Chinese immigration records : C.I.9 certificates from Vancouver and Victoria

Available reels: 15

Document Record

Canada. Dept. of Employment and Immigration.
Chinese immigration records : C.I.9 certificates from Vancouver and Victoria
RG 76 D 2 d i
Document source
Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
Until 1917, two federal departments - Agriculture, followed by the Interior - were responsible for immigration. In 1917, the Department of Immigration and Colonization was established. Since then, Immigration has existed as a separate department, except for the period from 1936 to 1949, when it was the responsibility of Mines and Resources. Today, Citizenship and Immigration Canada is the department of the government of Canada with responsibility for issues dealing with immigration and citizenship. The department was established in 1994 following a reorganization within the federal government.
In 1885, the federal government decided to pass the Chinese Immigration Act, which put a special $50 head tax on Chinese immigrants in the hopes that this would deter the Chinese from entering Canada. No other ethnic group had to pay this kind of tax at the time. The head tax would increase a number of times in the early 20th century, and would prevent wives and families from joining their husbands or fathers in Canada. By 1903, the Chinese head tax was increased to $500 per person to eliminate Chinese immigration. This fee was roughly equivalent to two years worth of wages for a Chinese labourer living in Canada at the time. However, some employers, such as the railways, needed cheap labour, and were willing to pay this fee for adult men. That meant that Chinese immigration wasn't eliminated altogether, but that Chinese women and children didn't get the opportunity to join their husbands and fathers. This created a Chinese bachelor society in Canada. However, in 1923, the federal government passed a law called the Chinese Exclusion Act. This law prevented the immigration of anyone from China. Only 15 Chinese immigrants were allowed into Canada between 1923 and 1947, when this law was finally revoked.
C.I.9 and C.I.9A certificates were issued to people of Chinese origin who wished to leave Canada temporarily. This included both foreign-born individuals and those born in Canada.
This collection consists of C.I.9 certificates issued at Vancouver and Victoria, September 1910 to 1953. Certificates issued before September 1910 may have been handed over to the traveller, or may have been retained and destroyed in local offices. The certificates are organized by port, and are grouped in two groups for each port, one for persons born abroad and one for "native-born" persons. Each of these four groups is numbered separately, and is organized in numerical order, roughly by date of issue. Both redeemed and cancelled (expired) certificates are included. Some certificates are missing. Each certificate bears the following information: C.I.9 date and port of issue; details of planned travel, including place and date of sailing, trip name, port of destination and port of proposed return; personal information, including the holder's name, address in Canada, photograph, year of first arrival (if foreign-born), place of residence and year of first residence there, C.I.5 certificate number (if any) occupation, birthplace, age, height, and distinctive facial features; names and residence of two friends; holder's signature in Chinese characters; and data on holder's return, including (if returned) date and port of return, signature of inspecting officer, or date of letter of authorization; or (if failed to return) annotation indicating expiry of certificate. The C.I.9 certificates from Victoria include born abroad certificates nos. 15701-61396, issued between 7 September 1910 and March 20, 1953 (reels T-6038 to T-6045 and T-16580 to 16588) . Other C.I.9 certificates from Victoria include born in Canada certificates nos. 1-2375, issued 7 May 1913 to 24 July 1952 (reel T-6046). No further certificates were issued after these dates. The C.I.9 certificates from Vancouver include born abroad certificates nos. 17175-94195, issued between 28 September 1910 and January 9, 1953 (reels T-6047 to T-6051 and T-16591 to T-16613). Other C.I.9 certificates from Vancouver include "born in Canada" ("Native-Born" Persons) certificates nos. 1-3240 covering the period 1915 to 1939 (reel T-6052).