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Asian Canadian leaders launch new toolkit to respond to hate incidents

Initiative aims to improve reporting of anti-Asian discrimination
September 15, 2020
Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex building

Part of a new initiative, Ryerson University has formed the Ryerson Advisory Committee to Combat Anti-Asian Racism.

A group of prominent Asian Canadian leaders have joined together to launch a new resource to respond to the increased incidents of violence and hate towards Asian Canadians, spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Responding to Hate, external link toolkit delves into the differences between hate crimes, hate incidents and acts of discrimination, and directs victims and witnesses on how to respond to each with a list of resources. 

The group’s aim is to use the strong influence of its members, along with the university network, to improve reporting of incidents of hate or discrimination, and to ultimately change the narrative, speaking to the positive contributions of Asian Canadians.

The group’s founding members include Judge Maryka Omatsu, the first East Asian woman to be appointed a judge in Canada, as well as a team from Ryerson University that includes Chancellor Janice Fukakusa, Dean of Arts Pamela Sugiman, and Julia Shin Doi, general counsel and secretary of the Board of Governors and university privacy officer.

Risk that anti-Asian sentiment will continue to spread across the country

According to recent data, external link released by Statistics Canada, more than 30 per cent of Canadians who identified as Chinese said they have perceived an increase in harassment or attacks on the basis of race, ethnicity, or skin colour in their neighbourhoods since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by 27 per cent of those who identified as Korean. 

“Despite these alarming statistics, many victims of and witnesses to acts of anti-Asian hate or discrimination remain reluctant to report them,” explains Fukakusa. “Most aren’t even aware of the options available to them for addressing these incidents. This is why it is important to educate Asian Canadians on the services and support available.”

To ensure multi language accessibility, members from the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, in partnership with the Chinese Canadian National Council, Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic, and Korean Legal Clinic have also created a guide on the website that is available for download in Chinese, Korean, Tagalog and Vietnamese.

Ryerson University to continue working to address anti-Asian racism, forms the Ryerson Advisory Committee to Combat Anti-Asian Racism

In order to continue to examine the effects of anti-Asian racism and discrimination, and to provide ongoing ideas and recommendations to stop the hate, Ryerson University has formed an advisory group of academic researchers and faculty led by Julia Shin Doi. All future updates and developments by this committee will be found at the website, www.responding to hate.ca.

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