Building the National Railways (1851 - 1885)

Chinese Immigration Act, 1885

Document Summary:

Some important sections:

5: No vessel docking in a Canadian port shall have more than one Chinese immigrant per 50 tons of cargo. Any ship operator who disobeys this rule must pay $50 per immigrant over the maximum number allowed.

6: Operators of any vessel with a Chinese immigrant onboard will not allow the immigrant to leave the ship until a permit has been obtained. An operator may be fined $100 for breaking this rule.

7: No port official can issue a landing permit to a Chinese immigrant until he has been examined by a medical officer and cleared of any illness, including leprosy.

8: All Chinese people entering Canada shall pay $50 to the Canadian government, with the following exceptions:
? any diplomat or government official, plus his servants and advisers;
? tourists, legitimate merchants, scientists and students;
? any Chinese person living in Canada before January 1, 1886.

9: Any Chinese immigrant arriving in Canada other than by ship still must pay the $50 tax to a customs agent upon entry.

10: A government official will issue to any Chinese person allowed to live in Canada a special certificate specifying his name, the name of his port of landing, the date of his arrival and an acknowledgment that the $50 tax has been paid.

11: This official will keep a register of all the Chinese he has allowed into Canada.

12: The ship operator importing Chinese immigrants to Canada shall be held liable for ensuring that each immigrant pays the $50 tax, and for keeping an accurate passenger list.

13: Any Chinese person wishing to leave Canada and return at a later date must register with a government official at his place of departure. A Chinese resident must provide details of the foreign places he wishes to visit and how he will get there and back. He must pay a fee of $1 for this service, return within six months of leaving Canada and prove his identity upon return.