It's a historic day in Canada today, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologizes for the racist head tax.
of our ancestors would have paid the head tax, levied only against
ethnic Chinese when they immigrated to Canada between 1885 to 1923. In
1923, The Chinese Exclusion Act lasted until 1947.
Tomorrow the Government of Canada will apologize for the racist head tax.
BC Coalition of Head Tax Payers, Spouses and Descendants is asking for
One Certificate, One payment. This is fair as many sons and daughters,
as well as grandchildren all suffered the economic, cultural and social
challenges created by both head tax and Chinese Exclusion Act from 1885
to 1947, and beyond.
Burrard & Georgia St.
great-great-grandfather Rev. Chan Yu Tan arrived in Canada in 1896, but
was possibly exempt as a missionary. This exemption would not have
applied for his children, nor the many family members that came later,
nor the people that our ancestors married, such as my great-grandmother
Kate (Chan) Lee's husband Ernest Lee, nor my grandmother Mabel (Lee)
Mar 's husband Sonny Mar. My father's father Wong Wah arrived in 1886
and would have also had to pay for my grandmother Wong Chan Sze.
How to register head tax certificates.
can go to the websites listed below for head tax registration with
community groups. This information will be presented to the Government
to help identify head tax certificate information. It is NOT official
BC Coaltion for Head Tax Payers, Spouses and Descendants.
Ontario Coalition for Head Tax Payers and Families
Vancouver Public Library is now inundated with patrons seeking head tax information. Click on http://www.vpl.ca/ccg/
Head Tax Information – info sheets are available in CHINESE and
For stories on head tax issues collected and/or written by Todd Wong:
Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC