Burnaby City Council has approved a process to review, acknowledge and apologize for historic discrimination by Burnaby’s municipal government against people of Chinese descent, with the goal of advancing reconciliation with the Chinese Canadian community.
This spring, the City will convene an advisory committee and connect with residents to identify specific recommendations to address historical discrimination, including acknowledgement and a formal apology.
The advisory committee will be comprised of two City staff members of Chinese Canadian heritage, a historian/academic advisor, and up to four community members to include historic families, educators, and representatives of community organizations, with a focus on those that serve Burnaby’s Chinese Canadian communities.
“For far too long, Chinese Canadians were subjected to systemic and targeted discrimination from all levels of government in Canada and the effects of those discriminatory policies continue to be felt in our community today,” said Mayor Mike Hurley. “We cannot hide from our past – but we can commit to spending the time and effort to better understand the struggles this community faced, and how we might move forward together.”
City staff have already produced a report outlining a history of 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
Staff will also conduct proactive outreach to Burnaby-based community groups and cultural groups, and host open house conversations with community stakeholders. Outreach and engagement will be delivered in Chinese languages as well as English.
Learn More: Framework for Reconciliation with Burnaby’s Chinese Canadian Community [Staff Report]
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