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Fishing without fear: Follow-up report on the Inquiry into assaults on Asian Canadian anglers

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The goal of this report is to identify the progress of the commitments made by 22 organizations across Ontario in response to the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s (“Commission”) Inquiry into Assaults on Asian Canadian Anglers. From these commitments, best practices can be drawn. The Commission has also been monitoring any further incidents, and a description of these is provided.

The following are highlights of some of the activities that occurred prior to and during the 2008 fishing season, many of which were the result of commitments made during the Inquiry:

  • The Ontario Provincial Police (“OPP”) and the York Regional Police (“YRP”) increased their presence in key areas where there had been prior incidents. 
  • Many elementary and high school students were educated on hate crimes and the angler incidents. 
  • A poster campaign from the York Regional Police and the OPP informed anglers of all backgrounds they could “Fish without Fear” and provided safety tips. 
  • The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters told members that everyone has the right to be free from harassment regardless of race. It also stated that members should not take the law into their own hands if they see someone breaking the law or being harassed, but to call the authorities. 
  • On June 8, 2008, York Regional Police, along with the Town of Georgina, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Ministry of Natural Resources held the first “Safe Shores Fishing and Information Day” in the town of Georgina. The goal was to welcome all anglers back to the shores of Lake Simcoe for another season of fishing, with particular outreach to people from Asian Canadian communities. 
  • Seminars were held by Ontario fishing and hunting clubs with many Asian-Canadian members (entitled the “No Fear Fishing Seminar”) to explain provincial fishing regulations and discuss the ways to avoid being harassed or attacked (for example by stopping fishing and leaving the waterside), and how to get help by calling the police at 9-1-1. 
  • The Ministry of Natural Resources (“MNR”), in collaboration with Commission staff, initiated the development of a training program for conservation officers and park wardens on racial profiling and race-related complaints. 
  • The Town of Georgina established a diversity and equity committee, which plans to develop a protocol for how a municipality can address issues of racism. 
  • The City of Kawartha Lakes passed a motion to join the Coalition of Municipalities against Racism and Discrimination. 
  • The York Regional Police integrated examples of the angler incidents into its training program for officers on hate crimes. 
  • The Ministry of Education began to develop materials to integrate examples of the angler incidents and a discussion of racism and hate activity into the curriculum.
  • The Ministry of the Attorney General (“MAG”) agreed to train 70 Crown Attorneys on awareness of how to prosecute hate crimes. 
  • The Commission and MAG are looking at proposals to develop a large-scale social marketing campaign around awareness of hate activity. 

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