Department of Manpower and Immigration


The Department of Manpower and Immigration, created by the Government Organization Act of 1966, was the branch of the Canadian government responsible for administering immigration policies between 1966 and 1994. The measure consolidated various functions previously performed by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration and the Department of Labour and formed the basis for the structure of Canadian immigration management into the 21st century.
When Liberals were returned to office in 1963, they began systematically to analyze immigration guidelines, fearful of the substantial increase in unskilled immigrants. Determining that Canada’s future immigration policy should be closely tied to the country’s economic needs, the Liberals introduced a number of reforming measures, including the Government Organization Act. Most powers relating to immigrants as laborers would rest with the Manpower Division. According to the guiding theory of the reorganization, all employment services would be provided equally to all residents, both long established and new arrivals. As Freda Hawkins observed in Canada and Immigration: Public Policy and Public Concern, theoretically “it would make no difference whether a man arrived at a Toronto Canada Manpower Centre from Rome, Halifax, or Sudbury—he would have the same treatment.” In fact, this led to what one critic called a “twilight zone in the planning and development of services for immigrants to facilitate their adjustment to Canadian life.” Critics during the debate condemned the measure as a “grave error of national policy.” Nevertheless, the Government Organization Act became law on June 16, 1966. It created a Department of Manpower and Immigration and a Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, while putting matters of citizenship under the secretary of state. The Immigration Appeal Board Act, passed on March 23, 1967, established an appeal board completely independent of the new Department of Manpower and Immigration. In 1994 a further reorganization created the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), once again linking citizenship and immigration procedures in the same government department.

A–Z index