Government Funding for BICA

Negotiations for Government Funding

Government funding was crucial to the survival of the British Immigration and Colonization Association.  As early as 1924-1925, BICA had financial difficulties and approached the Department of Immigration and Colonization for a grant of $1,500 to cover a bank overdraft.  

During the Winter and Spring of 1926, meetings and communications took place between the Department of Colonization’s Minister and staff and BICA representatives led by then-President, Dr. James Smyth.  The main subject of negotiations was how much funding the Association would receive from both the Dominion and British Governments and how much BICA would be responsible for raising. 

Early on, Dr. Smyth threatened to close down operations and hand over all inspection work to the Dominion Government if BICA didn’t receive sufficient funding.   Dr. Smyth's tone throughout the negotiations appears to have been confrontational and demanding.

The Overseas Settlement Committee balked at contributing to BICA’s finances because in their opinion, the “Society had not shown competence to handle the work in a proper manner”.

A 5-year agreement

After much back and forth the Association agreed to operate a farm in Eastern Ontario as well as the hostel if the Department of Immigration and Colonization would contribute $5000, BICA would attempt to raise the same and the British Government’s Oversea Settlement Office would contribute a maximum of $10,000 dependent on the number of boys moved.  

BICA would continue to be responsible for selecting satisfactory positions for the boys and making adjustments in difficulties or unsatisfactory situations.  It was first agreed that the Dominion Government would take over inspections of the boys after placement and send a report to the Association on each inspection.  BICA would be required to make a detailed annual report to the Secretary of State due on the 31st of March yearly.

The 5-year agreement was finally completed September 30, 1927 and back-dated to April 1927. In the end it was BICA who was required to provide 3 years of aftercare for all boys brought to Canada.

In accordance with the agreement, a 100-acre farm at Ste. Anne de Bellevue was purchased and renovated as a training farm for boys on Ste. Marie Road near Macdonald Agricultural College, (now Macdonald Campus of McGill University).  

With funding in place and a farm and a hostel at their disposal, BICA intensified its advertising for British boys with their “Keep Canada British” pamphlet. 

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