For immediate publication
Toronto - The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) today released its final report on the Inquiry into Assaults on Asian Canadian Anglers. Entitled Fishing without Fear: Follow-up report on the Inquiry into Assaults on Asian Canadian Anglers, this follow-up report highlights the progress 22 organizations have made in response to reports of harassment and assaults against Asian Canadian anglers. The report also identifies areas for improvement, and calls for communities to continue working on and responding to incidents of racism.
Since starting the Inquiry, in partnership with the Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic, in November 2007, the Commission has seen an increase in dialogue about hate activity and racial profiling and a heightened response to this issue by many organizations. Examples of these responses include:
- The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the York Regional Police (YRP) increased their presence in key areas where there had been prior incidents
- A poster campaign from the YRP and the OPP informed anglers of all backgrounds they could “Fish without Fear” and provided safety tips
- The OPP released a front-line officer training video on hate crimes
- The Ministry of the Attorney General agreed to train 70 Crown Attorneys on how to prosecute hate crimes
- Many different school boards invited the police and the OHRC to give presentations on the angler incidents to students
- The Ministry of Natural Resources included an anti-racism message in its 2009 fishing regulations.
Chief Commissioner Hall stated, “When communities take action, things can change. Now, members of the affected communities know more about their rights and how to respond to and prevent hate activity. We hope victims feel more comfortable coming forward and reporting incidents. As Ontario continues to become more diverse, new opportunities arise every day – both for inclusion and hate activity. When leaders from a wide range of organizations all step in and say, ‘racism and hate have no place in our community,’ it sends a consistent and effective message.”
Hate activity and racism are problems that need ongoing attention. The OHRC will continue to work closely with communities so that when issues of tension and conflict arise, they know how to deal with them.
To view the Commission’s follow-up report to Fishing without Fear or the earlier reports on the Commission’s Inquiry, visit www.ohrc.on.ca.
- Spring and summer 2007: incidents first reported in the Chinese-language media
- September 2007: first article in the Toronto Star about incidents of assault in the Lake Simcoe region
- September 2007: Community Reference Group, representing the Chinese Canadian and other Asian Canadian communities, holds press conference, calling for the incidents to be treated as hate crimes
- October 2007: Peterborough Community and Race Relations Committee publicizes its concerns and forms a community-based coalition
- November 2007: Commission launches inquiry in partnership with the Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic and other community partners
- December 2007: Commission releases its Preliminary Findings
- May 2008: Commission releases its report, Fishing without Fear, which outlines the commitments of 22 organizations in response to reports of assault and harassment of anglers.
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Sr. Communications Officer
Communications and Issues Management