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Government to recognize historical significance of Canada's ban on Chinese immigrants

Parks Canada Minister Steven Guilbeault delivers remarks during an Asian History Month reception at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa on Monday, May 29, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby

OTTAWA — Parks Canada Minister Steven Guilbeault says the federal government has designated the 1923 ban on immigration by people of Chinese origin as an event of historical significance.

July marks the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Immigration Act, which banned Chinese people from entering Canada.

Speaking at a reception for Asian Heritage Month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the ban was immoral and unfair.

In a press release, Parks Canada says the legislation was the result of anti-Asian racism, and lasted for 24 years.

The act also required all Chinese persons living in Canada to register with the government and carry certificates with photo identification, or else risk fines, detainment or deportation.

Trudeau says the government plaque that will be commissioned to recognize those events will serve as a reminder of how far Canada has come.

"Whether it’s the Chinese Exclusion Act or other similar examples from our past, we know that diversity in Canada hasn’t always been seen as a source of our strength," Trudeau says.

"It took a lot of work and determination to change this."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 29, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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