The Indochinese refugee movement
All photographs are copyrighted.
In 1975, Canada’s largest reception and resettlement of refugees began. From then through to 1999, close to 130,000 Indochinese refugees, including some 60,000 in 1979-80 alone, came to Canada from Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos. We offer a range of information about that significant movement.
- CIHS & York University Centre for Refugee Studies partnershipThe Society and the Refugee Studies Centre are collaborating on initiatives to mark the fortieth anniversary.
- Presentation of the UNCR Nansen Medal to the ‘people of Canada’The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees presented ‘the people of Canada’ with the Nansen Medal in recognition of the country’s efforts on behalf of refugees – the first time an entire nation was so recognized.
- Rene Pappone’s book:
“The Hai Hong: Profit, Tears and Joy” (2015) by author Rene Pappone is about a refugee ship that drew world attention to a growing refugee crisis in Southeast Asia, setting Canada on the road to the largest refugee resettlement operation in its history. The book is available by mail order from the CIHS for $20 per copy mailed to a Canadian address.
- Senator Ngo’s bill (or Act) The Journey to Freedom Day Act is the work of Senator Ngo. The bill’s progress can be monitored online.
- Media Coverage Some newspaper articles and radio items focussing on the anniversary.
- On this site, stories from Vietnamese refugees who came to Canada and others involved in the movement are gathered and shared.
Carleton University and Hearts of Freedom
The Society collaborates with Ottawa’s Carleton University in an oral history project with the Department of Social Work and the MacOdrum Library. The project will create an archive of the stories of southeast Asian refugees who arrived in Canada in the wake of the fall of Vietnam in the late seventies and early eighties. In the first phase we will collect 110 ninety minute oral histories from former Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian refugees living in Ontario and Quebec as well as former sponsors, officials and people involved in organizations like Operation Lifeline and Project 4000. Funding permitting we will collect 100 more in the west and the Maritimes.