July 12, 2023

New findings on anti-Asian racism in Canada spur national coalition

National survey reveals an increase in violence and racism against Asian Canadians. New coalition launched by Canadian Race Relations Foundation to address current and historical forms of anti-Asian racism

(Toronto, July 12, 2023) – A new national, pan-Asian Coalition has released data which shows that physical attacks by strangers, personal intimidation and threats against Chinese Canadians have increased over the past two years.

Supported by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF), the Coalition Against Anti-Asian Racism (CAAARC) is Canada’s first national, pan-Asian coalition, with a mandate to address both current and historical forms of anti-Asian racism while confronting the model minority myth, bridging Asian Canadian communities and regions across the country, sharing knowledge, and advocating nationally on common concerns to inform policy recommendations.

The new study, undertaken in early 2023 in partnership between the Angus Reid Institute (ARI) and the CRRF, builds on previous research and expands the sample size to allow for a comparison between additional groups of Asian Canadians. While previous research has largely focused on Chinese and East Asian Canadians, the new study broadened its scope to include other Asian Canadian communities, revealing their experiences of anti-Asian racism.

Sampling 1,625 Canadian adults and 884 Asian Canadians, the study found that far too many hate incidents targeting Asian Canadians simply go unnoticed and unaddressed.  The survey found:

  • Asian Canadian men are 18 per cent more likely than Asian Canadian women to report a racist threat, intimidation or attack to the police, while Asian Canadian women are 23 per cent more likely than Asian Canadian men to tell only their friends and family.
  • At least one-quarter of all South Asians sampled reported that they faced discrimination or harassment over the past year and almost half of Filipino / Southeast Asian respondents described police in Canada as racist or prejudiced.
  • Chinese Canadians are reporting a threefold increase in physical attacks by strangers (9% in 2023, 3% in 2021)

This new data reveals that the under-reporting of hate crimes continues to be a significant problem for Asian Canadians. Many struggle to name and identify anti-Asian racism and due to a lack of trust in the justice system’s ability to adequately respond, do not report to the police. To help counter this, the CAAARC is focused on building local capacity within communities to understand, prevent and respond to anti-Asian racism, in order to encourage people to report it through channels they trust. The Coalition will also work on changing public narratives in ways that centre Asian Canadian realities and priorities, developing a research agenda to support public policy and creating and expanding spaces for Asian Canadian Coalition members and communities to convene, share knowledge and work together to end anti-Asian racism in Canada.

The CAAARC is led by a multi-generational steering committee whose 12 members and two co-chairs live and work all over Canada, represent diverse populations within Asian communities across the country, and have backgrounds and expertise in many sectors, including community organizations, education, public policy, the arts, and a variety of professions. Together, the CAAARC will make policy recommendations on concrete solutions to address the ongoing rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and racism.

 “Although the Chinese Exclusion Act ended in 1947, systemic racism directed at people of Asian origin in Canada has continued as a concerning, ongoing trend for decades. The fall-out of the COVID-19 pandemic was a more publicly visible instance in recent times, but Canada-China political relations are once again stoking the embers of anti-Asian sentiment. We must make sure we don’t allow this to slip into public policy as it did in the past,” said Teresa Woo-Paw, co-Chair of the Coalition Steering Committee.

“Asian Canadian communities are diverse, but the ugliness of racism is universal. As the first national, pan-Asian Canadian Coalition, we are uniquely placed to bring community groups together to address the rise in anti-Asian hate and the continuing systemic discrimination against all Asian Canadians,” said Manju Varma, co-Chair of the Coalition Steering Committee.

The Coalition will continue to share new research, public policy recommendations, events and opportunities to combat anti-Asian racism in Canada over the coming months.


Media Contact:

Anna Woodmass
NATIONAL Public Relations

 About the Canadian Race Relations Foundation

The Canadian Race Relations Foundation is a Crown Corporation committed to fighting racism in Canada. We work to strengthen the social fabric of our society by supporting, enabling and convening community groups and organizations through our grants, services and network of public, research and community partners.

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