History of Asian Canadians in the 20th and 21st Century

Asian Canadians are seen as locals who can trace their ancestry back to the continent of Asia or its population. The largest and fastest-growing culture group in Canada is seen as Canadians with Asian ancestry and proves to be part of the backbone of the country’s economy and workforce.

European Canadians fall just behind Asian Canadians, with roughly 17.7% of the Canadian population. Although Asian Canadians can be found throughout the country, certain parts of Canada seem to be more popular with the traditions and culture of Asia.

Urban areas including Southern Ontario, Central Alberta, Southwestern British Columbia, and other large cities stand out as some of the most popular cities for Asian Canadians to live in.

Asian Canadians are known to be classified as visible minorities and may be called by different titles, including East Asian Canadians, South Asian Canadians, Southeast Canadians, and West Asian Canadians.

20th Century

Immigration restrictions came into play in Canada early in 1902, with the government including a $500 head tax to enter Canada. Immigration levels went down due to the tax but slowly gained numbers again due to immigrants saving up money to be able to enter Canada.

Throughout the 20th century, many laws around Chinese immigration made it impossible for Asians from China to get into Canada. Later, many other Asian countries were also affected by immigration laws which made it impossible for them to immigrate to the country.

In 1985 the Canadian Parliament created the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada to support Asians who arrived in the country due to the Vietnam War.

21st Century

The 21st century saw many positive changes to immigration laws towards Asians. 2016 saw the Canadian government issuing a full and heartfelt apology in parliament for the Komagata Maru Incident, where 22 people lost their lives in a riot caused by Canada not allowing entry into the country.

Today Asian Canadians make up a significant minority within the Canadian population, with over 6 million ethnic Asians calling Canada Home.