterans’ hospitals were maintained by public funds. Whether or not veterans using these hospitals became public charges depended on individual circumstances, particularly upon allowances deriving from former military service. According to the Department of Soldiers’ Civil Reestablishment (DSCR), even when veterans’ allowances entitled them to treatments paid for by the government, the payments did not cover the actual costs. Thus, “no matter to what treatment they are entitled,” patients who had not been in the CEF, who became inmates of veterans’ hospitals run by the DSCR, “become to a certain extent a charge upon the public funds and a public charge in Canada.”8

12Thus, veterans were deportable if they sought hospital treatment as veterans:

If an ex-Imperial soldier is not receiving a pension and he receives treatment under the jurisdiction of the Department of Soldiers’ Civil Reestablishment in Canada, he is regarded by that Department as becoming a public charge, unless they are reimbursed by the Imperial authorities for the cost of such treatment.

  • 9 Ibid., Blair to Vancouver Commissioner Jolliffe, 30 January 1924.

13Such reimbursement was reported to be rare. Moreover, even if the veterans were getting a pension and the Imperial authorities paid all the costs of treatment, the DSCR stated that such payment “does not cover the costs to their Department of the maintenance of such persons in Canada.” Therefore, even a veteran with veterans’ medical treatment benefits became a public charge if he sought treatment at a veterans’ hospital in Canada.9

  • 10 Ibid., Ottawa to Winnipeg Commissioner of Immigration, 8 November 1922; Blair to Director of Depar (...)

14The Department of Soldiers’ Civil Reestablishment did not stand by the veterans on this issue, but rather co-operated with the Department in deporting vets. The collaboration of the DSCR helped the Department to establish standardized procedures for veterans’ deportations. The local offices of the DSCR sent lists of prospective deports to their central office in Ottawa, which in turn forwarded the information to the Department. At the same time, local DSCR offices sent carbon copies of the deport lists to the local Immigration Agents, to help start the investigations. By the end of 1922, the DSCR was requesting deportations in much the same way as the municipalities. The choice of who was deported was largely a question of class, however: as Immigration Secretary Blair remarked, lists of deportable vets seldom included officers.10

  • 11 Ibid., Blair to Amyot, 7 May 1921; Amyot to Blair, 10 May 1921.

15Even when deportation seemed inevitable under the Act, it was necessary to create detailed evidence in accord with legal procedures. This became increasingly evident in medical deportation cases where the deport had been in Canada long enough to acquire domicile. It was necessary to show that the immigrant could not acquire domicile because he or she belonged to the prohibited classes. In medical cases it was politic for the Department of Immigration to consult with the medical officers at the Department of Health (where the immigration doctors had been transferred in 1919), in much the same way as the Department consulted with lawyers at the Department of Justice about interpretations of the Immigration Act. In 1921, Secretary Blair wrote to the Deputy Minister of Health about a woman certified as mentally defective by Dr. Eric Clarke of the Canadian Committee for Mental Hygiene at Toronto. Clarke attested that the woman, now aged twenty-one, had been feebleminded when she had entered Canada as a Salvation Army immigrant at the age of fourteen. She had borne an illegitimate child, and was currently receiving treatment for venereal disease. Secretary Blair wanted confirmation from the Department of Health that this young woman was indeed a prohibited immigrant under the Act. “Feeblemindedness is an arrest of development of intelligence and is like an indelible scar on the brain cells,” replied the Deputy Minister of Health. By definition, she had been so afflicted at entry, and thus was a prohibited immigrant, could never have legally entered, and thus could not have fulfilled the requirements for domicile.11

16Sending records of all medical-related cases to the Department of Health did not necessarily mean that these deportations were actually carried out on medical grounds:

Unless evidence is available that a person was prohibited at the time of entry, no action can be taken in the deportation cases of persons who are insane or mentally defective in any way or are suffering from venereal disease or tuberculosis or are physically defective to such an extent that they cannot work or earn a living, unless such persons have become inmates of asylums or hospitals for the insane, or the mentally deficient, or public charitable institutions or have become public charges.

  • 12 Ibid., Memo to Blair, 17 May 1923 (my emphasis).

17Lacking the evidence that the condition or problem had existed at the time of entry, deportation was usually effected on the grounds that the immigrant had become a public charge.12

18The Department of Immigration did not refer all deportations on medical grounds to the Department of Health, nor did it refer all public charge deportations:

  • 13 Ibid., Blair to staff, 21 May 1923.

The term “for medical reasons” is rather elastic, and we must decide generally the limit within which we will report to the Health Department. If the real grounds for deportation are physical or mental, I think we should advise Health. But if otherwise, I would not report unless the record shows that a person had become a public charge etc., because of physical or mental conditions possibly present when entering Canada.13

19For the most part the relationship between the two departments was smooth and they collaborated effectively on deportation problems. Yet sometimes there were hints of disagreement. In 1927, the Department of Health expressed concern that “too many cases were being deported on the ground of medical reasons.” Immigration countered that although the Department of Health was given copies of all medical cases, this did not mean that such deportations were “effected on medical grounds.” They explained, “the condition of health of the person under investigation... is frequently a determining factor in the decision finally arrived at, but this does not, of course, mean that the deportation is effected on the grounds of medical causes.”

20In the case of one man who was also a prohibited immigrant because he had tuberculosis, the deportation had been

  • 14 Ibid., Commissioner of Immigration to Dr. D. A. Clarke, Assistant Deputy Minister, Department of H (...)

ordered solely on the grounds that the alien had become a public charge in Canada and was not in possession of Canadian domicile. The Examining Officer came to the conclusion that the alien was not disposed to work and that he appeared to be strong and healthy.14

21Thus, the fact that the person had tuberculosis and was therefore a member of the prohibited classes was used only to disqualify him from domicile. The actual ground for deportation was that he was a public charge.

22High numbers of deportations on medical grounds reflected badly on the Department of Health; since the transfer of the immigration doctors in 1919, incoming immigrants were inspected by medical officers under the auspices of the Department of Health. Although by the 1920s the medical officers no longer had the power to exclude or deport immigrants, they were still required to certify in writing the existence of any medical problems which might make each immigrant a member of the prohibited classes specified in the Act. Subsequent admission, rejection or, ultimately, deportation, was out of their hands. Yet outcry for stricter inspection focused on the inadequacy of medical inspections. High rates of medical deportation fueled such outcries.

  • 15 Ibid., Division Commissioner Fraser to Jolliffe, “Memo, regarding cause of deportation,” 21 June 1 (...)

