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Description found in Archives

Chinese immigration records [textual record (some microform)]. 

Series consists of

Date(s)

1885-1953, microfilmed [ca. 1950-1970]

Place of creation

No place, unknown, or undetermined

4.20 m of textual records
27 microfilm reels

Scope and content

Series consists of Chinese immigration records covering the period 1885-1953. The series includes the following: general registers of Chinese immigration, 1885-1903; a Port of New Westminster register of Chinese immigration, 1887-1908; Vancouver ledger of exempt admissions, 1914-1924; a Victoria ledger of exempt admissions, 1914-1930; outward registration records, 1910-1953; a C.I.28 register, 1912-1947; a C.I.36 register, 1913-1949; sample Chinese immigration certificates, 1899-1953; Chinese family trees, 1949-1972; and Chinese immigration case files, ca. 1900-1980. By Order in Council (P.C. 1622, 1 September 1885), the Department of Customs was made responsible for the administration of the new Chinese Immigration Act of 1885 (48-49 Vic. Chap. 71) which placed special controls on the immigration of Chinese persons and provided for the registration of Chinese in Canada. The Order in Council provided for Customs officers in port offices to act as Controllers of Chinese Immigration. The Chief Controller of Chinese Immigration in Ottawa, to whom the Controllers reported, was to maintain a General Register of all Chinese immigrants entering Canada. William G. Parmelee - then the Assistant Commissioner, and later the Commissioner of Customs - was appointed the first Chief Controller of Chinese Immigration. In 1892, the Department of Trade and Commerce was created and Parmelee became its deputy minister. He carried his responsibilities as Chief Controller of Chinese Immigration to the new department. By Order in Council (P.C. 790, 13 March 1893) Customs officers in their capacities as Controllers of Chinese Immigration were instructed to report to the Deputy Minister of Trade and Commerce. In 1908, F.C.T. O'Hara replaced Parmelee in both capacities, as Deputy Minister and as Chief Controller (P.C. 556, 19 March 1908). After revisions to immigration legislation in 1910 the administration of the Chinese Immigration Act was transferred in 1911 to the Immigration Branch of the Department of the Interior (P.C. 1272, 31 May 1911). W.D. Scott, the Superintendent of Immigration, was appointed Chief Controller of Chinese Immigration (P.C. 1846, 11 August 1911). Thereafter the administration of the Act and its amendments remained with the Immigration Branch through various departmental changes, until 1947 when the Chinese Immigration Act was repealed (C.S., 11 Geo. VI, Chap. 19). Specific regulations discriminating against "Asiatic" immigrants (including the Chinese) continued, however, to be applied until passage of the Canadian Bill of Rights in 1967 (for related records see the Asiatic immigration series (MIKAN 134843, RG76-D-3). Under the various Acts and Orders in Council mentioned, each Controller was to maintain a register of Chinese immigrants who had entered Canada through the relevant port, recording among other details the payment of or exemption from the head tax. Each month the Controllers sent lists of immigrants to the Chief Controller in Ottawa to be centrally registered in the Chinese General Registers. Identifying certificates were also issued to each immigrant upon entry to Canada, or to replace lost entry documents. A C.I.6 certificate was issued, in certain circumstances, to persons of Chinese descent who had entered Canada prior to 1885 and hence had paid no head tax. A C.I.5 certificate (often called the "head tax receipt") was issued to all Chinese immigrants who arrived after 1885 and paid the head tax. After 1912, the C.I.6 was discontinued in favour of a redrafted C.I.5. A substitute document (the C.I.36) was issued, where deemed necessary, to replace pre-1912 C.I.5 certificates (which did not bear photographs and so were not considered sufficient for identification). In addition, C.I.28 certificates were issued to persons who had lost their C.I.5 or C.I.36 documents. Those exempt from paying the head tax received C.I.40 certificates. Besides these general identifying certificates, certain special-purpose documents were issued in specific situations. C.I.9 and C.I.9A certificates were made out for persons of Chinese descent (ordinary residents and seamen respectively) who wished to leave Canada temporarily. All persons of Chinese descent in Canada were in 1923-1924 required to re-register under section 18 of the new exclusionary Chinese Immigration Act of 1923 (C.S. 1923, ch.38). Most of these certificates were centrally retained, or at least registered, in Ottawa. This cumbersome system of documentation ended in 1947, although some forms of legal discrimination against Chinese immigrants were maintained until the establishment of new Immigration regulations in 1967 in line with the anti-discrimination provisions of the Bill of Rights (1960). Special Chinese-language versions of certain Immigration forms persisted at least into the 1970s.

Textual records: microform
90: Open
Textual records
32: Restricted by law
Archival reference no.
Former archival reference no.

Terms of use

Copyright belongs to the Crown. In order to protect the fragile originals, the microfilm copies of these records must be consulted rather than the originals.

Additional information

For further information on the history and use of these records see the article "The Records of Chinese Immigration at the National Archives of Canada" by Bennett McCardle, in Canadian Ethnic Studies (1987) vol. XIX no. 3:163-171.

Source of title
Title is based on the contents of the series.

Accruals
Further accruals are expected.

Related materials
Subject records on Chinese immigration policy, procedures and administration are scattered throughout the Central Registry files (RG76-B-1), the SF files (RG76-B-2), and the Manuals (RG76- D-5-a). For a preliminary listing of these records see the Ethnic Index under "Chinese" and "Asian".

Government

Related control no.

1. 1984-85/062 GAD
2. 1984-85/238 GAD
3. 1985-86/069 GAD
4. 1990-91/145 GAD
5. 118-000145-1
6. RG76