Deportation in the Depression

30 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2010

See all articles by Shin Imai

Shin Imai

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Date Written: 1981


Since the turn of the century, immigrants have lived under a legal regime radically different from that of other Canadians. They could be deported for acts which would attract no penalty for citizens. The general acceptance of deportation laws and procedures may, in large part, be attributed to the frequent promotion of the idea that these laws are merely an extension of the process of selecting suitable immigrants, and not a punishment of a resident of Canada. One occasion in which this idea was promoted was during the Depression when immigration laws were used to deal with unemployed persons and poltical opponents of the government of the day. At this time, a perhaps 20-25 percent of the population was vulnerable to deportation and 28,000 people were deported. It was the largest scale violation of civil liberties in Canadian history.

Keywords: Deportation, Immigration, Communists, Unemployment, R.B. Bennett, Depression, J.S. Woodsworth, Naturalization

Suggested Citation

Imai, Shin, Deportation in the Depression (1981). Queen's Law Journal, Vol. 7, No. 1, p. 66, 1981. Available at SSRN:

Shin Imai (Contact Author)

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3

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