Apology for Historical Wrongs

Chinese men work on the Canadian Pacific Railway in British Columbia, 1884 (Image: Boorne & May/Library and Archives Canada, C-006686B).
Chinese men work on the Canadian Pacific Railway in British Columbia, 1884 (Image: Boorne & May/Library and Archives Canada, C-006686B).


Over the coming months, the Honourable Teresa Wat will travel to communities and engage with Chinese community associations and citizens to identify wording for a formal apology. Minister Wat will engage all members of the legislature to provide input and work towards a formal apology which all parties of the House can support.

The input received at the consultations forums will guide the wording of a formal apology. In the next sitting of the legislature, the government plans to introduce a motion regarding a formal apology to British Columbia's Chinese community for historical wrongs.

The B.C. government believes that a rich multicultural society helps nurture acceptance, understanding and mutual respect. Cultural diversity, increased participation and engagement by all cultures are vitally important to create a strong and vibrant social and economic future for British Columbia.

News Release  English | Simplified Chinese

Sourced Chronology  English  | Simplified Chinese

Consultation Information  English  | Simplified Chinese

Consultation Terms of Reference


The Chinese community in British Columbia suffered legislated inequality and discrimination between 1885 and 1923 when multiple forms of discriminatory legislation were imposed, including the Chinese Immigration Act and again in 1923 to 1947 when Chinese individuals were restricted from entering Canada under the Chinese Exclusion Act.


The government will engage with British Columbia's Chinese community associations and individuals who were directly and indirectly impacted by prejudicial legislation to work towards offering an appropriate public apology, read in the provincial legislature and supported by all parties in the B.C. government.

Financial redress from the provincial government will not be considered by the minister. In 2006, the federal government acknowledged their role in legislative injustices with a parliamentary apology and ex-gratia payments to surviving head tax payers and surviving spouse of head tax payers only.


Hold up to five community-consultation forums to bring together relevant Chinese community associations and individuals directly impacted by historical wrongs, to seek input on to the best approach in providing an apology.

Specifically, consultation forums will:

  1. Seek input from the families and ancestors of those British Columbians who paid the head tax.
  2. Engage local representatives from a number of Chinese-Canadian communities to confirm consultation locations and receptivity.
  3. Conduct focused consultations seeking comment, suggestions and advice regarding the wording and delivery of an apology from the legislature.


The minister, in collaboration with members of the Opposition, will prepare a consultation summary following the conclusion of the consultation process that will include:

  1. A brief synopsis of public comments, suggestions and advice.
  2. Comments and observations from the minister.
  3. Recommendations, including wording and delivery advice of any apology from the Legislative Assembly.

Participate in Consultation

Consultations will be held in various communities. These consultations are open to the public.

Community          Date & Time                                 Location    

Victoria                 Sunday, November 17, 2013         Consolidated Chinese Benevolent Association
                             2:00 – 4:00 p.m.                            636 Fisgard Street
                                                                                   Victoria, BC V8W 1R6

Kamloops             Thursday, December 19, 2013      Coast Kamloops Hotel & Conference Centre
                             7:00 – 9:00 p.m.                            1250 Rogers Way 
                                                                                   Kamloops, BC V1S 1N5

Vancouver           Sunday, January 12 , 2014            Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver
                            2:00 – 4:00 p.m.                             50 E Pender St 
                                                                                   Vancouver, BC V6A 3V6

Kelowna               Tuesday, January 14, 2014           Best Western Plus Kelowna Hotel & Suites
                             5:00 – 7:00 p.m.                            2402 Hwy 97 North
                                                                                   Kelowna, V1X 4J1

Burnaby               Monday, January 20, 2014             Metro Town Hilton
                             7:00 – 9:00 p.m                             6083 McKay Ave
                                                                                   Burnaby, V5H 2W7

Prince George     Wednesday, January 22, 2014      Civic Centre – Room 208
                            7:00 – 9:00 p.m.                             808 Civic Plaza
                                                                                   Prince George, BC V2L 5T6

Richmond            Tuesday, January 28, 2014            Radisson Hotel Vancouver Airport
                            7:00 – 9:00 p.m.                             8181 Cambie Road
                                                                                   Richmond, B.C. V6X 3X9

If you are interested in providing feedback, but are not able to attend any consultation events, feedback can be sent directly to: