Location: mainly west coast of Canada
Religion: various
Language: Japanese, English

Japanese-Canadians are the descendants of immigrants from Japan, most of whom settled on the Pacific seaboard of Canada in the early twentieth century. Like Japanese-Americans they were interned and deported en masse from certain areas during World War II.

In 1942, 22,000 Japanese-Canadians were removed from the west coast and “relocated” to “exclusion centres”. This was supposedly for reasons of national security although the then Prime Minister disclosed to the House of Commons in 1944 that “no person of Japanese race born in Canada has been charged with any act of sabotage or disloyalty during the years of war”. Japanese-Canadian property was impounded and sold at low prices by the government in 1943 and the costs of internment deducted from the proceeds. The camps were not emptied until 1947 and Japanese-Canadians were not allowed to return to the west coast until 1949. Some Japanese-Canadians were deported and exiled after the war.

The Bird Commission awarded Japanese-Canadians compensation of $1.3m for 1,400 claims. This amount is widely regarded as inadequate but to date no further compensation is forthcoming for the estimated 12,000 survivors of the relocation. Although later governments have expressed regret for the actions against the community, to date there has been no formal apology by the government. Today Japanese-Canadians are asking for an assessment of losses and compensation, a formal apology and constitutional safeguards (including a review of the War Measures Act) to ensure that similar actions cannot take place in the future.

(See also Japanese-Americans)