The Jewish Immigrant Aid Society of Canada was organized into a national office in Montreal and regional offices in Winnipeg (Western Region), Toronto (Central Region) and Halifax (Eastern Region). The national office was responsible for directing and managing all the affairs of the organization, including defining national and international policy; administration of regional offices; national budget; fundraising; external relations with other organizations, such as the United Jewish Relief Agencies (UJRA) and Jewish Family & Child Services (JF&CS); and publicity. It also organized the annual meeting, special events and conventions.
Membership in JIAS was open to individuals, organizations or companies who paid an annual fee. General meetings of the membership were held at least once every two years, where reports were presented and considered, nominations and elections held for national officers and the national executive committee, policies, programs and problems discussed, and decisions taken.
The National Executive Committee of JIAS was composed of the following members: national president; three vice-presidents (the presidents of the Western, Central and Eastern regions), with the addition in the 1950s of a vice-president at large; three regional treasurers, eventually reduced to one national treasurer; secretary; and twelve members comprising four representatives from each region. In 1929 the ‘executive secretary’ position was renamed ‘executive director.’ According to the 1943 constitution, the executive was required to hold meetings at least three times a year, in alternate cities. In 1954 this was amended to twice a year.
During the early stages of JIAS's operations, it had to face the difficulty of being overstretched financially, as it sought to respond to and to change the often oppressive living conditions of new immigrants and the situation of those held in federal detention centres. The organization’s principled approach to immigrant welfare won JIAS much of its early success, as it became the preferred contact for government officials who had formerly dealt with numerous independent agencies, many of which had profited from the exploitation of desperate immigrants. This situation also profited the government, however, as the responsibility for establishing the priority of applications reverted increasingly to JIAS as it had to limit its appeals by the quotas imposed by the federal government.
JIAS was one of the founding organizations responsible for the establishment of the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) in 1978, which has since operated as a non-profit umbrella organization to coordinate the efforts of immigrant and refugee advocacy groups. JIAS continues to operate offices across Canada in Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Hamilton, London, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Windsor and Winnipeg. The JIAS National Office moved from Montreal to Toronto in 1989, with the appointment of Susan Davis to National Director, and is now located at 4580 Dufferin St., Suite 306, Toronto, Ontario.
Scope and Content
Sous-fonds consists of National Office records retained by the Toronto JIAS office as reference copies. Records include meeting minutes, speeches and reports from annual meetings, and the published annual reports produced from the annual meetings. The sous-fonds covers the years 1926 to 1982 and is divided into the following series: 1. National Executive meeting minutes; 2. National annual meeting proceedings; 3. National annual reports; 4. Publications; and 5. Photographs.
Jewish Immigrant Aid Services of Canada (creator)
Records in off-site storage; advance notice required to view.