The findings of the Royal Commission on Chinese Immigration (1885) led to the enactment of The Act to Restrict and Regulate Chinese Immigration into Canada 1885, which imposed a $50 head tax on new immigrants from China. This measure was meant to reduce the number of Chinese men competing for jobs against other labourers. Those exempt from the head tax included merchants and their families, and students – seen as temporary residents – as well as Canadian–born children returning from studies in China. The head tax was raised to $100 in 1901, and to $500 in 1904 – the latter amount representing approximately two years’ pay for Chinese workers at the time.
Early Chinese migration and head tax: 1858–1922
Head tax certificate of Chan Hong–Yee, Vancouver, British Columbia, 1919. Multicultural History Society of Ontario, Lee–King Family Collection.
Chinese Head Tax (1885)
Listen to Judi Michelle Young describe her father's experiences with the head tax. click for summary
Family Reunifications and Illegal Immigration: