Chinese Camp, Kamloops, B.C., 1886

Chinese workers in a camp in Kamloops, B.C.

15, 000 Chinese labourers came to work on the railway between 1881 and 1884. Chinese workers were paid $1.00 a day, while labourers or European descent received $1.50 to $2.50 a day. After the CPR was completed, the government imposed a head tax of $50 on every Chinese immigrant. In 1900 the Head Tax was increased to $100, and in 1903 the Head Tax rose to $500, which was the equivalent to two years' wages. On top of this, Chinese immigrants were denied citizenship. The federal government collected $23 million from the Chinese through the Head Tax. In 2006, the federal government offered a formal apology for the fact that the tax was imposed. The government also acknowledged the stigma and exclusion that the tax represented.

Edouard Deville/Library and Archives Canada/C-021987 Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC)

C-021987; other accession no: 1933-240 NPC
© Library and Archives Canada. All Rights Reserved.

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans