Timeline: Changes in Citizenship and Rights, Canada 1900-1945 [and Beyond]

[1867 

First Nations men had the right to vote in federal elections, but only if they denied their Aboriginal heritage and renounced their right to be considered members of their home communities.]

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1900  

Only people who have the right to vote in a provincial election can vote in a federal election. Although Black-Canadian men can vote and participate in local government — if they meet income, property ownership, and age (over 21) requirements — all women and many people who belong to visible minorities, including most Aboriginal persons, can not vote.

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1902 

People of Chinese and Japanese heritage, and First Nations persons, are denied the provincial vote in British Columbia (so are denied the federal vote).

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1906 

Federal Immigration Act allows the government to deport immigrants if within 2 years of arriving they are deemed financially burdensome, insane, infirm, diseased, handicapped, or they commit crimes of ‘moral turpitude,’ or they are jailed or hospitalized.

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1907

‘Hindus’ are denied the provincial vote in BC, so do not qualify to vote federally (most of those denied the right were actually Sikhs from the Punjab).

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1908    

In BC, women who own households are deprived of the municipal vote, and people identified as Chinese, Japanese, ‘Asiatic,’ and First Nations are also denied it. [“Asia” is conceived broadly, going as far west as Turkey and Syria.]

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1909 

Chinese-Canadians are denied the provincial vote in Saskatchewan, so cannot vote federally.

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1910  

Alberta grants municipal vote to widows and ‘spinsters’ but not to married women.

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1911   

Section 38 of the Immigration Act, prohibits for 1 year “any immigrants belonging to the Negro race, which race is deemed unsuitable to the climate and requirements of Canada.”

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1913   

Ontario Schools Question crisis sees French almost banned in schools; English becomes official language of instruction.

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1914  

War Measures Act declared in force. ‘Enemy aliens’ must register, their rights are limited, and 8,500 men are interned in work camps.

First Nations enlisted military men gain the vote (while in service only).

Immigration is effectively closed to Indians [people from India].

Saskatchewan prohibits Chinese businesses from hiring ‘white’ women.

Ontario prohibits ‘Oriental’ businesses from hiring ‘white’ women.

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1915 

The right to vote by mail is granted to military electors in active service.

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1916

Women whose ethnic group is not excluded gain the right to the provincial vote in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.

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1917 

British Columbia and Ontario extend the vote to women whose ethnic group is not excluded.

 Military Voters Bill allows military personnel overseas to vote and have their votes transferred to ridings in Canada as the government saw fit — the votes are used to change the outcome in 14 ridings.

 Wartime Elections Bill allows women who are British subjects and have close relatives in the armed forces to vote in federal elections. Civilian men who do not meet the property requirement but who have a son or grandson in the army are temporarily given the right to vote. Mennonite and Doukhobour men lose their voting rights along with all conscientious objectors and all citizens naturalized since 1902, who were originally from ‘enemy alien’ (meaning non-English speaking), countries.

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1918    

First Nations veterans lose the vote.

Women whose ethnic group is not excluded gain the federal vote across Canada, and the provincial vote in Nova Scotia.

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1919    

Mennonites are denied entry into Canada.

Ontario and the Yukon Territories extend the vote to women not excluded on the basis of their ethnicity.

Saskatchewan drops restriction on Chinese business’ hiring policies (with respect to ‘white’ female employees).

Women whose ethnic group is not excluded gain the provincial vote in New Brunswick.

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1920   

Immigration of Indians is allowed.

The right to vote in federal elections is now established by federal, not provincial, law. British subjects by birth or naturalization are qualified to vote, but some foreign-born citizens continue to be excluded.

Mennonites regain voting rights.

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1922

Women whose ethnic group is not excluded gain the provincial vote in New Brunswick.

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1923

Mennonites are allowed entry to Canada.

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1928   

Alberta passes the Sexual Sterilization Act, allowing the sterilization of any person deemed ‘mentally defective.’

Supreme Court decides women are not ‘persons’ under the law and cannot serve on the Senate.

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1929 

England’s Privy Council overturns the Canadian Supreme Court ruling and declares women are legal persons.

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1938               

‘Race’ as reason to deny the federal vote is re-protected by legislation.

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1939

Chinese-, Japanese-, Hindu- or Indian-Canadians are again denied the right to vote in provincial elections in B.C.

First Nations men serving in the military gain the vote.

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1940 

Women whose ethnic group is not excluded gain the vote in Quebec.

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1941 

Japanese-Canadians are interned.

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1942

Canada and 25 other countries sign the United Nations Declaration.

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[1947 

Chinese- and Indo-Canadians (‘Hindus’) gain the vote in BC; Doukhobors, Hutterites, and Mennonites are denied provincial and federal voting rights unless they have served in the armed forces.

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1948  

Universal Declaration of Human Rights is adopted by the United Nations; Canada, after showing some reluctance, signs.

‘Race’ is no longer allowed as a reason to deny the right to vote.

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1949  

Japanese-Canadians gain the vote in BC.

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1950

Inuit men and women gain the vote.

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1953

Doukhobors gain the vote in BC.

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1955 

Ban on conscientious objectors having the right to vote is lifted: Doukhobors, Mennonites, and  Hutterites gain the vote across Canada.

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1960

Canadian Bill of Rights is enacted.

All First Nations men and women gain the vote.

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1962    

‘Racial’ rules are eliminated from the immigration laws.

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1972    

Alberta’s sterilization Act is repealed.

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1977

Canadian Human Rights Act is passed.

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1982

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is enacted as part of the Constitution Act.

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1993  

Some prisoners gain the right to vote]

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7 Responses to Timeline: Changes in Citizenship and Rights, Canada 1900-1945 [and Beyond]

  1. Pingback: Alex Decoteau – July 19, 1916 | My Site/Blog

  2. Brendan says:

    Very informative timeline/
    When was all the information on this webpage put together? I need to cite it for a history assignment.

  3. Pingback: Peter Murray Marshall, Maurice’s older brother, c 1916 | Imagine Antigonish

  4. kindredhuman says:

    We have come a long way!! Great timeline!

  5. Kendra Dawn says:

    Do you have a source?

  6. Pingback: Canadian Research | Kim Heinrichs's Class

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