Head Tax

In 1885, as soon as Chinese workers helped build the Canadian Pacific Railway, many new people could come from Europe and eastern Canada. But many of the other migrants to British Columbia wanted the land for themselves and passed laws that made life difficult for Chinese and for aboriginal peoples. One example of such a law was the Chinese Head Tax, which charged every new Chinese who came to Canada $50! Still, over 96,500 Chinese came to Canada over the next 40 years despite the many years of hard work to pay off this tax that only Chinese Canadians had to pay. Right from the first moments that anti-Chinese legislation such as the head tax was passed, Chinese Canadians resisted the discrimination against them. A century of struggle led finally to an apology in 2006 by the Prime Minister in the Parliament of Canada.

Click to learn more about the Address by the Prime Minister on the Chinese Head Tax Redress