23Even though the medical inspectors had little real authority by the 1920s, it was essential that they note any defects that might have bearing on later deportation cases. Without such evidence, the Department of Immigration might find it impossible to deport someone. For example, in 1928, Jane Smith, aged seventy-four, suffering from senile dementia and varicose veins, was ordered deported. She had entered Canada in August 1919, destined for Fort William, Ontario, where her married daughter lived. She had been admitted to the Ontario Hospital for the Insane in April 1928, nearly nine years later. The Department of Health agreed that she had been certifiable at the time of entry under the medical prohibitions of the Act, because of ulcerating varicose veins. Her deportation order was based on Section 3,' “prohibited immigrant”, Section 40, “having become an inmate of a hospital for the insane,” and “having become a public charge.”15

  • 16 Ibid., Commissioner Jolliffe to Deputy Minister Egan, 26 June 1928.

24The case rested upon her inclusion in the prohibited classes because of her varicose veins at the time of entry. She had admitted that she had suffered from varicose veins before entering Canada. Upon arrival at the hospital, she had been medically certified as physically unable to work because of old age and varicose veins. Moreover, there was also a letter from the Medical Superintendent of the hospital attesting that she was lame because of her veins, and thus had never been able to earn her living in Canada. Therefore, she had been certifiable under Section 3 at the time of entry. Nonetheless, the Department finally had to reverse her deportation order, because she had not been so certified when she entered Canada. Thus, there was no adequate evidence to show that she did not have domicile, and so she was not deportable under Section 40.16

25The issue in deportation cases was not so much the real situation but rather what could legally be shown to be the situation. While medical factors gave the opportunity to build good cases for the deportation of some immigrants even after long residence, these medical factors were useful only if carefully constructed into evidence to support the case.

  • 17 Department of Immigration and Colonization, Annual Report, 1924; File 563236, Blair to Consul Gene (...)

26The Department acquired a new technique to use against domiciled aliens, with the amendment of the Opium and Narcotic Drug Act (O.N.D.A.) on 28 June 1922. Before, only undomiciled aliens could legally be deported after criminal convictions for drug-related offences such as possession of, addiction to, or trafficking in, illegal drugs. After the 1922 amendment, according to a Department of Justice ruling, “an alien coming under the provisions of the O.N.D.A. is deportable, notwithstanding the fact that he may have acquired Canadian domicile under the provisions of the Immigration Act.”17

  • 18 Annual Report, ibid., 1924.

27Such deportations did not go unchallenged: in fiscal 1922-23, fourteen cases from the Pacific Division (British Columbia) went to the courts. Five of these court cases were won by the Department and the persons were deported after their jail sentences. The other nine persons won and the Department had to release twenty-three O.N.D.A. deports who had served their jail sentences, and whose deportations would not have been sustained by the courts if challenged by writs of habeas corpus. Another important British Columbia Court of Appeals decision made O.N.D.A. deportations more difficult. The Court decided that deportation under certain Sections of the O.N.D.A. was a criminal proceeding. This increased the already high number of deportation cases being appealed in the British Columbia courts.18 The Department fared better in closed administrative proceedings. Nonetheless, the use of the amended O.N.D.A. was subject to fewer constraints in other provinces, and its provisions did bring hundreds more each year into the ranks of the deportable.

  • 19 File 563236, Little to Montreal Agent, 2 November 1922; Blair, “Memo concerning conference with De (...)

28The tactics used by the Department were flexible and varied according to the target. The O.N.D.A. deportation provisions applied only to' “aliens”. British subjects could not be examined for deportation for drug offences under the O.N.D.A., but if undomiciled they could be examined under Sections 40 and 42 of the Immigration Act for deportation as convicted criminals. Sometimes the Department's choice of legal tactics was affected by economic considerations. Some O.N.D.A. offences could lead to deportations of undomiciled immigrants under the Immigration Act. In these cases, the transportation companies were usually liable for costs. Drug cases “beyond” the Immigration Act, when aliens had Canadian domicile, had to be carried out under the O.N.D.A. In these instances, the Department paid the costs of deportation.19

  • 20 Ibid., Reid to Agent Regimbal, 4 January 1923.

29The Pacific Division office in Vancouver, where most of the O.N.D.A. deportations were carried out, and where the Department had faced the most severe court challenges, helped other offices prepare O.N.D.A. cases that would survive appeals or habeas corpus writs. Agent Malcolm Reid, Assistant Chief Controller of Chinese Immigration at Vancouver, explained to Agent Regimbai, Montreal Controller of Chinese Immigration, that in British Columbia they had “successfully defended some Habeas Corpus cases... but have lost one or two as well.” The most important points for the Board of Inquiry to bring out in such cases were that the accused was an alien, and that he or she had been sentenced under the relevant sections of the O.N.D.A. “The courts have told us that in all cases, the Warrant of the Minister of justice... must be issued,” as well as the warrant from Immigration. Further, the person would have to have been formally ordered deported by a Board of Inquiry. If these steps were properly taken, Reid advised, the Department “will not have much trouble with these cases.”20

  • 21 From Annual Reports, 1925, 1926, and 1928, respectively.

30The statistics of the Pacific Division showed the usefulness of the new Act. In fiscal 1923-24, 38 per cent (116: 307) of its deportations were under these provisions; in 1924-25, 22 per cent (77: 374); and in 1926-27, 16 per cent (52: 328). Moreover, within the statistics of “criminal” deportations, there were other instances of those not yet domiciled, and thus liable to be deported for criminal convictions (violations of the O.N.D.A.), under the provisions of the general Immigration Act.21

  • 22 See for example the 1924 Annual Report, p.44. That year from the Pacific Division there were 123 C (...)

31The O.N.D.A. was aimed at the drug trade in Canada, particularly at the Chinese, who were thought to be disproportionately involved in it. Indeed, most of the deportations under the O.N.D.A. were of persons of Chinese descent. Chinese immigration had been restricted since 1885 by the imposition of a $50 head tax, increased to $100 in 1901, and $500 in 1904. In 1923, the Canadian government's Chinese Immigration Act cut off Chinese immigration by restricting entry to Canada to: diplomatic personnel and their families; returning Canadian-born Chinese who had been away for educational or other purposes and who could prove they were Canadian-born; returning long-time Canadian residents who could prove their status; students; certain classes of merchants; visitors; and persons in transit to other countries. Persons of Chinese descent presently in Canada had already been required to register with the immigration authorities. Their subsequent exit and re-entry was controlled by a system of certificates valid only for a certain length of time.22

  • 23 File 563236, Winnipeg to Commissioner Little, Ottawa, 14 March 1923.

