SASKATOON -- There has been a disturbing surge of anti-Asian hate, including physical assaults against children and elderly people being spat on, according to a first-of-its-kind report that breaks down the specific types of attacks that have occurred during the pandemic.

The new report, released by several advocacy groups including the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter, looks at more than 1,150 cases of racist attacks reported through online platforms such as Fight COVID Racism and Elimin8hate.

Between March 10 to Dec. 31, 2020, 643 complaints were submitted and analyzed, with the rest being recorded afterwards but not being included in the analysis.

One in 10 of all cases involved being people being coughed or spat on; with 11 per cent involving unwanted touching or physical assault. And one in five attacks occurred in restaurants and grocery stores -- making them the second-most-frequent sites for racist attacks, after public spaces like parks, streets or sidewalks, which made up half of all reported cases.

“Collectively and individually, these racist incidents have resulted in deep and long-lasting impacts on the Asian Canadian community as a whole,” Avvy Go, clinic director of the Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic, said in a press release, adding that behind every number are people whose lives were changed forever by racism.

The authors said racist and false ideas about the spread of COVID-19 fuelled the spike in hate.

The findings, compiled in a report entitled “A Year of Racist Attacks: Anti-Asian Racism Across Canada One Year into the Pandemic,” was released one week after a deadly shooting in the United States that claimed the lives of eight people, including six Asian women. And it details the distressing surge of anti-Asian attacks across Canada and the U.S. that have been reported during the pandemic.

Kennes Lin, co-chair at Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter, urged people to “remember this is only a snapshot of the anti-Asian racism happening in Canada, and across the world right at this moment.”

The report also documented a recent surge in anti-Asian hate in the past several months alone, as nearly half of the 1,150 attacks reported have taken place since January.

Another of the troubling aspects of this latest report is that children were more likely to be on the receiving end of physical attacks than adults. Children also reported significant mental and emotional trauma in rates that outpaced all other age groups.

Those 18 and younger and older adults were more likely to report being physically assaulted (42 and 57 per cent respectively) than adults younger than 35.

Go and the others involved in compiling the report all urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other lawmakers to do more than utter “empty rhetoric,” and outline concrete actions, including more education on combating stereotypes and supporting spaces where people can share stories about their identity and attacks.

"Asian Canadian communities cannot afford to wait,” Amy Go, president of the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice, said. “We need further government support for people who experienced hate incidents. Survivors need to provided with culturally appropriate support and resources to recover from these racist attacks and encounters.”

Mental health and psychological experts have previously told that many East Asian people across Canada and the United States are likely suffering from “vicarious trauma,” after seeing waves of those who look like them being killed or racistly attacked.

The new report seems to bear this out, especially in those who reported their incidents in Chinese.

Those who reported what happened to them in Chinese were 34 per cent more likely to report feeling emotional distress than those who reported their incidents in English.

Marie Claude Landry, the chief commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, said the report clearly showed a “disturbing rise in anti-Asian hate and COVID-driven racism.”

My hope is that today’s report, and the powerful data it presents, can be used as a tool to confirm and confront this growing problem in Canada. It is at a crisis point,” she said.