Newfoundland and Labrador is considering apologizing for a head tax
once imposed on Chinese immigrants to the province.
Wednesday marks the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the $300
tax that was imposed on each Chinese person who immigrated to
John Ottenheimer says the province is considering whether to issue a formal apology for the Chinese head tax. (CBC)
More than 300 Chinese immigrants paid the tax before it was abolished
in 1949, when Newfoundland joined Confederation.
Gordon Jin, whose relatives were among the people forced to pay, says
it's time for the province to formally apologize for the tax.
“My grandfather was a head-tax payer – he came in 1911” said Jin.
“My father was a head-tax payer; he came in 1931. My uncle was a
head-tax payer as well, and my mom's older brother was a head-tax
The federal government is already preparing to apologize for the head
tax it collected from about 81,000 Chinese immigrants to the country
between 1885 and 1923.
Provincial Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs John Ottenheimer said
the request sounds reasonable. Jin says it's not enough for Ottawa to
apologize. His relatives
paid the tax to Newfoundland, not to Canada, so the province should
apologize, he says.
“It seems to me that that's an issue that has some credibility,” said
“I mean, we were a dominion prior to 1949 and this head tax was put in
place by Newfoundland prior to us joining Confederation.”
Ottenheimer said the provincial government is studying the issue. The
federal government will make its apology this summer.
CBC reporter Mark Quinn interviews Gordon Jin about the head tax imposed on Chinese immigrants to Newfoundland before 1949.
John's Morning Show host Jeff Gilhooly speaks with Intergovernmental
Affairs Minister John Ottenheimer about whether the province should
apologize for a head tax once imposed on Chinese immigrants.