Reports of Anti-Asian hate crimes are surging in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic
TORONTO -- Research shows that there has been a significant increase of hate crimes against Asian-Canadians since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with major cities seeing crime rates that are six and seven hundred percent higher than the previous year.
According to live data from Fight COVID Racism, there have been 891 reported incidents of anti-Asian hate crimes across Canada as of mid-day March 17.
Since the start of the pandemic, hate crimes against Asian-Canadians have been on the rise. In a report released by Statistics Canada in July 2020, the agency wrote that the proportion of visible minorities who experienced an increase in harassment or attacks based on their race, ethnicity, or skin colour has tripled compared to the rest of the population since the start of the pandemic, however, the largest increase was seen among Chinese, Korean, and Southeast Asian individuals.
“We have a long history of anti-Asian racism, with deep-seated prejudice and stereotypes,” Teresa Woo-Paw, chair of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, told CTVNews.ca on Wednesday. “Somehow, people actually still do not fully recognize that we do have anti-Asian racism in this country, and it’s also embedded in our systems as well as our daily lives.”
As Canada sees more hate crimes against Asian-Canadians during the pandemic, major cities have also reported surges in reported incidents.
In a report released by the Vancouver Police Department, anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 717 per cent from 2019 to 2020.
To date, British Columbia also surpasses any sub-national region in North America for having the most reported anti-Asian hate crime incidents per Asian capita. Project 1907 also reported that women in particular are disproportionately impacted, making up nearly 70 per cent of all reported incidents in the province.
The Ottawa Police Service reported that while overall hate crimes were up by approximately 57 per cent, hate crimes against East Asian and Southeast Asian people were up 600 per cent from 2019, with two reported incidents in 2019 and 14 reported incidents in 2020.
Montreal police (SPVM) said in an email to CTVNews.ca that 22 crimes and eight hate incidents toward Asian-Canadians were reported in Montreal between March and December 2020. Of the reported incidents, nearly 40 per cent were considered property crimes, mischief, or graffiti.
Research shows that Toronto has the second highest number of cases involving anti-Asian hate crimes, following Vancouver. Although the Toronto Police Service have not released their 2020 annual hate crime statistical report yet, a spokesperson for the police force said in an email to CTVNews.ca that they have seen an increase in hate-motivated incidents where race or ethnicity has been a factor, including incidents against Asian people.
According to Project 1907, Canada has a higher number of reported anti-Asian hate crime incidents per Asian capita compared to the U.S. Of the reported incidents here, 65 per cent account for verbal abuse and harassment, while approximately 30 per cent of reported incidents are assault.
“As members of the impacted communities, we feel the pain,” said Woo-Paw. “Many of the people who are members of the impacted community also think whether we might be next, whether our children will be next, so that level of anxiety, that fear that has been increasing – it’s real.”