The following is a Government of Canada Press Release
Ottawa, January 26, 2010 — In response to the unanimous support for Member of Parliament Phil McColeman’s motion in the House of Commons, the Government of Canada has designated 2010 the Year of the British Home Child, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.
Designating 2010 as the Year of the British Home Child is a meaningful way to acknowledge this chapter of Canadian history,” said Minister Kenney. “The Government of Canada recognizes the hardships suffered by British Home Children and their perseverance and courage in overcoming those hardships. Over the next year, the Government of Canada will honour the great strength and determination of this group of child immigrants, and reflect on the tremendous contributions made by former Home Children and their descendants to the building of Canada.”
From 1869 until the late 1940s, around 100,000 children were brought to Canada from the United Kingdom by religious and philanthropic organizations and sent to live with Canadian families, often as farm labourers or domestic servants under the United Kingdom’s Child Migration Scheme. These children were known in Canada as the Home Children.
Throughout 2010, the Government of Canada will encourage Canadians to learn more about this period of our history. In September, Canada Post will issue a commemorative stamp in honour of the legacy of former British Home Children in Canada. Further activities are being developed to mark the Year of the British Home Child.
“So little is known about this important chapter in Canadian history,” said Phil McColeman, Member of Parliament for Brant. “Many of the Home Children faced hardships and adversity, but went on to become contributing members of our society. By proclaiming 2010 as the Year of the British Home Child, our Government is taking steps to ensure that their experiences and perseverance are honoured and commemorated.”
It is estimated that between 3 and 4 million Canadians are directly descended from former Home Children.