Italians immigration in to Canada since 1497 has been creating attention among the native Canadians since time immemorial. During the World War II, most Italians allied with the Germans against the Canadians and this caused havoc and great enmity among them. They were discriminated against in many social economic activities especially job allocation and this triggered them to come with their own organizations and institutions in order to solidify and fight for their rights in Canada.
Italians created several organizations with time which were meant to give them cultural identity as well as room for social economic practices in order to solidify their roots in Canada. These institutions were also meant to voice their issues in places where they were facing discrimination especially in the job market and in businesses. Such institutions included “newspapers, churches, schools, associations and others commercial scene such as hotels, shops, boutiques” (Anon 11) and such like.
The reason as to why Italians created these institutions in Canada was due to their conservative nature in that they still held unto their clubs, rituals and customs when they migrated to Canada (Lacoveta 9). Some of the organizations and institutions created had mutual benefits to the Italians such as helping individuals during the time of illness, pain or death.
In 1961, Italians created a social institution called COSTI (Magocsi 803), which was used as a centre for Italian schools. This institution was created due to the effects of World War II whereby most of the established institutions were vandalized due to their fascist alliances (Mormino 22). This agency was meant to rehabilitate and retrain those who were adversely affected during the war. It also catered for Italian interests in the national politics.
Church was another important institution among Italian immigrants in Canada. Most native Italians were Roman Catholics and they did not drop their religious beliefs when they migrated to Canada.
However, some Italians used to believe in Madonna and saint cults alongside their commitment to the Roman Catholic Church, a practice that was not well received by the parish fathers. The church fathers also discouraged them from being involved with pagan influenced religious festivals that involved parades, picnics and games that were meant to honor patron saints (Lacoveta 9).
Other Italian organizations were meant to cater for their working conditions such as negotiating against exploitive wages. For instance, most of them were members of the Industrial Workers of the world and United Mine Workers of America.
Most Italians were viewed by their employers as poor and ignorant capitalists and consequently they were subjected to poor working conditions with exploitive wages, an action that triggered them to join such organizations in order to fight for their rights (Lacoveta 7). With time, Italians become significant players in the construction industry and they started hiring as well as acquiring leadership posts in the unions while the women obtained white collar jobs thus enabling them to own homes.
In conclusion, the base that the Italians have formed in Canada is due to their endurance in the process of creating institutions and organization that voice their needs. Today, Italians form a large percentage of Canada’s population whereby they have established themselves through permanent settlement in the region. If they did not come up with means of identifying themselves through such institutions and organizations, they would be unheard of in the regions especially after World War II.
Anon. The Italians in Montreal. Geography McGill, 2004. Web.
Lacoveta, Franca. Italians in Canada. J rank Organization, 2011. Web.
Magocsi, Paul. Multicultural History Society of Ontario. Encyclopedia of Canada’s People Toronto. Toronto: University of Toronto, 2009. Print.
Mormino, Gary & Scarpaci, Vincenza. The Journey of the Italians in America. Louisiana, USA: Pelican Publishing, 2008. Print.