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Graphical element Home > Exploration and Settlement > Moving Here, Staying Here Français
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Banner: Moving Here, Staying Here. The Canadian Immigrant Experience
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A Depressing Period
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Alien Labour

by Geoffrey Ewen, Glendon College, York University

The end of the 19th century marked the beginning of a period of rapid economic and demographic growth in Canada. During these years, workers -- skilled and unskilled, male and female -- were frequently recruited from outside Canada, some directly by Canadian firms and their agents, others through the numerous employment agencies based in Canada, the United States, Great Britain, Europe and Asia. While the Canadian government's official focus was the immigration of agricultural settlers, it did little to discourage the recruitment of labourers and craft workers, since it saw these groups as necessary for the development of manufacturing, the exploitation of natural resources, and the rapid construction of railway lines.

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