May 2021: Celebrate Canada’s Asian Heritage Month
Dear colleagues and friends,
May is Asian Heritage Month in Canada, a time to highlight the pan-Asian diversity of cultures and peoples, and recognize the extraordinary contributions that communities of Asian descent in Canada have made and continue to make to the growth and prosperity of Canada.
This year’s theme, “Recognition, Resilience, and Resolve,” embodies the myriad of sentiments that peoples of Asian descent in Canada have experienced, and honors their contributions and their diverse stories, which are rooted in resilience and perseverance. It is also a call to action for all Canadians to come together to combat all forms of anti-Asian racism and discrimination.
Asian Heritage Month has been celebrated across Canada since the 1990s. In 2002, May was officially declared as Asian Heritage Month by the Government of Canada, following the adoption of the motion proposed by Senator Vivienne Poy.
Asian Canadians are a diverse group of people who trace their ancestry from more than 20 different countries with their own unique cultural fabric. They are considered among the “Visible Minorities” and may be further classified as East Asian Canadians, South Asian Canadians, Southeast Asian Canadians, and West Asian Canadians. According to 2016 Census, Asian Canadians constitute 17.69% of Canadian population.
Asian Heritage Month provides all Canadians the opportunity to honor and celebrate the invaluable contributions that Canadians of Asian descent have made to our country since the first group of Asians from China arrived to settle in Canada in 1788. Asian Canadians have not only physically helped to build Canada, but also culturally enriched its diversity, which has become an important characteristic of Canada. They have helped make our country what it is today in every aspect of society – from the arts and science to sport, business and government.
Asian Canadians have also experienced discrimination historically, and the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated and fueled race-based stigma, discrimination and violence. We all have an important role to play in denouncing and preventing racism and discrimination, whether online, on our streets, or in our workplaces. Please be assured that support is available, and do not hesitate to reach out to the Visible Minorities’ Network, the Employee Assistance Program, the Respect Bureau or your union representative.
Learn more about the rich pan-Asian history of cultures and peoples, and celebrate the contributions of communities of Asian descent in Canada by visiting the Government of Canada’s official website.
Diversity represents one of Canada’s greatest strengths, and we strive to ensure that all Canadians have the opportunity to reach their full potential, and participate in Canada’s civic life. This month, let us celebrate the incredible diversity that is our strength.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or comments.
Stay safe, stay well!
President, National Consultation Team