The immigration regulations introduced in 1967 established new standards for assessing potential immigrants and determining admissibility. According to the new provisions, independent immigrants were assigned points in specific categories relating to their ability to successfully settle in Canada.
Criticisms of the 1966 White Paper on Immigration prompted the Liberal government to conduct a further review of immigration policies. A task force was appointed to develop selection criteria that objectively regulated admissions procedures. The government hoped new regulations would eliminate the remaining elements of discrimination from Canadian immigration policy and reduce the discretionary power of immigration officials.
Based on the recommendations of the task force, a points system was established in which potential immigrants were given a score up to a set maximum in the following nine categories: education and training; personal character; occupational demand; occupational skill; age; pre-arranged employment; knowledge of French and English; the presence of a relative in Canada; and employment opportunities in their area of destination. Individuals receiving 50 points or more out of a possible 100 would be admitted as independent immigrants. While this process of assessment improved the objectivity of admissions procedures, immigration officials retained some discretion in assessing points for personal character and approving or denying admission in special cases.
The new regulations created three different categories of immigrants: independent, nominated and sponsored. Immediate relatives of Canadian citizens and permanent residents qualified as sponsored immigrants and were not subject to the categories of assessment developed for independent applicants. However, more distant relatives now had to be nominated and undergo evaluation according to five of the categories: education and training; personal character; occupational demand; occupational skill; and age. The regulation of nominated relatives allowed the government to assert control over the sponsorship system in a non-discriminatory fashion.
Also included in the new policy was a provision allowing visitors to apply for immigrant status while already in Canada. If an applicant was denied, they could appeal to an immigration appeals board (IAB). The high volume of appeals brought to the IABs created a backlog of cases and individuals could often remain in Canada for a number of years while waiting for their case to be heard.
After the implementation of this policy, immigration from countries in Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa increased significantly.
Library and Archives Canada. “Immigration Act, Immigration Regulations, Part 1, Amended” RG2-A-1-a, volume 2380, PC1967-1616, August 16 1967
- Triadafilos Triadafilopoulos, “Dismantling White Canada: Race, Rights and the Origins of the Points System,” in Wanted and Welcome? Policies for Highly Skilled Immigration in Comparative Perspective, ed. Triadafilos Triadafilopoulos (New York: Springer, forthcoming).
- Ninette Kelley and Michael Trebilcock, The Making of the Mosaic: A History of Canadian Immigration Policy (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998), 360.
- Kelley and Trebilcock, 359.
- Valerie Knowles, Forging our Legacy: Canadian Citizenship and Immigration, 1900-1977 (Ottawa: Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2000), 84.
- Reg Whitaker, Canadian Immigration Policy since Confederation (Ottawa: Canadian Historical Association, 1991), 19.