Twenty years ago, in 2002, the month of May was officially declared as “Asian Heritage Month” by the Government of Canada, following the adoption of the motion proposed by Senator Vivienne Poy. During this month, we 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.
Asian Canadians are a diverse group of people who trace their ancestry from more than 40 different Asian countries with their own unique cultural fabric. They are considered among the “Visible Minorities” and are further classified as East Asian Canadians, South Asian Canadians, Southeast Asian Canadians, and West Asian Canadians by Statistics Canada for tracking. According to 2016 Census, Asian Canadians constitute 17.69% of Canadian population.
Asian Heritage Month provides all Canadians the opportunity to honour 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. We invite you to learn more about Canadians of Asian descent at Significant events in history of Canadians of Asian heritage
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.
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 of Canada that is our strength.
Stay safe, stay well!
President, National Consultation Team