In the 1950s and 1960s, immigration bureaucrats played an important yet unacknowledged role in transforming Canada's immigration policy. Their perceptions and judgements about the admissibility of individuals influenced the creation of formal admissions criteria for skilled workers and family immigrants that continue to shape immigration to Canada. Bureaucrats emphasized not just economic utility, but also middle-class traits and values such as wealth accumulation, educational attainment, entrepreneurial spirit, resourcefulness and a strong work ethic. By making "middle-class multiculturalism" a basis of nation-building in Canada, they created a much-admired approach to managing racial diversity that has nevertheless generated significant social inequalities. Migration expert Jennifer Elrick will discuss insights from her forthcoming book examining the topic.
Jennifer Elrick is an assistant professor of sociology at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. Her research interests lie in the area of state classifications (in censuses and immigration policy) and their relationship to social stratification along the lines of race, gender, and social class. Her work is multi-national in scope, focusing on Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom.