Spouse and partner immigration to Canada: History and current issues in Canadian immigration policy

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Spouse and partner immigration to Canada: History and current issues in Canadian immigration policy

Type de ressource: 

This research investigates the ways in which marriage migration, which was relatively insignificant in the early phases of post-War immigration, has become the object of intense state scrutiny and the site of political interventions in the past twenty years, as family-related migration became the main legal mode of entry in Western Europe, Canada and the United States (Kraler, 2010). Such interventions have taken different forms, and have become increasingly debated. Indeed, they seem to pit what many deem to be a fundamental principle in Western democracies, namely the right to family life (at least for established citizens), against calls and pressures for tightened migration policies. 

Although Canada was an immigration destination from as early as the colonial period, it did not enact its first immigration laws until the 19th century. After the British North America Act (1867) granted the country dominion status and a constitution, immigration was encouraged to increase Canada’s population and develop the economy, especially the agriculture sector. At that time, shipping and railway companies, as well as other private enterprises, played an important part in immigration policy. By the 1880s, racial theories developed in the 19th century had contributed to the exclusion of some immigrants, notably through the Chinese Immigration Act of 1885 (amended several times and then tightened in 1923). In the period of massive immigration between 1896 and 1914, nearly three million immigrants entered Canada. 

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