32This anti-Chinese prejudice expressed in policy in the 1923 Act was also expressed in Departmental practice. The Winnipeg Commissioner wrote to the Ottawa office in 1923 to complain that he had not been consistently notified of the impending arrival of Chinese deports coming from the East to be deported from a Pacific port. Winnipeg officers met the train, and took over escorting the Chinese deports to Vancouver. Winnipeg officers needed adequate notice to arrange a transfer of custody at the station, “so that these Chinese will not be kept over in the Immigration Hall here.”23

  • 24 Ibid., Whitton to Deputy Minister Egan, 15July 1929; Egan to Whitton, 16 August 1929 and 4 Septemb (...)

33It was not just the Department who objected to close contact with Chinese deports. In 1929, Charlotte Whitton of the Canadian Council on Child Welfare complained to the Department about a series of child deportations. A fifteen-year-old girl and a fourteen-year-old boy, escorted by a Department Matron on the Vancouver eastbound train, had found no sleeping accommodations. Their car had been filled with Chinese men. At first the Department presumed that it was the colonist car accommodations rather than the Chinese passengers to which Whitton objected, and responded that the colonist car was no worse than that in which the children had immigrated to Vancouver. Moreover it would be exceedingly rare for [white] child deports to travel in a colonist car, or to be sent in a car full of Chinese. As a result of this case (and others before), the Vancouver Children's Aid Society asked that all child deports be given better accommodation. As the Society argued, when the children had travelled to Vancouver with their parents, it is unlikely that they had been the only non-Chinese occupants of a car. The Society wanted assurances that child deports travelling without their parents would be placed in a car “where the other passengers are not Orientals and the girl deportees should not be made to travel in a car entirely filled with men.” Someone from the Department noted in the margin beside these two requests, “quite right,” and suggested using tourist rather than colonist cars.24

34The O.N.D.A. amendments added another weapon to the arsenal of the Department, but the instructions had to be carefully followed to avoid backfiring. The provisions of the Immigration Act did not so much limit the power of the Department to carry out deportations, as did they specify the methods and procedures through which the Department was to exercise that power. As long as the Department was meticulous in paperwork, used the correct forms, and adduced evidence in its Board of Inquiry hearings to prove the immigrant's membership in a particular group specified in the Section of the Act under which the deportation was to take place, its authority would be virtually unchallenged.

  • 25 See Emily Murphy’s The Black Candle (1921), on the prejudices of the latter group. On the OND see (...)

35Immigrants in Canada more than five years could be deported in the 1920s only under certain conditions: discovery of political offences, bringing them under Section 41; discovery that they had not entered legally and could not have fulfilled the requirement for five years’ residence after legal entry; or discovery that some medical problem or condition brought them under the prohibited classes, which meant that they could never acquire domicile. Otherwise, domiciled immigrants were usually safe from deportation. The amended O.N.D.A. added another category to the list of exceptions, and it focused on groups who were widely seen as undesirable: drug addicts or traffickers, criminals and, often, the Chinese. Deportation of these groups was politically safe, morally attractive, and in accord with the popular prejudices of the general public and of the “progressive” elements such as doctors and moral reformers of the period.25

  • 26 File 563236, Scott to Winnipeg Office, 24 September 1915.

36Morality was a particularly important consideration in the deportations of women. The attitude of the Department was ambiguous. On one hand, the Department routinely deported women because of little more than sexual transgressions at which they had been caught (for instance by pregnancy or venereal disease). On the other hand, the Department cautioned its various agents to be sure that women reported for deportation for sexual immorality were not merely victims of someone’s desire to get them out of the way. During the war, Superintendent Scott had issued a notice to all agents and officers in the West concerning such cases. The Department was sometimes criticized, Scott said, for deporting young women, especially single women. It was claimed that “interested persons” were bringing about such deportations to “avoid local trouble” and the women were “unable to defend themselves and more to be pitied than blamed.” The Department had no desire to find itself blamed, however. Scott instructed, “With the object of further safeguarding our interests... where the deportation of a young woman is under consideration, the greatest care should be taken to see her side of the story is considered and, if necessary, investigated.”26

  • 27 Ibid., Walker to Scott, 27 September 1915.

37Bruce Walker, then in charge of the Winnipeg office of the Department, responded that he had “for several years... made it my personal business not to pass a woman for deportation, old or young, married or unmarried, without a thorough investigation.... Interested parties do not hesitate to bring unsupported charges to compel political or other influence towards the removal of a woman whose presence is considered dangerous or inconvenient to them. I have a case in Ft. Frances this morning, where local influence is being used against a young woman... by local interests, in which one of the parties concerned is guilty of a serious crime against the girl and seeks to protect himself from farther exposure....”27

  • 28 Mrs. K. A. Chiman, “State Guardianship of Young People,” Report of the International Congress of W (...)

38The Department was paternalistic towards female immigrants, especially the respectable and the “fallen”. This can be explained in part by connections between the Department and the women's reform movement in Canada, especially that part of the movement involved in female immigration promotion and management. Bruce Walker was sympathetic to maternalist feminist circles such as the Young Women’s Christian Association. Walker addressed meetings sponsored by the YWCA, wrote on female immigration in their magazine, and approved of YWCA efforts to control and protect female immigrants in the West. The YWCA had been a leader in the efforts by women’s organizations in Canada to protect young women immigrants. In 1909, a Canadian representative to an international conference of women reformers had suggested that young women coming to Canada be made wards of the state, to keep them on the straight and narrow; unsupervised young women would be “ruined”.28

  • 29 PAC Manuscript Group (MG) 281, Volume 13, “Reports of the Y.W.C.A. Immigration Committee, 1912-191 (...)

39By 1914 the YWCA had helped to set up an elaborate system of reception and supervision of female immigrants arriving in Canada. The YWCA’s part in this network was mostly Travellers’ Aid work. “TA” workers wearing badges met incoming women at stations all over the country, and through local committees of women’s church missionary societies, associations of girls’ school graduates, home economics societies, women’s institutes, other women’s organizations, and through local clergymen, tried to supervise and assist newcomers. The YWCA had received permission from the railroads to put up placards in stations, and had obtained promises of further co-operation. The Canadian delegates at an international YWCA conference in Stockholm had suggested that a system of compulsory reception and registration centres be set up in each Canadian city station, where female immigrants would check in so that they might each “be located and guarded.”29

  • 30 Ibid., Volume XIII, No. 1, January 1914, pp. 53-5, 56. See also Suzann Buckley, “British Female Im (...)

40Bruce Walker echoed many of these same concerns in his 1914 article in the YWCA periodical The Young Women of Canada. He described the moral dangers of unescorted and unprotected travel, and advocated the investigation of prospective employers to protect women against moral dangers. He explained the importance of supervising female immigrant newcomers so that they would become the kind of wives and mothers upon whom the building of Canada and the moulding of “the destinies of future Canadians” could safely depend. He urged that there be a female immigrant receiving home managed by women (especially YWCA women) in every province, and that the presence of female supervisory escorts be made compulsory on all ships and trains carrying female immigrants. He urged his readers to pressure the government to bring about these reforms.30 (They took his advice.)

