DOI: 10.17721/2521-1706.2021.11.3

Olga Sukhobokova

Ph.D. (History), Associate Professor

Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Kyiv, Ukraine

ORCID logo

Researcher ID: W-1566-2019

The article examines Canadian immigration policy toward Ukrainians in the 1910s-1930s. At this time, following the tumultuous Ukrainian immigration organized by W. Laurier’s government, subsequent Canadian governments (Robert Borden, Arthur Meighen, Mackenzie King, Richard Bennet) restricted immigration from Eastern Europe, including from Ukrainian lands. The aim of the article is to analyze the main approaches of Canadian governments during this period to the immigration of Ukrainians, the formation of appropriate legislation and practice.

Research methods. General scientific principles, interdisciplinary approaches (history, law, sociology) and special historical methods, in particular comparative and retrospective analysis, are used. They were used to analyze the origins and political and legal rationale for changes in Canadian immigration law and their implementation in practice. Emphasis is placed on the attitude of Canadian politicians and society to East Slavic, including Ukrainian, immigration, and its influence on official government policy.

The scientific novelty of the study is to consider Canada’s immigration policy towards Ukrainians in the 1910s and 1930s in terms of its political and economic development, using mainly Canadian English-language sources and literature.

Conclusions. Objective domestic and foreign policy circumstances due to the First World War and the economic development of Canada (the transition from agro-industrial to industrial-agrarian economy) had a significant impact on the formation of immigration policy of the government of R. Borden, along with the theoretical concepts of the Conservatives. It was they who played a leading role in determining the position of Ukrainian immigrants not only on the conservative government of R. Borden (1911–1920), but also remained in power under the liberal government of Mackenzie King. Despite some positive changes for Ukrainian immigrants in the 1920s, the Great Depression in the mid-1930s virtually halted the flow of immigration from Ukrainian lands. However, even under these circumstances, Canada remained one of the priorities for Ukrainians, and in the interwar period became the leader among American countries in the number of admitted Ukrainian immigrants.

Key words: immigration, Ukrainian Diaspora in Canada, immigration policy, Canada, R. Borden, Mackenzie King.

Submitted: 16.01.2021

Full text


  1. Lazebnyk, S. & Leshchenko, L. et al. (1991). Foreign Ukrainians: an enchiridion. – Кyiv: Ukraine. [In Ukrainian].
  2. Zastavny, F. D.(1991). Ukrainian diaspora: Resettlement of Ukrainians in foreign countries. Lviv: World. [In Ukrainian].
  3. Kravchuk, P. (1991). Fifty years of service to the people. To the history of the Ukrainian national press in Canada. Toronto: Ukrainian life. [In Ukrainian].
  4. Makar, V. Yu. (2006). Sociopolitical integration of Ukrainians into the polyethnic society of Canada. Chernivtsi: Prut. [In Ukrainian].
  5. Sukhobokova, O. & Morozova, A. (2013). Immigration policy of Canada and Ukrainian immigration in 1914–1939.Ukrainian dimension. International collection of informational, educational, methodical articles and materials from Ukraine and the diaspora, 12, 16-22. [In Ukrainian].
  6. A hundred years of immigration to Canada 1900–1999 (n.d). Canadian Council for refugees. [In English].
  7. Avery, Dоnald. (1979). «Dangerous Foreigners»: European Immigrant Workers and Labour Radicalism in Canada, 1896–1932. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Limited. [In English].
  8. English, John R. (n. d). Wartime Elections Act. The Canadian Encyclopedia. [In English].
  9. Gerus, O.  & Rea, J. (1985).Ukrainians in Canada. Canadian Historical Society (Ethnic Groups of Canada). [Іn French].
  10. Green, A. & Green,  (2004). The Goals of Canada’s Immigration Policy: a historical perspective. Canadian Journal of Urban Research, 13 (1), 102-139. [In English].
  11. Johnson, K. (2017). Demographic Engineering: Post-War Canadian Immigration Advertising and Scottish Migration, 19191929. PhD thesis, University of Colorado at Boulder. [In English].
  12. Kelley, N. & Trebilcock, М. (2010). The Making of the Mosaic: A History of Canadian Immigration Policy. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division. [In English].
  13. Luciuk, L. (1988). A Time for Atonement. Canadas First National Internment Operations and the Ukrainian Canadians 19141920.[In English].
  14. Makarenko, J. (2010). Immigration Policy in Canada: History, Administration and Debates. [In English].
  15. Mitchell, B. (2003). International historical statistics: the Americas, 1750–2000. New York : Palgrave Macmillan. [In English].
  16. Multicultural Сanada Migration. (n. d). Multi Culti Canada. [In English].
  17. Railway Agreement, 1925. Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 2.[In English].