Some immigrants to Canada were sent back to their home country. Some were refused entry when they arrived. Others were deported later after they had lived in Canada for some time.
On this page
Before you start
Gather information such as:
- approximate year of birth
- country of birth
- place of residence in Canada
- approximate years of arrival and deportation
Places to look
There was no central register of deportees until the 1960s. Before that, few files relating to individual deportees still exist. Library and Archives Canada (LAC) holds some historical government records relating to deportation dating from 1893 to the mid-1900s. Some include information about individuals or groups of people being deported.
You can find LAC records in these archival Record Groups:
- Immigration Branch (RG76)
- Department of Citizenship and Immigration (RG26)
- Departmental of External Affairs (RG25)
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RG18)
- Department of Justice (RG13)
To search for records, follow these steps:
- Go to Collection Search.
- Select Advanced Search.
- In the Database field, select Collections and Fonds.
- Under Specific terms, select Archival reference, and enter the fonds reference number, for example RG76 (optional)
In the Any of these words field, enter a surname and try keywords such as:
- deportation and deported
- extradition and extradited
- undesirable and undesirables (this was a term often used in the past to refer to deportees)
- insane (older records may use this term)
Examples of the types of records you might find:
- L. Flett Miles, undesirable (indigent), 1909 (RG76, volume 556, file 807021, microfilm C-10638)
- Party of Bulgarians to be deported by Allan Line (lists) 1907 and 1908 (RG76, volume 484, file 745964-Allan Line, microfilm C-10418)
- Gordon Melville Sinclair - Chatham, New Brunswick - Case of Father Patrick O'Connor fighting against deportation, 1928 (RG13-A-2, volume 318, file 1928-133)
- Denied admission into Canada at the border or a sea port
Returned to home country after admission into Canada. People could be deported for reasons such as:
- financial, for example the person did not have money to support themselves (“vagrant” and “indigent” “likely to become a public charge” were some of the terms used in older records)
- medical, for example a physical or mental disability or illness (the term “insane” was used in many older records)
- criminal activity
- being an anarchist or a Communist agitator
In Collection Search:
- If you don’t find any records when you search by a name, try your search without the person’s name.
- If a file title from RG76 includes the word lists, it means the file includes lists, correspondence, or other information about individual deportees.
In immigration records:
- Sometimes you'll find notations showing a person was rejected on passenger lists (1865 to 1935) and border entry lists (1908 to 1935). Separate lists of rejected persons are often found in the border entry lists from 1908 to 1918.
- Some passenger lists and border entry records include a notation beside a person’s name with an immigration department file number. Some of those files related to deportation. Nearly all these files were later destroyed.
In the passenger lists and border entry lists for the years 1925 to 1935, the reason for deportation or rejection was recorded by the use of abbreviations that refer to the Immigration Act. A common example is the abbreviation PC695 Sec3 ssJ. This means that the person was refused entry under Order-in-Council PC695, Section 3, Sub-section j.
- Section 3 of the Immigration Act related to prohibited classes.
- Sub-section j referred to people who were considered likely to become a public charge.
- Sub-section T referred to those considered to be illiterate.
- For information about PC183, PC695 and PC1957, see Order-in-Council PC 1931-695, 1931.
You can consult our Aurora catalog to find publications on this subject. Use the keywords “Canada”, “deportation” and “history”. Here is an example:
Whence they came : deportation from Canada, 1900-1935
Access the records
If you find a record of interest, there may be a digital image. Some of these are available through Collection Search. Others, particularly digitized microforms, are available through Héritage.
References in Collection Search show if a record is open (access code 90) or restricted (access code 32). To find the access code in an item description, click on Ordering and Viewing Options, then Conditions of access.
If the item is restricted, use the ATIP tool to request a copy.
For records that are not digitized and not restricted, you'll need to see them in person. If you can't visit us in person, you can order copies or hire a researcher.
To find out if there is still a record for someone who was deported from 1960 onwards, contact Access to Information and Privacy at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).