The War Measures Act (enacted in August 1914, replaced by the Emergencies Act in 1988) was a Canadian law that allowed the government to assume sweeping emergency powers. Under the Act, the government of Canada compelled all adult persons of Japanese ancestry (Japanese nationals and Canadian citizens by birth or naturalization) to register with the RCMP in March 1941. After the outbreak of the war in the Asia Pacific the federal government, at the instigation of racist politicians from British Columbia, used the Act to order the removal of all Japanese Canadians, deemed enemy aliens, residing within 100 miles of the Pacific coast.
In December 1941, the Government of Canada began confiscating from Nikkei their boats, cars, radios, and cameras. By February 1942, under the War Measures Act the government was empowered to remove all Nikkei from the coast to points in the British Columbia interior and beyond. Men were removed first, forced to leave their families to work in road camps.