Chinese immigration records : Central District register of Chinese out-registrations

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Document Record

Canada. Dept. of Employment and Immigration
Chinese immigration records : Central District register of Chinese out-registrations
RG 76 D 2 d iv
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 a register created in the office of Immigration's Central District (Toronto) to record outward C.I.9 registrations from 1923 to 1952. Immigration activities in the southern Ontario area were controlled by Central District Headquarters at Toronto. Chinese from this area who planned to travel in and out of Canada - through all ports in that and other parts of the country, including Pacific ports - were required to register their movement with the Controller of Chinese Immigration at Toronto. The register contains three different listings. The first (pages 1-24) lists 1,083 persons who lived in the Central District who applied for C.I.9 certificates to depart Canada through various ports, December 1923 to February 1950. Until 1940, both foreign-born and "native-born" persons are included. The second (pages 25-26) completes the first part by listing separately the native-born persons applying for C.I.9 leave, June 1940 to September 1952. Part 3 (pages 192-201) appears to be a listing of C.I.9A registrations for 460 seamen. The register runs backward from page 201 to page 192. Pages 193-201 do not appear on Reel C-13421. The entries are undated until No. 33, which is dated 1927; the last entry is dated 1949. The remainder of the register is blank. The register entries are in rough chronological order by date of application for leave. For the first two parts, each entry gives: a leave number; name, age, height, occupation, and distinguishing physical features of applicant; Canadian address, birthplace, and last place of residence outside Canada; date of first arrival in Canada; identifying certificate (C.I.5, 28 or 36) number; destination, intended route, and date of departure, and intended date of return; name of referee vouching for the person's identity; and sometimes a file number. The information recorded in the listing of C.I.9A certificates is the same as for the first two parts, except that instead of destination the port of departure or ship is recorded; no further information on the departure is given. There is no information on the person's actual date/place of return on any of the three parts.