Ottawa’s welcoming and inclusive community is one of the things that makes our city a great place to live. Ottawa’s population is made up of diverse residents from different cultures and backgrounds, all of whom contribute to our community’s vibrancy, prosperity and good quality of life.
Ottawa prides itself on our multiculturalism. But since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our city has seen increasing reports of hate incidents targeting Asian residents. Although anti-Asian racism previously existed in Ottawa, the pandemic has created a new form of anti-Asian racism that links China and the novel coronavirus.
The Ottawa Police Service Hate and Bias Crime Unit received 15 reports of hate incidents against people of Asian descent in 2020, compared to two reports in 2019. These numbers reflect just reported cases, with many going unreported. Members of Ottawa’s Asian community have reported being targets of verbal threats, intimidation and even physical attacks.
Ottawa isn’t the only city in Canada experiencing a rise in anti-Asian racism. Data shows that assaults and verbal threats toward Asian-Canadians have grown significantly since the start of the pandemic. In addition to being called names and experiencing threats and intimidation, some Asian-Canadians report that they have needed to adjust their routines to avoid unpleasant encounters.
Ottawa’s Asian residents are an important part of our community, making numerous contributions to our city and helping make Ottawa vibrant and dynamic.
The City of Ottawa condemns all forms of racism. Municipal government plays a leading role in identifying and challenging systemic racism. Led by its Anti-Racism Secretariat, the City is committed to advancing a more inclusive and responsive municipal government, to ensure all people are served equitably. The secretariat is also working to increase public awareness of racism and to provide tools for anti-racism education.
Systemic racism is a community issue that requires community solutions. Every resident has a role to play to uphold the values of equity, allyship and inclusiveness so every resident feels comfortable and secure to call Ottawa home.
The City has launched an anti-Asian racism campaign. The campaign, which was spearheaded by Councillor Rawlson King, the City’s Council Liaison for Anti-Racism and Ethnocultural Relations, sends the message that anti-Asian racism has no place in Ottawa and encourages all residents to be an ally and speak out against racism. You can see the campaign on the City’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.
Our goal is to create a welcoming, inclusive, safe and healthy city – for everyone.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone. It’s important to practice kindness toward all residents.