Chinese Immigration Act, 1885

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48 & 49 Victoria, c. 71
An Act to restrict and regulate Chinese immigration into Canada

The Chinese Immigration Act of 1885 placed a head tax on all Chinese immigrants coming to Canada, forcing them to pay a fifty dollar fee to enter the country. In 1900, the fee was raised to one hundred dollars (a substantial amount of money at that time). In 1903, the amount was raised to five hundred dollars, the equivalency of two years' wages, which was a small fortune to the Chinese immigrants as well as other Canadians at the time. Later, another law was passed, declaring that only one Chinese immigrant could come to Canada for every fifty tons (50.8 tonnes) of the ship they were travelling on, for that one voyage. That meant that only ten immigrants could come to Canada on a ship weighing five hundred tons (508 tonnes).

Excerpted from Chinese Immigration Act of 1885 on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

48 & 49 Victoria, c. 71 (Canada)

An Act to restrict and regulate Chinese immigration into Canada

[Assented to 20th July, 1885.]

WHEREAS it is expedient to make provision for restricting the number of Chinese immigrants coming into the Dominion and to regulate such immigration; and whereas it is further expedient to provide a system of registration and control over Chinese immigrants residing in Canada: Therefore Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:—
1. In this Act, unless the context other requires,—
The expression "master" means any person in command of any vessel:
The expression "vessel" means any sea-going craft of any kind of description capable of carrying passengers:
The expression "tonnage" means tonnage according to the measurement fixed by the Merchants' Shipping Acts of the Imperial Parliament:
Chinese Immigrant
The expressing "Chinese Immigrant" means any person of Chinese origin entering Canada and not entitled to the privilege of exemption provided for by section four of this Act:
The expression "controller" means any officer charged with the duty of carrying the provisions of the Act into effect.
2. The Governor in Council may,—

Appoint one or more persons to carry the provisions of this Act into effect;

Assign any duty in connection therewith to any officer or person in the employ of the Government of the Dominion of Canada;

Define and prescribe the duty or duties to such officer or person;

