100th Anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act

June 23, 2023

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada, delivered a speech during the National Remembrance of the 100th Anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act. A commemorative plaque was unveiled to mark the occasion.

About the Chinese Exclusion Act

In 1923, the Canadian government introduced a new Chinese Immigration Act, commonly known as the Chinese Exclusion Act, to stop Chinese immigration. The act was one of a number of anti-Chinese policies and was a reflection of the widespread racism towards Chinese people since their arrival in Canada in the mid 19th century. It replaced the first Chinese Immigration Act of 1885, which included a head tax (entry tax) to deter immigration from China.

Chinese in Canada fought for the repeal of the Act, which was achieved in 1947 in part because of Canada’s commitments under the UN Declaration on Human Rights. It was not until 1967, however, when race-based restrictions on immigration ended. In 2006, after years of lobbying, Chinese Canadians received an official apology from the federal government for the head taxes.