  • 31 Roberts, “A Work of Empire,” passim; see also Barbara Roberts, “Sex, Politics, and Religion: Femal (...)

41This was the context within which Department agents approached concerns related to female immigrants. The YWCA and other women’s groups working with these immigrants continued during the 1920s to press for more systematic and thorough contact with immigrants after they had been settled in new jobs and homes. With the creation of a Women’s Division in the Department of Immigration after the war, the ties between the women reformers and the Department were formalized and legitimized. Jean Burnham, head of the Division, instituted many of the procedures which women's groups had developed and lobbied the government to support since the 1880s. Burnham advocated “followup work”, as this supervision and contact was called. She told the YWCA Immigration Committee in 1925 that she believed it should be “not just protective,” but also embodied in “club opportunities for making friends and keeping straight.” The social activities of women immigrants should be a part of this follow-up system. Burnham was sometimes more thorough than the YWCA on this question, for she had suggested, as well, a letter and “follow-up visit” to every employer (“mistress”) of immigrant domestic servants to assure that effective supervision and protection could be maintained.31

42On other occasions, Burnham used the YWCA and other follow-up workers “to locate missing girls,” that is, women who had dropped out of the records of the Department. Women reformers had focused mainly on British female immigrants; Burnham extended the system to non-British women. Agreeing that female escorts were needed for women travelling to their new homes, Burnham expressed concern that “conductresses” were “rarely sent out on an immigrant train that is wholly foreign,” so that “foreign” women did not receive the same “protection” as British women. She was able to report a few months later that the situation had improved, and that fewer “foreign” trains were sent out without a “conductress”. Some aspects of this close relationship between the women reformers of the YWCA and the government, however, had deteriorated by the last half of the 1920s.

  • 32 Ibid., Meeting of the Y Immigration and Travellers’ Aid Committee, 2 February 1925; Burnham to Com (...)

43In 1926, Burnham notified the YWCA that she would no longer send them corrected and updated addresses for all single female immigrants in Canada. “The government safeguarded the interests of the new arrivals and... our general follow-up work was therefore not needed,” reported an upset YWCA worker to her headquarters. In 1927, Burnham discontinued the practice of notifying the YWCA of the arrival of married women; only single immigrants were to be named henceforth in the Department lists given to the YWCA.32

44Three factors were significant in these decisions. First, the Department had become more deeply involved in the work of female immigration management; women immigration officers and other workers were employed by the government, and systems for the “care” of female immigrants were well established, particularly with the advent of the Empire Settlement Act and the Aftercare Agreement for the supervised immigration of British domestic servants. The Aftercare Agreement promised that the women would be personally conducted to their ships, supervised on the voyage, met at the Canadian port by women officers of the Department of Immigration, and kept under government supervision until they were placed in suitable positions. After placement, the government would maintain contact with the immigrants for several years. The government no longer needed to supply information to the YWCA in order to have follow-up done. Secondly, the pressure of work increased as paperwork became more voluminous, more specific, and more important. The special responsibilities of the Women's Division meant that Burnham and her staff were under constant pressure to generate a staggering array of statistics and reports on women immigrants. Moreover, it was their duty to keep track of every single female immigrant who entered the country. The Division could no longer afford extra time and money to send this information to the YWCA. Finally, by the 1920s, Jean Burnham may well have been exasperated by the difficulty of bringing together women reformers to work with her under new and more professional terms and conditions.

  • 33 Roberts, “Sex, Politics and Religion,” and Buckley, “British Female Immigration.” See MG 281, ibid (...)

45In 1919, when the Women’s Division had been formed, a publicly funded advisory and coordinating committee of representatives from provincial and federal governments and women’s reform groups working in female immigration had also been established. The Canadian Council of Immigration of Women functioned for several years and then gradually faded from the scene, perhaps because its role was token. Ever more of the responsibilities of the Council were taken over by government representatives and professional social workers, while the volunteer reformers became ever less necessary and available. Dr. Helen Reid, a Montreal feminist and physician who was very active in immigration and public health matters, in 1927 suggested calling up the Council again, to strengthen the Women’s Division, to lessen the overlapping of organizations doing immigration work, and to develop information on the actual work done by organizations. Reid stressed the importance of co-operation between governments and women’s groups in this work. Burnham had been working without much success since 1926 to organize a conference to revive the Council, and had written to Minister of Immigration Robert Forke to gain support for the idea. She hoped that women’s organizations could use the Council to “help mould government policy.” The meeting was eventually held in 1928 but the role of voluntary organizations in female immigration work was never to regain the importance of previous decades. Although the work of the Women’s Division continued to show maternal feminist features of the earlier period, its outlook had become professionalized. The women's immigration reform movement that had helped to shape the Division had also changed, with some of its activists becoming professionals themselves, and some turning to other tasks.33

46The establishment of a Women’s Division can be seen as one response of the Department to decades of working more or less in co-operation with women (and to a lesser extent, men) reformers in the area of female immigration. There is little evidence of conflict between Jean Burnham and other Department officials. Since most of the work relating to women took place under the ostensible supervision of the Women’s Division, there may well have been relatively few occasions for clashes. It was the practice in the 1920s to use female officers to carry out escort and other deportation-connected duties. Despite the Department’s sometimes harsh deportation practices, it did display a paternalistic (or maternalistic) “protective” attitude towards women immigrants.

  • 34 RG 76, File 563236, Blair to Superintendent of Immigration for Canada, London, England, 7 December (...)

47The Department routinely deported women who strayed from well regulated and respectable behaviour. The Department in some instances deported women solely because they had illegitimate children. In one case in 1922 the child had died, so “the care and maintenance of the child was not a matter to be taken into consideration”; still, the mother was deported. “Fallen girls” were deported, often at the behest of municipal officials. In one such case, the Department’s Assistant Accountant explained to the Secretary of Immigration that Calgary authorities were doing their best to “get rid of” one woman, whether she was “legally deportable or not. I think experience has shown the Department that this is pretty much the attitude of at least all the Western Municipalities....”34

  • 35 Ibid., Blair to Accountant, 19 January 1923.

48When a woman in such a situation wanted to go back to the British Isles (most single women immigrants in the 1920s were British) the Department “might have helped her home without bothering about whether or not she was deportable.” But if she were not willing to go, and not legally deportable, she could not be shipped out so easily. In the case of Nellie Fry, for instance, the Department was stymied. She had entered before the 1919 Act had come into effect, so could not be found in the prohibited classes, said Blair. She had been examined to see if her “mental state” would bring her under the prohibited classes under the provisions of the 1914 law. It did not. Noted the Department, “when the girl herself stated that she did not want to go back, that her misfortune and her offence had taken place in Canada and that she had paid here for her error, it became necessary to deal with her case in an absolutely legal manner.”35

49Whether or not women were deported for causes related to sexual “immorality” seems to have been determined also by such factors as with whom they were “immoral”. Grace Evelyn Baker had come to Canada as a domestic in November 1926, left her job after a month, and then was apparently courted at the same time by Padgen, a naturalized Canadian of Austrian origin, and Hoy, a Chinese cafe cashier. The Department had implied that she had been sexually intimate with both before she had married the former. In July 1927, she obtained a legal separation. In September of that year she gave birth to a child who was registered as Hoy's son. Hoy had been “looking after” her since that time. Moreover, upon examination she had “admitted to having been intimate with a young man in England prior to emigration to Canada, and from the evidence it is quite conclusive that she is an undesirable.”

  • 36 Ibid., Memo, 2 December 1927. The Calgary Agent went too far. He raided a bawdy house with the pol (...)

50She was charged as a prostitute under Section 40 of the Act and ordered deported, because she had admitted having a room at the same hotel as Hoy, and also admitted that she had “frequented the room of this Chinese and had intimate relationships with him, who gave her money as well as presents.” Her appeal against deportation was sustained only because she was legally the wife of a Canadian citizen. It is also clear from the records of the Department that it was on account of her sexual relationships outside of marriage (albeit one of the three had been long before) that she was deportable. While the Department professed sympathy for respectable women who had “fallen” victims to sexual predators, and sometimes did help them, it reacted to those who willingly and knowingly transgressed, with little but the desire to remove such a menace to public morals.36

51The Department was concerned to show that deportations were not arbitrary, but just and legal. The Act offered a variety of statutory causes for deportation. The Department had to build evidence to show that particular cases came under the general categories of the Act. The evidence was the link between the actions of the immigrant and the ability of the Department to deport him or her as a consequence of those actions. There may well have been a direct cause-and-effect link between action and deportation, but the records created and displayed by the Department in its annual reports did not necessarily reveal this causal connection. Rather, nominal or legal causes given to explain deportation tended to obscure the “real” reasons.

  • 37 File 434173, passim; Memo, 19 February 1937.

52The extent to which nominal causes for deportation concealed the real or a priori reasons can be seen in the deportations of British women who had come to Canada as domestic servants during the 1920s. Between 1923-31, a total of 23,804 women had come out as household workers under the Empire Settlement Act. Of these, 18,790 came after January 1926 under the Aftercare Agreement. This agreement brought over women in five different categories under various schemes set up between the Imperial authorities, the federal government, and such bodies as the Province of Ontario or the Salvation Army. The Aftercare Agreement offered household workers guaranteed work at standard wages. Between 1923 and 1925, women could obtain passage loans. In 1926 a cheap fare of three pounds (reduced to two pounds in 1927) was made available for the ocean passage, and rail fares in Canada were also greatly reduced. The post-1926 immigrants had to pay their own ocean passage, but could get loans for their rail fares. (By 1937, eighty-nine per cent of the loans had been repaid.)37

  • 38 Ibid., “Report on minor problems under the Aftercare Agreement,” not dated, 1932; “Report on unmar (...)

53The Aftercare Agreement did not entirely succeed in eliminating the problems traditionally associated with female immigration. The Department classified difficulties experienced by these immigrants as “minor” and “major” problems. Minor problems listed for fiscal 1931-32 included ill health, job changing by unskilled house-workers, immigrants being “unsettled owing to poor character”, house-workers taking other kinds of work, address unknown, and unemployment. Minor problems in themselves seldom led to deportation. Yet minor problems might become “major”, and major problems often led to deportation. Despite the supervision (“protection”) promised by the Agreement, numbers of domestics became pregnant and bore children out of marriage.38

  • 39 File 563236, Memo, Assistant Deputy Minister to Jolliffe, 29 June 1926; Macnaghten to Secretary Bl (...)

54The Department of Immigration claimed that it did not deport these women simply because they had illegitimate children. This claim was regarded with some skepticism. The Overseas Settlement Office in England, a British government agency, had complained as early as June 1926 that Canada was too eager to deport Empire Settlement women. In 1928, Terence Macnaghten, Vice Chairman of the Overseas Settlement Committee, wrote on behalf of the Overseas Settlement Office protesting the deportation of unwed mothers. “We take the view that when an unmarried woman from this country becomes a mother after she has resided in Canada for a year or more, i.e., when the presumption is that she was led astray after she had arrived in Canada... the mother and child should remain in Canada and be dealt with like any other unmarried mother and child in Canada.”39 He urged the Department to seek permission from the Overseas Settlement Office to deport such cases.

  • 40 Ibid., Commissioner to Little, 7 July 1928.

55The Department was indignant at the suggestion that it should consult British authorities in deportation cases. In an internal memo the Commissioner of Immigration hotly denied that the Department had a programme of wholesale deportations of unwed mothers. “We are continually in hot water owing to our refusal to deport” many such cases, he claimed. As for Macnaghten’s idea that these women had been “led astray” in Canada, “no doubt some of them are, but... from a perusal of most of these cases, I would judge that there has not been much leading astray... the examination frequently indicates the girls were immoral before ever they came to Canada.”40

  • 41 Ibid., Blair to Macnaghten, 17 July 1928 and 18 July 1928.

56Deputy Minister of immigration William Egan replied to Macnaghten, “we never deport an unmarried mother nor do we deport any British subject if it is at all possible to establish them in this country but we subsequently discover migrants who belonged to the prohibited classes at the time of their entry, and we have... no authority under the law to permit such persons to remain in this country. “The Canadian law was “designed to protect a municipality” from immigrants who had become public charges, and unwed mothers fell under this law. Shortly thereafter Blair forwarded Macnaghten a copy of a report from an urban charitable organization which complained strenuously about a very low rate of deportation for illegitimacy, arguing that these mothers had become public charges, and that “socially unadjusted cases of this type” should be deported. The organization had decided to refuse to grant relief to such cases, and warned that it would not accept responsibility for the “serious and permanent social problems due to the Department not taking action.” Blair cited this report as an example of the problems faced by the Department in dealing with these cases, and as evidence that the Department did not automatically deport unwed mothers.41

  • 42 Ibid., Macnaghten to Blair, 3 November 1928.

57Macnaghten was persuaded that such cases were dealt with “sympathetically and justly.” He accepted the claim that these immigrants were not deported “unless there is evidence of constant immorality and disease.” Further, he believed that only a small percentage of deportations ordered had actually been carried out.42

  • 43 File 434173, “Report on unmarried mother cases...,” 1933; “Analysis of major problem cases coming (...)

