Canadian Heritage

Canadian Heritage

October 20, 2006 13:34 ET

Canada's New Government Fulfills its Promise to Chinese Head Tax Payers

VANCOUVER, NEW BRUNSWICK--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 20, 2006) - Canada's New Government delivered on its promise to Chinese Head Tax payers today, when the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women, presented cheques of $20,000 each to some of the individuals who paid the Chinese Head Tax. Also in attendance at the event was the Honourable David Emerson, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics, and Member of Parliament for Vancouver Kingsway.

"With today's event and delivering the first ex-gratia payments to living head tax payers, Canada's New Government is not only delivering on its promise but we, as a nation, are taking one more step toward recognizing past experiences and hardships and contributing to healing in the Chinese-Canadian community," said Minister Oda.

The cheques are the first of about 30 ex-gratia payments (payments made voluntarily) that are expected to be provided to living Head Tax payers. They are part of the commitment made by Canada's New Government on June 22, 2006, to provide ex-gratia payments of $20,000 to living Head Tax payers and to persons in a conjugal relationship with a now-deceased Head Tax payer.

Details are being worked out for the application process for payments to living persons who were in a conjugal relationship with a Head Tax payer who is now deceased. It is expected that this group will be able to apply for payments later this fall.

The Head Tax was imposed on Chinese immigrants entering Canada from 1885 to 1923. Similar legislation existed in the Dominion of Newfoundland, which imposed a Head Tax on Chinese immigrants from 1906 to 1949, before joining Confederation.

(This news release is available on the Internet at under Media Room.)

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
    and Status of Women
    Veronique Bruneau
    Press Secretary
    Canadian Heritage
    Donald Boulanger
    A/Chief, Media Relations