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Chinese Canadian

A Chinese Canadian is a person of Chinese descent or origin who was born in or immigrated to Canada. Considered from the perspective of China, they are a group of overseas Chinese.

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Many workers from maritime provinces of China arrived to help build the Canadian Pacific Railway in the 19th century. In order to support their large families that remained in China because they could not get permissiom to enter Canada, many of these workers accepted the disadvantage of working long hours below minimum wage. Their willingness to endure hardship to get paid enraged fellow non-Chinese workers who thought they were unnecessarily complicating the labour market situations. Such attitudes and ideas that Chinese Canadians, first-generations or their descendants, are "foreigners" in Canada who replace "Canadians" and their jobs is still a persistent and unofficial image in the Canadian society. From 1885 the Canadian government began to charge a substantial head tax[?] for each Chinese person trying to immigrate to Canada. In 1935 the Canadian government banned Chinese immigration completely.

Some of those Chinese Canadian workers settled in Canada after the railway was constructed. But most could not bring the rest of their family, not even their nuclear family, to Canada because of government restrictions and enormous processing fees. Their contacts with Whites were restricted as well, officially and unofficially. They established Chinatowns and societies in undesirable sections of the cities.

Some educated Chinese arrived at Canada during the war as refugees, Governor General Adrienne Clarkson is from such a family. Since the mid-20th century, most new Chinese Canadians come from university-educated families, one of whose most essential values is still quality education. These newcomers are a major part of the "Brain Gain" that inverse the infamous problem of "Brain Drain", i.e., Canadians leaving to the US.

There was a significant influx of wealthy Chinese from Hong Kong in the early and mid-1990's. These Chinese immigrants were worried about the pending handover of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China and Canada was a preferred location because investment visas were significantly easier to obtain than visas to the United States. Vancouver was a major destination of these Chinese.

Prominent examples


Most second-generation Chinese Canadians are sent to after-scjool Mandarin Chinese and/or Cantonese Chinese schools to maintain or improve their Chinese language ability. Many, but not all, first-generation parents encourage or persuade their children to attend the science, engineering, or commerce faculties of universities, since they consider only those studies lead to a stable career and prominence in their society or societies.

Given names

Most Chinese Canadians have the Romanization of their Chinese given names as their middle name[?], or the other way around, but generally prefer to be called in their English name. Some have French names, and those from Macao generally already have Portuguese names. However, some consider their names easily pronounced by non-Chinese, so their only given name is in Chinese. However, there are those whose first and middle names are entirely Western.


Many first-generation children who spend their entire childhood and adolescence in Chinese regions may find it, without proper guidance, extremely difficult to fit into the mainstream Canadian culture, and have thus isolated themselves individually or in a small group of Chinese-speaking Canadians. Among themselves they discuss Chinese popular music, news, and books, in Chinese. This trend may continue into university and after that into work, where they get employed in a Chinese Canadian-owned company. A small number of isolated Chinese Canadians immediately return to their birth countries or the USA after they receiv their education in Canada.

On the other hand, there are also those newcomers who try hard to participate in various aspects of Canadian society and strive to speak native-level English or French. But such embraces of Canadian culture do not necessarily guarantee a successful fit into Canadian society. They still find it difficult to get into any of the careers of their choice. As a result, some such people also have to return to China. But due to their high degree of acculturation into Canadian culture and the growing distance from Chinese culture, they sometimes have a difficult adjustment back into their Chinese society, most noticebly linguistically.


Some refer to those Chinese Canadians of later generations as "CBC" (Canadian-born Chinese), a parallel to ABC (American-born Chinese). While the name emphasizes their Chineseness, some "CBCs" themselves use it as well, usually simply out of convenience and may not fully agree with it.

Some of the labeled "Jook-sing" reject the possibility that China has anything to do with themselves as individuals.

Non-Canadian Chinese in Canada

Uneducated Fujianese refugees began arriving on Canada by boat in the late 20th century, but virtually none of them became Chinese Canadians and were mostly sent back to the People's Republic of China in a few months after time in isolated facilities.

See also: Asian Canadian, Chinese American

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