Fonds F008 - Greater Toronto Chapter of the National Association of Japanese Canadians fonds

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CA EAL F008

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Greater Toronto Chapter of the National Association of Japanese Canadians fonds

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(1947-)

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The Greater Toronto Chapter of the National Association of Japanese Canadians has its history stemming from the National Japanese Canadian Citizens Association (NJCCA). Founded in 1947 by Roger Obata and other nisei leaders, the NJCCA was the first national organization by Japanese Canadians. Japanese Canadians were still disenfranchised and facing injustice from the unlawful dispossession of the community. In April 1980, the NJCCA changed their name to the NAJC, though many chapters, including the Toronto chapter kept NJCCA in their name.

1977 marked the centennial of the fist issei, Nagano Manzo, arriving in Canada. This large community celebration brought many Japanese Canadians together, and informal discussion of redress began. By the early 80s, friction between members in the Toronto JCCA began and stemmed from whether redress should include individual compensation, representing the huge loss of assets and work during the internment. Many members of the Toronto JCCA felt that the Toronto chapter was not representing the views of the majority, nor aligned with the NAJC on the national level. To protest this, members created the North York Chapter of the NAJC, which later would be renamed to the Greater Toronto NAJC, headed by Wes Fujiwara. Between 1983 and 1984, the nonpartisan group Sodan-Kai helped bring together and facilitate discussions between the Toronto JCCA and those who believed redress should include recognition of individual loss. In their efforts to seek redress, the NAJC had the Price Waterhouse Associates assess the loss endured by the Japanese Canadian community from the internment. This was calculated to income and property losses at not less than $443 million in 1986 dollar. The Greater Toronto NAJC organized and led many demonstrations demanding the Canadian government recognize their racist actions towards the Japanese Canadians and offer redress. These demonstrations include the Ottawa rally in April 1980 where many prominent members of the Japanese Canadian community met with Minister of State for Multiculturalism Gerry Weiner, opening up the discussion for redress.

On September 22, 1988, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney announces a Redress Settlement negotiated between the National Association of Japanese Canadians and the federal government. The Redress Settlement acknowledged injustices against Japanese Canadians during and after World War II, provide a payment of $21,000 to all Japanese Canadians affected by the provisions of the War Measures Act, expunge criminal records of those charged with offenses stemming from violation of provisions of the War Measures Act, re-instate citizenship of those exiled to Japan, establish a $12million community fund to help rebuild community infrastructure, and provide $24million to establish the Canadian Race Relations Foundation

Toronto became the Eastern Regional Office for the Redress Advisory and Assistance Committee, aiding field workers as they intern aided members of the Japanese Canadian community complete their redress forms. The Eastern Regional Office also worked with members of the community re-apply or appeal unsatisfactory decisions regarding their Redress applications.

After winning the battle for Redress, the Greater Toronto chapter of the NAJC continues to seek justice and support marginalized communities who have faced discrimination from the Canadian government and elsewhere.

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Created April 27, 2023 by E Carroll.

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