Canadian Heritage department: Questions and Answers about Chinese Head Tax

Here are the official Q&A from the department of Canadian Heritage

Questions and
Answers

Q1: Why did the Government of Canada
apologize to the Chinese-Canadian community for the Chinese Head Tax in the
House of Commons on June 22, 2006?

The Government of Canada apologized for the
Head Tax in the House of Commons on June 22, 2006, to formally turn the page
on an unfortunate period in Canada’s
past.

The Government of Canada recognizes the stigma
and hardship experienced by the Chinese as a result of past legislation
related to the imposition of the Chinese Head Tax.  Although legally
authorized at the time, the Head Tax is inconsistent with the values
Canadians hold today.

This apology is not about liability today: it
is offered as a foundation for healing in the Chinese Canadian community,
which has endured such hardship and yet continues to make an invaluable
contribution to our great country. 

Q2: How did the Government of Canada
commemorate this historical event?

Following the apology statement by the Prime
Minister in the House of Commons, an acknowledgment event was held on
Parliament Hill. Simultaneous events were held in Vancouver
and Toronto with a direct video feed from Ottawa so that members
of the Chinese Canadian community who were unable to travel could participate
in the event remotely.

The Apology statement is available on the
website of the Department of Canadian Heritage at www.pch.gc.ca. Copies can also be requested
by calling 1-888-776-8584.

Q3: When will the government be
able to implement the distribution of symbolic individual ex-gratia payments,
and community and national recognition programs?

The specifics of each initiative are being
finalized.  I mplementation is anticipated to
begin in the fall of 2006. 

Symbolic Individual Ex-gratia
payments

Q4: Which Canadians are eligible
to receive the symbolic individual ex-gratia payments from the Government of Canada?

Living Chinese Head Tax payers and living spouses
of deceased payers are eligible to receive the symbolic individual ex-gratia
payments of $20,000.

Q5: Why is the Government of Canada
providing ex-gratia payments to the Chinese community if the Head Tax and
immigration restriction measures were legal at the time of application?

Despite Canada’s reputation as one
of the world’s most inclusive and diverse societies, our history
includes government actions, which, although legally authorised
at the time, were discriminatory and inconsistent with the values that
Canadians hold today.

Q6: How did the Government of Canada arrive
at the amount of $20,000 for individual symbolic ex-gratia payments to
Chinese Head Tax payers and spouses?

During discussions with the Chinese-Canadian
community, this approximate amount was a common suggestion for symbolic
ex-gratia payments to living Head Tax payers or their surviving
spouses.  The payment will be symbolic; it is not compensation.

Q7: Who is eligible for a symbolic
ex-gratia payment? How will eligibility be verified? When will applicants be
able to apply for their ex-gratia payment? How do I apply for a symbolic
ex-gratia payment?

Information on eligibility, verification, and
the application process will be made available once finalized by the
Government of Canada on www.pch.gc.ca or
by calling 1-888-776-8584.

Q8: What is the total cost to the
Government of Canada
of providing symbolic ex-gratia payments to living Head Tax payers or their
surviving spouses?

Actual costs will depend on the number of
applicants deemed eligible for symbolic ex-gratia payments. 

Q9: Will the ex-gratia payments be
taxable ?

No, the Canada Revenue Agency has confirmed
that ex-gratia payments will not be taxable.

Community Historical
Recognition Program

Q10: What is the purpose of the
Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP) announced by the Government
of Canada
on June 22, 2006?

Through the Community Historical Recognition Program , the Government will fund eligible
community-based commemorative and educational projects that promote awareness
of the Head Tax, the immigration prohibition, and other discriminatory
wartime measures and/or immigration restrictions. Eligible projects could
include initiatives such as monuments, historically significant plaques and
local exhibits. 

Q11: What is the status of the
Acknowledgement, Commemoration and Education (ACE) Program?

The Community Historical Recognition Program
(CHRP) replaces the ACE program and will provide funding for community-based
projects linked to wartime measures and/or immigration restrictions.

Q12: Will the Government implement
the Agreements-in-Principle (AIPs) signed with the
Chinese, Italian and Ukrainian Canadian communities?

Through the Community Historical Recognition
Program (CHRP), the government will be able to honour
the specific funding identified in the Agreements signed with the Chinese,
Italian and Ukrainian Canadian communities.

Q13: How much money has been
allocated to the Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP)?

The Government of Canada has allocated $24
million for the Community Historical Recognition Program.

Q14: Who is eligible to access
funding for the Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP)?

Any ethno-cultural community that experienced
immigration restrictions or was impacted by wartime measures will be eligible
to access project funding under the Community Historical Recognition Program . More details on eligibility will be available at
a future date.

Q15: When will organizations be
able to apply for the Community Historical Recognition Program? 

The Government of Canada is finalizing all
program details.  More information will be available at a future date.

National Historical
Recognition Program

Q16: What is the purpose of the
National Historical Recognition Program (NHRP) announced by the Government of
Canada
on June 22, 2006?

The National Historical Recognition Program
will help educate all Canadians, in particular youth, about the discrimination
and hardship faced by the Chinese and other communities impacted by wartime
measures and/or immigration restrictions and the significance of these
experiences for the communities in question.  This program will be
implemented by the federal government and include initiatives such as the
development of Public Service announcements, educational tools and access to
web-based archival information.  Many initiatives will be developed in
partnership with educators, historians and private and/or not-for-profit
institutions.  

Q17: How much money has been
allocated to the National Historical Recognition Program (NHRP)?

The Government of Canada has allocated $10
million in new funding for the NHRP.

Q18: Who is eligible to access
funding under the National Recognition Program (NHRP)?

This is not a grants and contribution
program.  This is funding for the development of federal initiatives
many of which will be done in partnership with educators, historians and
private and/or not-for-profit institutions. More details will be available at
a future date.

Q19: Is it possible to get a video
recording of the apology in the House and of the speeches at the Ottawa event?

Individuals or groups can request a videotaped
copy of the Prime Minister's statement in the House of Commons by filling out
a request form. Contact the House of Commons Broadcasting Services by
telephone at (613) 996-1631 or by email at hawwad@parl.gc.ca
OR ls-sj@parl.gc.ca. Tapes are
available in VHS and Beta formats only (no DVD). They are provided free of
charge.

The Apology statement is available on the
website of the Department of Canadian Heritage at www.pch.gc.ca  Copies can also be
requested by calling 1-888-776-8584.

Q20: How can I get more
information about these announcements?

Information on the Chinese Head Tax apology
and related announcements will be provided at www.pch.gc.ca
or by calling 1-888-776-8584.

 

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Date modified: 2006/06/22

Important
Notices

http://www.pch.gc.ca/progs/multi/redress-redressement/faq_e.cfm?nav=2

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