May is Asian Heritage Month in Canada, dedicated to celebrating the contributions of Canadians of Asian heritage. This is also an opportunity to understand some of the challenges faced by racialized people of Asian descent.
Throughout the month of May, we will be sharing some of the historical moments that have shaped the lives of Asian Canadians and highlighting the achievements of some of our very own PSAC activists of Asian Heritage.
Asian Heritage Month has been celebrated in many communities across Canada since the 1990s, however in December 2001, Senator Vivienne Poy, an accomplished Canadian of Asian heritage, proposed a motion that was adopted by the Senate of Canada, designating May as Asian Heritage Month nationally. In May 2002, the Government of Canada signed an official declaration to designate May as Asian Heritage Month.
Labour activists of Asian descent continue to play an integral part in the Canadian labour movement and within PSAC. They have contributed to every aspect of our collective work but have been particularly instrumental in fighting against injustices by:
- Challenging discriminatory laws and practices at both the provincial and federal level
- Campaigning for redress for victims of the Chinese Head Tax and the internment of people of Japanese descent
- Demanding an apology for the Komagata Maru incident
- Demanding reform of the federal government’s Temporary Foreign Workers Program
- And more.
Who is of Asian Heritage?
The Asian diaspora can trace their heritage to roughly 30 countries, including:
- East Asia – China, Hong Kong, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan
- South Asia – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
- Central Asia – Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
- Southeast Asia – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam.
PSAC calls on workers and allies to take part in events throughout your communities that celebrate the legacy and contributions of Asian Canadians. We also encourage you to reach out to your local organizations dedicated to activists of Asian descent, such as the Chinese Trade Workers’ Association in British Columbia or the Asian Canadian Labour Alliance in Ontario, among others.