On June 22, 2006, on behalf of the Government of Canada, the Prime Minister apologized in the House of Commons for the implementation of the Chinese Head Tax. As part of the apology and redress the Conservatist government decided to compensate the surviving Head Tax payers and surviving spouse of Head Tax payers only.
To date, this settlement, an ex-gratia payment, has only been available to less than 800 head tax families with a surviving head taxpayer or a spouse of deceased head taxpayer. This represents less than one percent of all affected Head Tax families while thousands of head tax families across Canada seeking direct redress have been excluded and ignored by Stephen Harper’s government.
The implications of the Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion legislation continues to directly affect the Head Tax families of today. These laws impoverished families and halted all Chinese immigration from 1923 to 1947. Many families were separated for decades, some never to reunite. These elderly sons and daughters, many who live in Canada today suffered under the racist and discriminatory laws of Canada. For some, their memory of a father is a name and if fortunate, brief visits. An inclusive just and honourable redress is one that includes all those who were directly affected.