See more of the Virtual Museum of Canada

Before the War
The Holocaust
Displaced Persons Camps
Where Can We Go?
The Journey
Welcome to Canada
New Lives
Canadian Immigration Overview

From 1885 to 1923, an increasingly oppressive head tax was levied on Chinese immigrants under the Chinese Exclusion Act, and then replaced with even more restrictive measures. The "continuous voyage" policy was passed to prevent South Asian immigrants from entering Canada. It stipulated that immigrants had to travel directly to Canada, without stopping, which was impossible from India. Blacks were restricted on the pretext of not being able to tolerate harsh Canadian winters. During World War II, Japanese-Canadians were interned in work camps and many "repatriated" to Japan in 1946.  more... »
Changes to the Immigration Act allow for the rejection of immigrants "belonging to any race deemed unsuitable to the climate or requirements of Canada."
Canada liberalizes immigration policies. Almost two million newcomers are admitted within a decade, including thousands of Jewish survivors.
"Points" system for immigration is implemented, based on language and job skill qualifications.
Canada is awarded the United Nations' Nansen Medal for its compassionate refugee policies.
Chinese Exclusion Act virtually stops Chinese immigration. It is repealed in 1947.
After years of lobbying by Canadian Jewish communities, 1,123 Jewish orphans enter Canada.
Canada admits nearly 40,000 Hungarian refugees following the Hungarian uprising.
Immigration and Refugee Board recognizes the special persecution women face as refugees.
Head Tax
A discriminatory federal tax levied upon Chinese immigrants admitted to Canada. Initially the tax, passed in 1885 was set at $50 per Chinese immigrant. In 1901 it was increased to $100 and later to $500. In 1923, the Chinese Exclusion Act abolished the head tax, replacing it with even more restrictive measures. The head tax was a serious financial burden to Chinese Canadians and effectively stopped any family unification.
World War II
The war fought from 1939 to 1945, in which Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, the United States, Canada, China, and other allies defeated Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Japan. After Germany invaded Poland in September 1939 Britain declared war against Germany. Canada entered the war shortly afterwards. The United States entered the war after the bombing of Pearl Harbour in December 1941. The war ended with the surrender of Germany in May 1945 and the surrender of Japan in August 1945.