58Departmental files challenge these claims. The rate of deportation for British female domestics brought to Canada, under the Aftercare Agreement (with its supposedly stringent procedures of selection, supervision and assistance), between 1 January 1926 and 31 March 1931, was 4.6 per cent. This is considerably more than the average of one per cent cited by the Department in its published annual reports. A report by the Department on 670 “unwed mother” cases between 1926 and 1933 revealed that 27.5 per cent of these unmarried mothers were deported, and a further 5.4 per cent were ordered deported, but the deportations stayed. Ten per cent “returned to the Old Country”; it is unclear how many of these returns were in fact informal deportations. These figures do not reveal the extent of illegitimacy deportations, because of the high percentage of cases not yet settled at the time of the study: 36 per cent. Department memos and internally circulated reports indicate that there was not necessarily a direct connection between the “problem”, and the stated cause given by the Department for deportation. An analysis of the causes for the deportations of 689 Empire Settlement Aftercare domestics between 1 January 1926 and 31 March 193143 showed that the same “problem” – immorality – was listed as a “contributing factor which necessitated deportation” in four of the five statutory causes for these deportations.

  • 44 “Analysis of major problem cases coming to attention up to 31 December 1932 under the Aftercare Ag (...)

59The Department gave seven reasons for these 689 deportations: “illegitimacy” (169), “immorality” (64), “criminal convictions” (68), “bad conduct” (64), “medical” (233), “marriage” (deported with husband, 83), and “becoming a public charge” (8). These reasons were not necessarily legal causes for deportation, nor did they correlate directly to the legal causes. The statutory (legal) causes for these 689 deportations were: “public charge” (528), “insane” (24), “prohibited immigrant” (66), “inmate of gaol” (56), “misrepresentation” (15). The same reasons appeared under more than one statutory heading. “Immorality” was in four; “mentally deficient“ and “medical” appeared in three (“public charge”, “prohibited immigrant”, and “misrepresentation”). “Venereal disease” appeared as a subcategory of “medical reasons” under the statutory cause of “public charge”, and again as a category itself under the statutory cause of “prohibited immigrant.” “Inmates of gaol” deportees (56) had been jailed for “immorality” (80), “vagrancy” (21), “theft” (16), “forgery” (1), “breach of the liquor act” (1), “child desertion” (1), “bigamy” (1), and “contributing to delinquency” (7). Those deported as prohibited immigrants under the Immigration Act (66) were “mentally deficient” (37), “immoral” (8), “previously deported” (2), “convicted prior to arrival” (2), or had “venereal disease” (6), “medical problems or conditions''(11). Of the fifteen women ordered deported for entry by misrepresentation, four were deported for “immorality”, “mental deficiency”, “medical reasons” or having been “previously deported”, while eleven were ordered deported for having “misrepresented” their marital status, that is, for claiming to be single. Even so apparently straightforward and frequently used a statutory cause as''being a public charge” (528) included a variety of stated reasons: “illegitimacy” (142), “immorality” (33), “bad conduct” (69), “medical reasons” (159), “mental deficiency” (32), “vagrancy” (5), and “unemployment” (88).44

  • 45 Ibid., “Causes for deportation of Empire Settlement women showing the contributing factors which n (...)

60Illegitimacy figured prominently in the “Reports of Aftercare Agreement problem cases.” The Department claimed that it did not deport an immigrant solely for having an illegitimate child; however, it did deport women for other, often related, reasons. Another Departmental study outlined the causes for deportation of a group of 574 Empire Settlement Aftercare Agreement immigrants who had borne illegitimate children by the end of March 1934. Of this group, 137 were deported for illegitimacy combined with other charges: “becoming a public charge”, “immorality” (living with men to whom they were not married), “having a second illegitimate child”, “theft”, “feeblemindedness”, “venereal disease”, “being thoroughly undesirable”. Of the deportations not tied to illegitimacy, fifty-four were deported for “immorality” (living with a man) in combination with “prostitution” or other offences. A total of sixty-one more were deported for “conviction of a criminal offence”, such as “keeping a disorderly house”, “theft”, “forgery”, “immorality”, or “contributing to delinquency”. Another fifty-three were deported for “bad conduct”: “attempted-suicide”, “petty theft”, “incorrigibility”, “refusing to accept employment”. Medical reasons accounted for 208 deportations: “feeblemindedness”, “asthma”, “epilepsy”, “rheumatism”, “tuberculosis”, “arthritis”, “venereal disease”, “kleptomania”, and “foot trouble”. “Becoming a public charge” was the reason given for the deportation of sixty-one, of whom fifty-nine were sent along with their deported husbands, and two more with their husbands and children.45

  • 46 Ibid., “Non-Empire Settlement major problems dealt with between 1 January 1921 and March 31, 1934, (...)

61The Department had not expected these problems with the supposedly carefully screened and supervised Aftercare Agreement immigrants. It attempted to compare them with other single British women immigrants who had arrived in Canada between 1926 and the end of March 1934.46 This group produced 472 “problems” for the Department. Of these, 194 concerned “illegitimacy”, 38 “immorality”, 18 “criminal convictions”, 32 “bad conduct”, 124 “medical conditions or problems”, 18 had unemployed husbands (and thus were deported with them), and 48 were themselves unemployed. Of the total, 202 were deported and another 50 “returned” home by the Department. “Returned” home often was de facto if not de jure deportation, in cases where statutory causes might not exist, or where the person had been resident too long to be deportable, and he or she would consent to be sent back. Some returns were indeed voluntary, but it is clear that many, if not the majority, were voluntary only in the sense that consent had been given, sometimes under duress.

  • 47 Ibid., “Statement showing year of arrival of Empire Settlement problem cases which arose during th (...)

62In the Empire Settlement comparison group, by December 1932, of a total of 18, 528 Empire Settlement arrivals between 31 March 1926 and 31 March 1931, 377 had become problems. There were 120 cases of “illegitimacy” (19 deported, 7 “returned”). Two women had been pregnant on arrival in Canada. There were 52 cases of “immorality” (7 deported, 2 “returned”), and ten “criminal convictions” (5 deported). Sixty-one women had been noted guilty of “bad conduct” (11 deported, 2 “returned”). “Medical problems” numbered eighty (27 deported, 2 “returned”). A total of 45 were deported with their unemployed husbands. Seven themselves had become public charges, and two of these were deported. Of the total, 114 were deported and 22 “returned”.47

  • 48 Ibid., “Aftercare Report from 1 January 1926 to 31 March 1933,” not dated; this report includes th (...)

63A study of a slightly larger group of Empire Settlement arrivals produced 1,885 problem cases by the end of March 1933. There were 670 cases of “illegitimacy” (179 deported), 184 of “immorality” (67 deported), 95 “convictions” (69 deported), 313 cases of “bad conduct” (67 deported), 451 “medical problems” (248 deported), 108 deported with their unemployed husbands, and 64 “public charges” (10 deported). A total of 748 were deported, and a further 202 were “returned” home. Somewhat more than half of the immigrants identified by the Department as “problem cases” were deported in one way or another.48 There was a considerable increase in the rate at which the Department labelled these immigrants as “problem cases” by 1933: over 1,400 new “problems” arose in one year. One must speculate about the reasons for this increase: did the economic and social pressures of the Depression produce more real difficulties for these women, or were their experiences typical of domestic servant immigrants? Were the new “problem case” immigrants on the verge of gaining domicile, after which they would be harder to deport? Whatever the case, the Department used deportation as a solution for problems experienced by female as well as male immigrants in Canada.

  • 49 Ibid., “Major problem cases coming to the attention of the Department between 1 January 1926 and 3 (...)

64In 1936 the Department undertook a study to determine the success of the Aftercare Agreement programme. This report is useful as a summary of what did happen to those women who came over as domestics under Empire Settlement in the 1920s. By the end of March 1936, of the total of 18,970 arrivals, 2,189 had married, 402 had gone to the United States, 85 had died, 305 had become “re-established” and 1,356, or a total of twelve per cent of the 18,790 “girls” went back to the Old Country, by deportation and “voluntary” returns. Of the total Aftercare immigrants, 2,169 had constituted “major problems” for the Department. A total of 877 (forty per cent) had been legally deported. Another eighty deportations had been ordered but never executed.49

  • 50 Ibid., The following computations are based on the figures in this report.

65This breakdown of major problem cases reveals interesting data not only about the difficulties experienced by this group but also about the response of the Department to these difficulties. Of the 2,169 cases, 773 were deported for “illegitimacy”, 201 for “immorality”, 107 for “convictions”, 339 for “bad conduct”, 519 as “medical”, 135 “deported with husband”, and 95 as “public charges”.50 These cases show how the Department translated immigrants “problems” into legal deportations.

66These legal deportations were carried out under five statutory causes: “public charge” (690), “prohibited immigrant” (82), “insane” (29), “inmate of gaol” (61), “misrepresentation” (15). The reasons listed under these causes are illuminating.

  • 51 “Bad conduct” cases listed in 1934 gave these behaviours as examples: “Attempted suicide, petty th (...)

67Although “public charge” was the most frequently used statutory cause for these deportations, identical offences were used to build up a case under several different statutory headings. Only 2.9 per cent of public charge deportations were because of the woman’s own unemployment, 15.3 per cent were because of her husband’s unemployment. Those defined as “immoral”, bearing illegitimate children, deemed “mentally deficient”, arrested for “vagrancy” (even if they did not all serve sentences), with “venereal disease” or “tuberculosis”, or who lied about marital status, or were guilty of bad conduct (attempted suicide, petty theft, refusing to accept a job, being incorrigible), might be deported under any of the five legal headings.51 For these particular immigrants, at least, and probably for female immigrants in general, moral considerations played a significant role in determining whether or not the Department would allow them to remain in the country.



68Whatever the “real” reasons for these deportations, it is clear that this was a period of brilliant legalisms interspersed with petty illegalities. Factors secondary to the real reason for deportation were used to a hitherto unsurpassed extent to build a legal case for deportation for a statutory cause that might be quite peripheral to the real reason. The records of the deportation of the disabled, the ill or handicapped, the criminal, the immoral, and the unemployed or impoverished reveal indisputably that the Department manipulated the factors in a case to build up evidence to support deportations for legal causes that often had little to do with the reason the Department wanted to deport an immigrant. This was perfectly legal, and no more than good administrative sense, from the Department's perspective. Attempts by the courts to assure that the Department followed legal procedures helped to strengthen this tendency, but they did not create it. For the most part deportation took place out of public view, and almost entirely beyond the control of anyone but officials of the Department. The maturity of the Department as a bureaucracy had become increasingly visible in the 1920s. All of the skill that it had developed became necessary in the 1930s, when the activities of the Department became almost entirely centred around the deportation of the immigrants that it had brought into the country in previous years.


1 Public Archives of Canada (PAC) Record Group (RG) 76, File 563236, Blair to Winnipeg Commissioner, 18 November 1920; Blair to Gelley, 21 December 1920; Blair to Minister Calder, 6 December 1920.

2 Ibid., 18 November 1920.

3 Ibid., 6 December 1920.

4 Ibid., Vancouver Agent to Secretary Blair, 6 October 1921; Blair to Minister, 9 December 1922.

5 Ibid., Blair to Colonel Dennis, 10 May 1927.

6 Ibid., Commissioner to Fraser, 5 February 1929; Assistant Deputy Minister to Badgley, 15 September 1927.

7 Ibid., Deputy Attorney General to Vancouver Commissioner of Immigration, 6 January 1923; Deputy Minister of Immigration to Deputy Minister of Justice, 6 November 1923; Justice to Immigration, 10 November 1923.

8 Ibid., Winnipeg Commissioner of Immigration to Blair, 19 September 1922; Blair to Winnipeg, 22 September 1922.

9 Ibid., Blair to Vancouver Commissioner Jolliffe, 30 January 1924.

10 Ibid., Ottawa to Winnipeg Commissioner of Immigration, 8 November 1922; Blair to Director of Department of Soldiers, Civil Re-establishment, 29 December 1922.

11 Ibid., Blair to Amyot, 7 May 1921; Amyot to Blair, 10 May 1921.

12 Ibid., Memo to Blair, 17 May 1923 (my emphasis).

13 Ibid., Blair to staff, 21 May 1923.

14 Ibid., Commissioner of Immigration to Dr. D. A. Clarke, Assistant Deputy Minister, Department of Health.

15 Ibid., Division Commissioner Fraser to Jolliffe, “Memo, regarding cause of deportation,” 21 June 1928.

16 Ibid., Commissioner Jolliffe to Deputy Minister Egan, 26 June 1928.

17 Department of Immigration and Colonization, Annual Report, 1924; File 563236, Blair to Consul General of Poland, 13 February 1923.

18 Annual Report, ibid., 1924.

19 File 563236, Little to Montreal Agent, 2 November 1922; Blair, “Memo concerning conference with Department of Health re: deportation costs,” 13 November 1922. Health had agreed to advance funds to Immigration because the latter had not yet gotten an appropriation to pay for deportations done outside the provisions of the general Immigration Act. This was a temporary, makeshift measure, quite without significance here.

