Chinese immigration records: C.I.36 register

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Document Record

Canada. Dept. of Employment and Immigration.
Chinese immigration records: C.I.36 register
RG 76 D 2 f
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.36 certificates were issued to replace C.I.5 (head tax) certificates issued prior to 1912. These older C.I.5 certificates were deemed inadequate as identifying documents as they did not include photographs of the holders.
This collection consists of the main register kept by Ottawa between 1913 to 1949 to list the C.I.36 certificates issued at Ottawa to replace identifying C.I.5 certificates issued before 1912. The Chinese Immigration offices issued replacements to certain individuals as the occasion arose (for example, if a person applied for a travel document or other certification). The register covers C.I.36 certificates nos. 1-24,249 (nos. 1-25 being spares), dated January 28, 1913, to February 26, 1949. All but a few of the persons listed arrived in Canada between 1895 to 1912. The entries are in numerical order, corresponding to a rough chronological order by date of issue. Each entry gives: the C.I.36 number; the person's name or names; his/her port, ship and date of arrival; his/her "serial number" (the Ottawa serial number, indicating the location of the person's entry in the General Registers); numbers of C.I.4 and C.I.5 certificates issued; file number of relevant case file (First central registry system); date of issue of C.I.36; and Remarks, usually a residence street address and name used on arrival in Canada (if different from the current name).
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