Fix the salary or remuneration to be allowed to such officer or person.
3. All appointments made under this Act shall be published in the Canada Gazette.
Duty payable by Chinese Immigrants
4. Subject to the provisions of section thirteen of this Act, every person of Chinese origin shall pay into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of Canada, on entering Canada, at the ports of the place of entry, the sum of fifty dollars, except the following persons who shall be exempt from such payment, that is to say, first: the members of the Diplomatic Corps, or other Government representative and their suite and their servants, consuls and consular agents; and second: tourist, merchants, men of science and students, who are beware of the certificates of identity, specifying their occupation and their object in coming into Canada, or other similar documents issued by the Chinese Government or other Government whose subjects are; and every such certificate or other documents shall be in English or French language, and shall be examined and indorsed (visé) by a British consul or Chargé d'Affaires or other accredited representative of Her Majesty, at the place where the same is granted, or at the port or place of departure: but nothing in this Act shall be construed as embracing within the meaning of the world "merchant," any huskster, pedler, or person engaged in taking, drying or otherwise preserving shall or ther fish for home consumption or exportation.
Number of Chinese immigrants in any vessel
5. No vessel carrying Chinese immigrants to any port in Canada shall carry more than one such immigrant for every fifty tons of its tonnage; and the owner of such vessel, who carries any number in excess of the number allowed by this section, shall be liable to a penalty of fifty dollars for each person so carried in excess.
6. Every master of any vessel bringing Chinese immigrants to any port in Canada, shall be personally liable to Her Majesty for the payment of the fee imposed by section four of this Act in respect of any immigrant carried by such vessel, and shall deliver, together with the total amount of such fee, to the controller, immediately on his arrival in port and before any of his passengers or crew shall have disembarked, a complete and accurate list of his crew and passengers, showing their names in full, the country and place of birth, and the occupation and the last place of domicile of each passenger.
Penalty for landing any Chinese before duty is paid, etc
7. Every master of any vessel who lands or allows to be landed off or from any vessel Chinese immigrant before the duty payable under the provisions of this Act has been duly paid, or who wilfully makes any false statement respecting the number of persons on board of his vessel, shall in addition to the amount of fee mentioned in the next proceding section, nor more than one thousand dollars for such offence, and in default of payment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve months; and such vessel shall be forfeited to her Majesty, and shall be seized by any officer charged with the duty of carrying this Act into effect and dealt with accordingly.
8. No master of any vessel carrying Chinese immigrants shall land any passenger or permit any passenger to land from such vessel, until a permit to do so, stating that the provisions of this Act have been complied with, has been granted to the master of such vessel by the controller, under a penalty of one hundred dollars.
9. No Controller at any port shall grant a permit allowing Chinese immigrants to land until the quarantine officer has granted a bill of health and has certified after due examination that no leprosy or infectious or contagious disease exists among them on board such vessel and no permit to land shall be granted to any Chinese immigrant who is suffering from leprosy or from any infectious or contagious disease or to any Chinese woman who is known to be a prostitute.
10. The Controller shall deliver to each Chinese who has been permitted to land and in respect of whom duty has been paid as hereinbefore provided a certificate containing a description of such individual the date of his arrival the name of the port of his landing and an that the duty has been duly paid and such certificate shall primd facie evidence of the right of the person presenting same to enter the Dominion of Canada but the same may contested by the Government of Canada or by any charged with the duty of carrying this Act into effect if is reason to doubt the validity or authenticity of such certificate or of any statement therein contained and such shall be heard and determined in a summary manner by before any Judge of a Superior Court of any Province Canada where such certificate is produced.
11. The Controller shall keep a register of all persons whom certificates of entry have been granted.
12. Every Chinese immigrant subject to pay the imposed by Section 4 of this Act who enters Canada otherwise than by disembarking from any vessel shall make declaration of his entry to the Controller or in absence of such officer to the Customs officer of the nearest most convenient place and shall forthwith pay to Controller or officer the duty of 50 dollars imposed by Act and the Controller or officer shall grant a certificate such entry and payment in conformity with the provisions of Section 10 of this Act and if the declaration is made to Customs officer he shall report the fact to the Controller at the principal seaport of the province into which such Chinese immigrant has come and the Controller shall record the same in register of certificates of entry kept by him.
13. The entrance fee or duty payable under this Act shall not apply to any Chinese person residing or being within Canada at the time of the coming into force of this Act every such Chinese person who desires to remain in Canada may obtain within 12 months after the passing of this Act upon the payment of a fee of 50 cents a certificate of residence from the Controller or from a Judge of a Court a Justice of the Peace a Police Magistrate a Magistrate a Recorder or from the Mayor or Secretary Treasurer of the municipality in which he resides or from officer charged with the duty of carrying this Act into effect and the person granting such certificate shall report the fact the Controller at the principal seaport of the province in such Chinese person resides.
14.(1) Every Chinese person who wishes to leave Canada with the intention of returning thereto shall give notice of intention to the Controller at the port or place whence proposes to sail or depart and shall surrender to the said his certificate of entry or of residence and shall receive in thereof on payment of a fee of one dollar a certificate of to depart and return and the person to whom such is granted shall be entitled on presentation of the same on return to receive from the Controller the amount of the fee paid by him on such return and to have his original certificate of entry or residence returned to him
(2) In case of the loss of such return certificate and proof of such loss to the satisfaction of the Controller person to whom such certificate was granted and who has the entrance fee imposed by Section 4 of this Act a time shall be entitled to have his second entrance fee to him together with his first certificate of entry or residence.

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Penalty on Chinese for evading this Act
16. Every Chinese person who wilfully evades or attempts to evade any of the provisions of this Act as respects the payment of duty [. . .] and every person who wilfully aids or abets any such Chinese person in any evasion or attempt at evasion of any of the provisions of this Act, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve months, or to a penalty not exceeding five hundred dollars, or to both
17. Every person who takes part in the organization of any sort of court or tribunal composed of Chinese persons for the hearing and determination of any offence committed by a Chinese person or in carrying on any such organization or who takes part in any of its proceedings or who gives evidence before any such court or tribunal or assists in carrying into effect any decision or decree or order of any such court or tribunal is guilty of a misdemeanour and liable to imprisonment for any term not exceeding 12 months or to a penalty not exceeding 500 dollars or to both but nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent Chinese immigrants from submitting any differences or disputes to arbitration provided such submission be uot contrary to the laws in force in the province in which such submission is made.

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Application of dues, penalties, etc
20. All dues, pecuniary penalties and other sources of revenue under this Act shall be paid into and form part of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of Canada; but one-fourth part of all entry dues paid by Chinese immigrants shall, at the end of every fiscal year, be paid out of such fund to the Province wherein the same were collected

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23. This Act as respects any vessel sailing from a port in the continent of North America shall come into force one month after the passing thereof and as respects other vessels and other matters the same shall come into force on the day of January 1886 except that certificates under Section may be granted in accordance with the terms of the section and that Controllers may be appointed at any time the passing hereof.

This work is in the public domain worldwide because it was prepared or published by or under the direction or control of the Canadian Government or any government department prior to 1971.

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