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History of Immigration in Canada - Timeline Assignment

By Ashutosh Agarwal
Apr.4, 2015

Chinese Head Tax-1855

In 1855 the government put a special tax on Chinese immigrants in hopes of reducing the amount of Chinese
immigrant entering Canada. The tax at that time was $50.The tax would later increase greatly preventing
families from being together. In 1903 the tax was raised to $500/person to eliminate Chinese immigration.
However employers needed cheap labour and paid the tax for workers. The workers didn't get the opportunity
to be joined by their families. This created a male Chinese society. In 2006 the government apologized for the
head tax.

A head tax receipt

Komagata Maru-May 23, 1914

The Komagata Maru took off from Hong Kong carrying 376 passengers arrived in Burrard Inlet, Vancouver.
The passengers were all British subjects, who were challenging the Continuous Passage regulation. Due to
challenging the regulation the ship was denied docking and after 2 months the ship was escorted out of the
harbor by the Canadian military. Upon entering India nineteen passengers were killed by gunfire and others
imprisoned. In 2008 the government apologized for the incident but the apology was not accepted.
Passengers aboard the ship

Internment of Ukrainian Canadians- 1914-1920(WW1)

During World War 1 the Canadian government interned 8579 enemy aliens into interment camps. Many of
these aliens were civilians who were Ukrainian or had Ukrainian decent. Those not in camps were forced to
carry identity papers and report regularly to local police stations. The government forced many into working on
massive project such as the development of Banff National park. The internees has their wealth taken away,
but were getting paid 25 cents per day. The internees were also denied their rights and privileges during the

Ukrainian internees at camp

Internment of Italian Canadians- 1941

After Italy declared war Canada began arresting Italian Canadians, seizing property, and revoking rights.
Many were sent to internment camps for the entire war. Those who were not sent to camps were
photographed, fingerprinted and had to report to the RCMP monthly. Businesses were ruined, families
started to become poor, entire ethnic groups were condemned. After the war many Italian Canadian began
to hide their ethnicity, move to places so they could live by themselves and stayed away from those who
had moved to Canada after the war.

A sketch of camp Petawawa

Internment of Japanese Canadians- 24 February, 1942

The attack on Pearl Harbor created an explosion of anger and fear towards Japanese Canadians. The
RCMP began arresting suspected operative, impounding ships, moving families from their houses to
camps, and shutting down Japanese schools and newspapers. The camps had no barbed wires, running
water or electricity. At the war the Japanese were given two choices: go back to Japan or head east of the
Rockies. Many went back to war-torn Japan while others headed east.

A group of children on a train to an internment camp

Immigration Act-1976
The Immigration Act represented a significant change in Canadian immigration. It was the first act to clearly
outline the fundamentals, define refugees as a class and impose responsibility on the government to plan
for future immigration. Under the act three classes were recognized: immigrants selected on the points
system, a family class for the immediate family of citizens and permanent residents, and refugees. The act
also helped in creating a list of things preventing someone from entering.

A picture of the Immigration Act 1976

Creation of Immigration categories-1976

The immigration act also created the first immigration categories: The independent class, the humanitarian
class, the family class and the assisted relative class. The independent class was for individuals applying
for themselves. The humanitarian class was for refugees and those in fear of persecution. The family class
was for the immediate family members of those who live in Canada. The assisted relative class was for the
distant relatives of those who live in Canada and have some of the independent requirements. In 1980 the
business class was added for those were willing to bring financial capital to Canada.

An advertisement for the skilled worker category

Refugee being added as an immigration category-1976

In 1976, the government introduces a new immigration act which included the refugee category. The
refugees are defined by the UN and those in fear of persecution. The refugee category allows Canada to
fulfil it commitment as a member of the UN who was at the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.
Around 11 percent of immigrants arrive under the refugee and humanitarian class. Canada has 2 major
refugee categories: resettled refugees and those who make claims within Canada. Resettled refugees are
those who are sponsored abroad by the government, UN or private organizations. Canada has a longstanding humanitarian tradition of resettling refugees.
Canada's immigration minister welcoming refugees
at a ceremony

Singh decision- April 3, 1985

Individuals from India tried to claim the status of refugee and were denied it. According to the government
the individuals had no status in their country they were not status to the act. The issue was taken to the
Supreme Court where the court allowed the appeal and found that their rights were violated and that the
act does apply to them. The case was a big deal because denying the status of refugee to the claimant
could be a violation of the Canadian charter of rights and freedoms. Since then all those that claim refugee
statuses have a full oral hearing before bodies or civil servants.

A 25tth anniversary picture of the Singh decision

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act-2002

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IPRA) was passed in 2002.It replaces the Immigration act of
1976. The act tightened the eligibility requirements for immigrants and refugees. It also allows the
Canadian governments to arrest, detain, or deport immigrants on the suspicion that they may be a security
threat. It also makes sure that refugees are permitted to make claims in their country of entry. The act also
allows those who are married to bring their partners to Canada.

A picture of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act