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Resolving conflict and tension: follow-up on the Asian Canadian Angler Inquiry

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In April 2009, the OHRC 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 report highlighted the progress 22 organizations have made in response to reports of harassment and assaults against Asian Canadian anglers. The report also identified areas for improvement, and called for communities to continue working on and responding to incidents of racism.

Since starting the Inquiry in 2007, in partnership with the Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic, the number of reported incidents has decreased markedly. The OHRC has seen an increase in dialogue about hate activity and racial profiling and a heightened response to this issue by many organizations. Examples range from front-line police training on hate crimes, to school boards including classroom discussion of racism against Asian Canadian anglers.

This inquiry is an excellent example of the type of work the OHRC will continue to do in the future. It provided an environment for communities to work together to take action, and for affected communities to know more about their rights and how to protect them.

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,” the focus is on inclusion.

Asian Canadian Angler Inquiry – a short history

  • 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, on behalf of the Chinese Canadian and other Asian Canadian communities, holds a 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: OHRC launches inquiry in partnership with the Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic and other community partners
  • December 2007: OHRC releases its preliminary findings
  • May 2008: OHRC releases its report, Fishing without Fear, outlining the commitments and actions of 22 organizations.

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