This year marks the 20th anniversary since the Government of Canada declared May as Asian Heritage Month. This milestone is an opportunity to celebrate the profound contributions of Asian Canadians to Canada and to reflect on historical and present anti-Asian discrimination in our country.
According to a Statistics Canada report, police reported hate crimes increased 37% from 2019 to 2020. Hate crimes against the East or Southeast Asian population increased 301% in the same time frame. The report showed that the rates of hate crimes per 100,000 population increased by 39% in Alberta.
The Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter and Project 1907 have been collecting self-reported and witness-reported incidents of anti-Asian racism in Canada in their online platform since 2020. A recent report showed an increase of 47% in the number of reports of anti-Asian racism in 2021 compared to 2020. Reports by children and adolescents increased by 286%. Reports of online hate and racism increased by 132%.
Anti-Asian discrimination is not new to Canada. The project Road to Justice, undertaken by the Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic, presents an account of the historical use of law by governments in Canada as a tool to exclude, restrict or otherwise control the lives of people of Chinese descent.
Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, released a statement about Asian Heritage Month recognizing that “there has been a frightening rise of anti-Asian hate crimes and hate-fuelled incidents against Asian communities since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.” He said the Government of Canada is developing the first National Action Plan on Combatting Hate and a new Anti-Racism Strategy.
The Alberta Law Foundation is proud to fund and support anti-racism research and legal services for Asian Albertans:
- Diversecities (formerly Calgary Chinese Community Service Association) Law & Advocacy Program helps individuals from marginalized communities, especially Chinese-speaking Calgarians, navigate legal issues and systems, and builds community capacity through legal literacy educational programs.
- Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre conducts anti-racism research and education, and recently wrote an article about anti-Asian discrimination.
- Legal Aid Alberta, community and student legal clinics in Alberta support clients of Asian heritage with legal advice and representation.
To learn more about significant events in history of Canadians of Asian heritage, visit this Government of Canada webpage.
For online tours to experience Asian culture and nature, visit the following: