Over 1,100 anti-Asian attacks in Canada have been reported one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, with 10% of incidents involving being spat or coughed on.
On Tuesday, the Chinese Canadian National Council — Toronto Chapter (CCNC) released a report showing the discriminatory attacks Asian Canadians faced over the last year.
From March 10, 2020, to February 28, 2021, 1,150 cases of racist attacks were reported across Canada on the CCNC web platforms. A total of 835 cases were reported on covidracism.ca, and 315 cases were reported on elimin8hate.org.
Of these incidents, 10% reported being coughed or spat on.
“It is important to highlight the significance of being coughed at and spat on. Both of these acts are deeply disturbing and represent very direct violence against Chinese and Asian individuals,” the report said.
“Not only is being coughed and spat at a form of attack and a form disrespect, but in the COVID-19 pandemic, it is also a direct attempt at subjecting and exposing Chinese and Asian Canadians to the biohazardous realities of COVID-19. It is to say, ‘You Chinese people and Asian are not only responsible, but I’m going to make sure you get this COVID-19.'”
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The report also said that 40% of incidents occurred in Ontario, and 44% took place in BC.
And, 11% of all reported attacks and incidents contained a violent physical assault and/or unwanted physical contact.
It was noted that those who identify as women represented close to 60% of all reported cases, while those who identify as men are twice as likely to report a physical assault.
According to the report, the East Asian community accounts for 84% of all incidents, with Southeast Asians accounting for 6%. While many of the attacks happened in public spaces, the food sector, like grocery stores or restaurants, were prominent sites of racist attacks accounting for almost a fifth of those reported.
In order to combat the rise in anti-Asian racism, the CCNC recommended four key steps to address discrimination against Asian Canadians:
- Recognition from all levels of government with community-based and culturally specific supports and the implementation of policies to prevent misinformation about Asian Canadians in the media.
- To adopt a targeted approach to ensure the most vulnerable are protected, including seniors, those with limited English fluency, low-income individuals, frontline workers, and women.
- Enhanced supports and a recovery support strategy for essential workers in the restaurant, food, and grocery sector.
- Protection for Asian frontline and essential workers, including paid sick days, income support, and immigration safety.
“Asian Canadian communities not only face the challenges of COVID-19 (the social, economic, and health implications of which has disproportionately impacted racialized communities), but also the added racism that sees our communities as somehow responsible for COVID-19 and its horrific damages,” the report said.
The CCNC called for dedicated policymakers to address anti-Asian racism and societal recognition of how racism perpetuates falsehoods about the Asian community.
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