Strong and Free

From 1955 to 1967, Canada ran a recruitment initiative known as the West Indian Domestic Scheme. Young women from English-speaking Caribbean countries could come to Canada as domestic workers. These women were crucial to the economic and cultural growth of the country, and the Canadian idea of multiculturalism was built, in part, on the backs of these women.
In this episode, Eva Bailey, mother of host Garvia Bailey, remembers her experience coming to Canada shortly after the scheme. We also speak with associate professor Karen Flynn, who explores the feminist revolution as well as the social mobility this immigration scheme encouraged.

Show Notes

Strong and Free is produced by Historica Canada and Media Girlfriends.
This episode was written by Garvia Bailey.
Senior producers are Garvia Bailey and Hannah Sung. 
Sound design and mix by Gabbie Clarke and David Moreau. 
The Media Girlfriends team is rounded out by Josiane Blanc, Lucius Dechausay, Jeff Woodrow, and Nana aba Duncan, the founder of Media Girlfriends.
Thank you to Eva Bailey and to our script consultant, Karen Flynn, associate professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. 
Special thanks to the Bailey family. 
The 1959 clip you heard in this episode was produced by The Calvin Company for a McGraw Hill Textbook series in a video called The Problem With Women.   

Fact-checking by Amy van den Berg. 
Additional reading:

·       Black History in Canada: 1960 to Present
·       West Indian Domestic Scheme
·       Jean Augustine 
·       Caribbean Canadians 
Follow Historica Canada on Twitter and Instagram, and TikTok @HistoricaCanada and on Facebook at 

What is Strong and Free?

Tracing stories from the earliest Black settlers to recently arrived Canadians, Strong and Free captures just a few of the crucial stories of Black Canadians thriving and contributing to building this country.

Listen to Strong and Free, a six-part podcast from Historica Canada, produced by Media Girlfriends. Because Black history is Canadian history.