Royal Commission to Inquire into the Immigration of Italian Labourers to Montreal and the Alleged Fraudulent Practices of Employment Agencies fonds

Available reels: 1

Document Record

Canada. Royal Commission on Italian Immigration.
Royal Commission to Inquire into the Immigration of Italian Labourers to Montreal and the Alleged Fraudulent Practices of Employment Agencies fonds
Fonds de la Commission royale d'enquêter sur l'immigration de journaliers italiens à Montréal et sur les procédés frauduleux des bureaux de placement
RG 33 99
Document source
Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
This commission was mandated to inquire into and to report upon the circumstances regarding Italian labourers who had come to the City of Montreal from other countries in early 1904, the persons engaged directly or indirectly in promoting their immigration, and the means and methods adopted in bringing about such immigration. The reason this commission came about was because the federal government started receiving complaints about the influx of a large number (at least some 6,000 or so) of unemployed Italian labourers to Montreal. They had been attracted to the city with the promise that they would find immediate employment in railway construction. An agent named Antonio Cordasco advertised in La Patria Italiana and Corriere del Canada, two Italian newspapers published in Montreal, that 10,000 Italian labourers were needed for employment in Canada. Cordasco had copies of these newspapers sent to Italy and he also made arrangements with agents in Italy and in the United States to assist him in getting the required number. However, many of these immigrants, when they arrived, found that there was no work available at all, with the remote possibility that they would be considered for employment by a railway executive if they paid a fee to Cordasco. The lack of work caused considerable distress to the immigrants, and it also caused dissatisfaction among the working classes of Montreal where the labour market was severely overcrowded. As this dissatisfaction grew, the Government of Canada, in June 1904, decided to enlarge the mandate of Judge John Winchester, who was already investigating the employment practices of the railway industry, by creating a Royal Commission. Hearings of the commission were held in Montreal from June 30 to July 26, 1904. More than 60 exhibits were filed with the commission. The findings appear to have been presented in 1905.
These fonds consist of the correspondence of Judge Winchester, Antonio Cordasco, Alberto Dini, etc.; newspaper clippings and copies of La Patria Italiana, Corriere del Canada and Giuseppe Garibaldi; booklets of the Italian Immigration Aid Society, advertisements, which include the sailing dates of passenger vessels, and related documents.
There is a list of subject files at the start of microfilm reel T-3473.