Preserving our immigration history.


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 Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. We offer a range of information about that significant movement.


Data on Vietnamese migrants to the USA

This study assesses the more than 1.3 million Vietnamese immigrants who resided in the United States in 2022, representing approximately 3 percent of all 46.2 million U.S. immigrants. Compared to other immigrants, those from Vietnam are much more likely to be naturalized U.S. citizens and to have resided in the United States for an extended period. They are also more likely to have lower education levels and report speaking English less than very well. Still, they report higher median household incomes than immigrant and U.S.-born populations.

  • 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 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 focus 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 after 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.