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6 Can. J. Women & L. 85 (1993)
Women of Exceptional Merit: Immigration of Caribbean Nurses to Canada

handle is hein.journals/cajwol6 and id is 109 raw text is: Vol. 6

Women of 'Exceptional Merit':
Immigration of Caribbean Nurses to
Canada
© 1992 by Agnes Calliste
Dans ce texte, Agnes Calliste dtudie la politique d'immigration que le Canada a
applique aux infirmieres et aux aides-infirmires originaires des Antilles pendant
la pdriode industrielle d'apr~s-guerre et le baby-boom, c'est-a-dire de 1950 t
1962. L'auteure dniontre que le processus de contr6le de l'immigration itait
structurd en fonction de la race, de la classe sociale et du sexe. Contrairement
aux infirmidres blanches qui Aftaient admises au Canada comme risidentes
permanentes apres avoir satisfait aux criteres d'admissibiliti, les infirmieres des
Antilles itaient admises dt titre de <(cas de mirite exceptionneb. Autrement dit,
pour entrer au Canada d titre de risidente permanente, les infirmieres des Antilles
devaient avoir des compitences supirieures d celles des infirmieres blanches.
Cette difference dans l'application de la politique d'immigration a affermi la
subordination des infirmieres noires au sein d'une main-d'oeuvre infirmire d
laquelle on a imprim un caractere racial et sexuel.
This study examines Canada's immigration policy on Caribbean nurses and
nursing assistants during the post-war industrial and baby boom period, 1950 to
1962. It demonstrates that the process of immigration control was structured by
race, class, and gender. Unlike white nurses who were admitted to Canada as
permanent settlers on the basis of their general admissibility, Caribbean nurses
were admitted on the basis of their nursing qualifications and only as cases of
exceptional merit. Thus, in order for Caribbean nurses to enter Canada as
permanent settlers, they were required to have nursing qualifications which
exceeded those of white nurses. This differential immigration policy reinforced
black nurses' subordination within a racialized and gendered nursing labour force:
The author would like to thank the women and men whom she interviewed, Akua Benjamin,
Esmeralda Thornhill, and three anonymous reviewers for their useful comments.

1993

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