Chinese railway workers made up the labour force for construction of two one-hundred mile sections of the Canadian Pacific Railway from the Pacific to Craigellachie in the Eagle Pass in British Columbia.The railway as a whole consisted of 28 such sections, 93% of which were constructed by workers of European origin. British Columbia politicians and their electorate agitated for an immigration program from the British Isles to provide this railway labour, but Prime Minister Sir John A.The five metropolitan areas with the largest Chinese Canadian populations are the Greater Toronto Area (537,060), Metro Vancouver (402,000), Greater Montreal (120,000), Calgary Region (75,410), and the Edmonton Capital Region (53,670).
These workers accepted the terms offered by the Chinese labour contractors who were engaged by the railway construction company to hire them—low pay, long hours, lower wages than non-Chinese workers and dangerous working conditions, in order to support their families that stayed in China.
Their willingness to endure hardship for low wages enraged fellow non-Chinese workers who thought they were unnecessarily complicating the labour market situations.
In Alberta, for example, Chinese-Canadians received relief payments of less than half the amount paid to other Canadians.
And because The Chinese Exclusion Act prohibited any additional immigration from China, the Chinese men who had arrived earlier had to face these hardships alone, without the companionship of their wives and children.
They comprise a subgroup of East Asian Canadians which is a further subgroup of Asian Canadians.
Demographic research tends to include immigrants from Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau as well as overseas Chinese who have immigrated from South East Asia and South America into the broadly defined Chinese Canadian category as Stats Can refers to Taiwanese Canadians as a separate group apart from Chinese Canadians.In 1923, the federal Liberal government of William Lyon Mackenzie King banned Chinese immigration with the passage of the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923, although numerous exemptions for businessmen, clergy, students and others did not end immigration entirely.With this act, the Chinese received similar legal treatment to blacks before them who Canada also had specifically excluded from immigration on the basis of race.The same year, 1947, Chinese-Canadians were finally granted the right to vote in federal elections.However, it took another 20 years, until the points system was adopted for selecting immigrants, for the Chinese to begin to be admitted under the same criteria as any other applicants.Canada was slow to lift the restrictions against the Chinese-Canadians and grant them full rights as Canadian citizens.