Asian Heritage Month is an important occasion for all Canadians to come together to celebrate and recognize the diverse cultural contributions of Asian communities in our country. This month-long celebration has been a cherished tradition in Canada since the 1990s and was officially recognized by the federal government in May 2002.
ATU Local 113 expresses our appreciation for the invaluable contributions that our own members of Asian communities have made to our city and to Canada’s rich cultural heritage.
Canada’s multicultural society has greatly benefited from the contributions of Asian populations, who make up nearly 22% of the country’s population. The distinct cultural heritage, history, and customs that members of Asian communities have brought to Canada have added to the vibrant tapestry of our nation. Asian Canadian cultures in Canada include, but are not limited to:
- East Asia: China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Taiwan
- Southeast Asia: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, East Timor, Vietnam
- South Asia: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
- Western Asia: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, State of Palestine, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
- Central Asia: Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan
Human Rights Activism and Anti-Asian Racism in Canada
The selfless activism of people of Asian heritage for social justice and human rights in Canada and their fight against oppression has contributed significantly to the growth of our labour movement and communities. The Asian community in Canada has endured discrimination and injustice, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act, the Head Tax, the exploitation of Chinese railway workers, the internment of Japanese Canadians during World War II, and the Komagata Maru incident. These struggles have left their stamp on Canadian history, and their influence is still felt today.
Sadly, racism towards Asians is still present in Canada today. Anti-Asian hate has alarmingly increased since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, with women disproportionately affected by the rise in anti-Asian racism. It is essential to collaborate as a society to combat structural racism and advance social justice and equality for all.