The City of Burnaby is acknowledging the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1923. Recognition of the centenary of this discriminatory legislation includes acknowledging historic discrimination by Burnaby’s municipal government against people of Chinese descent.
In February 2023, Burnaby City Council approved a process to review, acknowledge and apologize for its historic discrimination against people of Chinese descent, with the goal of advancing reconciliation with the Chinese Canadian community.
An advisory group will provide advice to staff for engaging with the community. The advisory group will be comprised of 2 City staff members of Chinese Canadian heritage, a historian/academic advisor, and up to 4 community members to include historic families, educators, and representatives of community organizations, with a focus on those that serve Burnaby’s Chinese Canadian communities.
In 2023, the City will host conversations with community stakeholders. Outreach and engagement will be delivered in Chinese languages as well as English. We look forward to providing more details on these opportunities soon.
Actions to date
As part of this process, the City has released a report detailing the discriminatory laws, regulations and policies of the City of Burnaby that targeted people of Chinese descent between 1892 and 1947. The City’s actions restricted the lives of Chinese Canadians in many ways, including:
- restricting voting rights
- advocating for discrimination
- restricting access to livelihood
- targeting enforcement and regulation of Chinese-owned businesses
- restricting access to land
The City is committed to reconciliation, including acknowledgement and a formal apology. The work is part of the City’s commitment to ensuring Burnaby is a place that is inclusive and welcoming to everyone.
Chinese Canadian history in Burnaby
Chinese Canadian community members in Burnaby were resilient in the face of discrimination and contributed to the development of Burnaby despite barriers they faced.
Additional information about Chinese Canadian contributions to Burnaby’s history can be found at the links below.