Terminology and Abbreviations

This list includes terminology relating to immigration and abbreviations found in immigration records, such as passenger lists and border entry records.

Numbers found on immigration records might refer to a train ticket number, a passport number or an obsolete file number. Initials in margins were usually those of the immigration agent or medical examiner.

  • Admitted: admitted entry as a non-immigrant or as a returned Canadian.
  • Alien: a person who was not a British subject or a Canadian citizen.
  • BICA: British Immigration and Colonization Association.
  • Boys Training Scheme (1927): a cooperative arrangement between the federal and provincial governments to bring older British boys to Canada and train them for farm work for eventual placement with local farmers.
  • British Bonus: a commission paid by the Canadian government's Immigration Branch to steamship booking agents in the United Kingdom for each suitable immigrant who purchased a ticket to sail to Canada. The immigrants themselves did not receive a bonus.
  • CA: Church Army.
  • C of E (C of ES): Church of England.
  • CEA: Catholic Emigration Association.
  • CGEA: Canadian Government Employment Agent. These agents received commissions from the government for placing newly arrived immigrants with employers who were seeking labourers or domestics.
  • CJWOC: Canadian Jewish War Orphans Committee.
  • CIAS: Catholic Immigrant Aid Society.
  • CNR and CPR: : Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway. In addition to transporting immigrants by sea and rail, the CNR and CPR also recruited labourers for farm employment through their own colonization departments.
  • Continental Bonus: a commission paid by the Canadian government's Immigration Branch to steamship booking agents in European countries for each suitable immigrant who purchased a ticket to sail to Canada. The immigrants themselves did not receive a bonus.
  • Detained: not permitted to immediately enter the country, usually for medical reasons.
  • Domestics: young women trained in Britain to work as domestic help overseas.
  • Empire Settlement Act (ESA): Under the ESA the Canadian government offered assisted passage to young men and women, in the form of loans and reduced fares, to encourage the immigration of farm labourers and domestic workers.
  • File (Fyle) no.: a file originally contained within the Immigration Branch's old Central Registry Files series. Unfortunately, the files relating to individual immigrants were not retained.
  • GTR: Grand Trunk Railway.
  • Guide: written beside surnames on some 1925-1935 records. It refers to old guidelines used by the Immigration department when creating nominal indexes.
  • Harvesters: men recruited to assist Canadian farmers with harvesting on the Prairies.
  • IMM 1000: individual Record of Landing document in use from 1952 to 2003.
  • Immigrant: In 1911, an immigrant was defined as a person entering Canada with the intention of acquiring Canadian domicile.
  • Landed Immigrant: a person who has been legally admitted to Canada for permanent residence.
  • MV: Motor vessel (type of ship).
  • NABC: National Association of Boys Clubs.
  • Nat.: Naturalized or applied for naturalization.
  • North Atlantic Trading Company (NATC): ): a company contracted to find suitable immigrants, 1899-1910.
  • NCHO: National Children's Home and Orphanage.
  • Overseas Settlement Committee (OSC): the British government body that dealt with Empire migration dating from 1919.
  • P.C. (Privy Council): refers to amendments (Orders in Council) relating to federal government Acts, such as the Immigration Act. For example, PC920 related to the minimum amount of money an individual must have in their immediate possession in order to be allowed admittance into Canada.
  • Passenger List/Passenger Manifest: : list of names of passengers on board a ship. Starting in 1865, preprinted forms were provided by immigration authorities to the shipping companies. The ship's purser filled in the names and relevant details of the passengers before they disembarked at the port of arrival.
  • Permanent Resident Card: proof of permanent residence status, effective 2004.
  • RG76: Records of the Immigration Branch records held at Library and Archives Canada (Record Group 76).
  • Rejected: denied entry by an immigration official to enter Canada.
  • Released: released from detention and allowed to enter Canada.
  • Remittance man: a young British immigrant to Canada, usually a family's second son, who received a remittance or allowance from his family.
  • Ret'd Canadian: a returning Canadian resident.
  • RMS: Royal Mail Ship. Some passenger ships were authorized to transport mail.
  • SA: Salvation Army.
  • Sec. SS: Section and sub-section of the Immigration Act under which an individual’s entry was rejected.
  • Smith’s Permit: refers to an immigration official named Smith who gave permission for an individual to immigrate to Canada or to remain in Canada. It was likely John Obed Smith, who was the Assistant Superintendent of Emigration from 1908 to 1924. Previous research has been unable to locate any other information about the use of the term “Smith’s Permit/Card”.
  • SPCK: the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
  • SS.: Steamship.
  • Steerage: the least expensive accommodations on a passenger ship.
  • 3000 Families Scheme (1925-1928): Under the terms of the Empire Settlement Act, the Canadian government made land available to British immigrant farmers, while the British government advanced settlers funds for stock and equipment.
  • Transmigrant under Bond: This phrase was often stamped by British immigration officials on the passports of passengers who disembarked from European vessels and boarded trans-Atlantic ships in British ports. The bond likely refers to the guarantee between the shipping companies and the British government that the transmigrants were not remaining in Great Britain.
  • UC of C: United Church of Canada.
  • VDCK: Volksverein Deutsch-Kanadischer Katholiken/Volksverein Deutsch-Canadischer Katholiken, church-affiliated association that assisted Russian-German immigrants.
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