Blog: Asian Canadians’ safety amidst the pandemic

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Edmonton Social Planning Council
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Starting this past summer, ESPC has released a series of posts focusing on racism in Canada: its history and influence on those working to dismantle systems of oppression. Racism and discrimination are deeply rooted in the structures in which we operate, and the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted these systemic inequities.

With the rising coverage of hate crimes targeting Asian Americans in the United States, it would be unwise to think that these discriminatory behaviours are not present within Canadian borders. Reports released by Statistics Canada (2020) found that Asian Canadians perceived an increase in race-based discrimination, which has risen since the pandemic’s onset. Specifically, 18% of visible minority participants perceived an increase in the frequency of harassment or attacks based on race, ethnicity or skin colour—three times greater than the rest of the population (6%). Chinese (30%), Korean (27%), and Southeast Asian (19%) participants were disproportionately more likely to perceive these kinds of threats. Moreover, the reports demonstrated that Asian Canadians were more likely to experience discrimination in public areas, and that harassment was typically based on race or skin colour. More visible minority groups have accessed victim support services since the pandemic began.

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