20 Ibid., Reid to Agent Regimbal, 4 January 1923.

21 From Annual Reports, 1925, 1926, and 1928, respectively.

22 See for example the 1924 Annual Report, p.44. That year from the Pacific Division there were 123 Chinese deported, and 116 deportations under the ONDA, only one of whom went to the U.S., the rest to “other countries”. The Division said that the OND was used to deport “undesirable chinamen” who had acquired Canadian domicile. There were 39,587 Chinese in Canada in 1921, according to the census; 23,533 in British Columbia (out of a total B.C. population of 524,582). See J. Morton, In the Sea of Sterile Mountains: A History of the Chinese in British Columbia, Vancouver, J.J. Douglas, 1974, pp. 237-241 for an account of the passage and implications of, and B.C. reactions to, the 1923 Chinese Immigration Act.

23 File 563236, Winnipeg to Commissioner Little, Ottawa, 14 March 1923.

24 Ibid., Whitton to Deputy Minister Egan, 15July 1929; Egan to Whitton, 16 August 1929 and 4 September 1929; Whitton to Egan, 2 October 1929.

25 See Emily Murphy’s The Black Candle (1921), on the prejudices of the latter group. On the OND see Elizabeth Comack, “The Origins of Canadian Drug Legislation,” in Thomas Fleming, ed., The New Criminologies in Canada. State, Crime, and Control, Toronto, Oxford, 1985.

26 File 563236, Scott to Winnipeg Office, 24 September 1915.

27 Ibid., Walker to Scott, 27 September 1915.

28 Mrs. K. A. Chiman, “State Guardianship of Young People,” Report of the International Congress of Women, Toronto, June 24-30, 1909, Vol. II, Toronto, National Council of Women of Canada, 1910, p. 362-3.

29 PAC Manuscript Group (MG) 281, Volume 13, “Reports of the Y.W.C.A. Immigration Committee, 1912-1916,” Report of June 11, 1914; Volume 37, Miss Falconer, “On Immigration in Canada,” “Our Unfolding Purpose”. Report of the World's Y.W.C.A., Stockholm, 1914, pp. 137-9.

30 Ibid., Volume XIII, No. 1, January 1914, pp. 53-5, 56. See also Suzann Buckley, “British Female Immigration and Imperial Development,” Hecate: Women’s Interdisciplinary Journal, January 1977, and Barbara Roberts, “A Work of Empire: Canadian Reformers and British Female Immigration,” in L. Kealey, ed., A Not Unreasonable Claim: Women and Reform in Canada, 1880's-1920's, Toronto, Women's Press, 1979.

31 Roberts, “A Work of Empire,” passim; see also Barbara Roberts, “Sex, Politics, and Religion: Female Immigration Workers in Conflict, Montreal 1880's-1920’s,” Atlantis, A Journal of Women’s Studies, Fall 1980; MG 281, Volume 14, “Immigration and Travellers’ Aid Committee Papers, “Meeting of the Y Immigration Committee, 23 February 1925, and Miss Burnham to Y worker, 20 March 1923. The Y decided that only trained workers could do follow-up work for purposes of “protection and prevention of exploitation,” so it was not practical to institute this system on a large scale. 10 April 1923.

32 Ibid., Meeting of the Y Immigration and Travellers’ Aid Committee, 2 February 1925; Burnham to Committee, 11 January 1926, 5 May 1926, and 10 September 1926; Committee Minutes, 4 October 1926 and 2 November 1927.

33 Roberts, “Sex, Politics and Religion,” and Buckley, “British Female Immigration.” See MG 281, ibid., Committee Minutes, 4 April 1927, 9 May 1927, and 10-11 October 1927.

34 RG 76, File 563236, Blair to Superintendent of Immigration for Canada, London, England, 7 December 1922; Report of Investigating Officer Munroe, Regina, 12 December 1922 and 12 January 1923.

35 Ibid., Blair to Accountant, 19 January 1923.

36 Ibid., Memo, 2 December 1927. The Calgary Agent went too far. He raided a bawdy house with the police, and “assumed the duties of a police constable.” He was criticized for being overzealous. The Winnipeg Commissioner complained to Ottawa that Department Officials should neither be “expected” nor “permitted” nor “encouraged” to do this sort of thing. Ibid., 3 March 1921.

37 File 434173, passim; Memo, 19 February 1937.

38 Ibid., “Report on minor problems under the Aftercare Agreement,” not dated, 1932; “Report on unmarried mother cases under the Empire Settlement Scheme,” not dated, 1933.

39 File 563236, Memo, Assistant Deputy Minister to Jolliffe, 29 June 1926; Macnaghten to Secretary Blair, 18 June 1928.

40 Ibid., Commissioner to Little, 7 July 1928.

41 Ibid., Blair to Macnaghten, 17 July 1928 and 18 July 1928.

42 Ibid., Macnaghten to Blair, 3 November 1928.

43 File 434173, “Report on unmarried mother cases...,” 1933; “Analysis of major problem cases coming to attention up to 31 December 1932 under the Aftercare Agreement,” not dated.

44 “Analysis of major problem cases coming to attention up to 31 December 1932 under the Aftercare Agreement,” not dated.

45 Ibid., “Causes for deportation of Empire Settlement women showing the contributing factors which necessitated deportation, to the end of March 1934,” not dated.

46 Ibid., “Non-Empire Settlement major problems dealt with between 1 January 1921 and March 31, 1934, for British women.” Not dated.

47 Ibid., “Statement showing year of arrival of Empire Settlement problem cases which arose during the fiscal year ending 31 March 1932,” not dated.

48 Ibid., “Aftercare Report from 1 January 1926 to 31 March 1933,” not dated; this report includes those who had arrived in January, February and March of 1926, after the advent of the Aftercare Agreement but before the beginning of fiscal 1926-27. This study differed from the one cited before in two respects: the latter included 262 immigrants and 18 “problems” from the January through March 1926 arrivals (out of the total of 1,885, and was based on problems arising for a period twelve months longer than the first study.

49 Ibid., “Major problem cases coming to the attention of the Department between 1 January 1926 and 31 March 1936,” not dated. By this date, all who had remained here would have satisfied the requirements for domicile (five years) and therefore could probably not be deported, unless perhaps it were shown that they had never been legally landed because they belonged to prohibited classes. Presumably the bulk of these immigrants deportable under these (in effect) retroactive exclusionary clauses of the Immigration Act had been deported by this date. See also “Standing of above problems as of 31 March 1936,” not dated.

50 Ibid., The following computations are based on the figures in this report.

51 “Bad conduct” cases listed in 1934 gave these behaviours as examples: “Attempted suicide, petty theft, incorrigible, refused to accept employment, etc.” Ibid., “Causes for deportation of Empire Settlement women to the end of March 1934, showing the contributing factors which necessitated deportation.”

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