We acknowledge and honour the activism of people of Asian descent in their fight for human rights and social justice. Their ongoing struggles against multiple forms of oppression have been instrumental in strengthening our labour movement and our communities.

Some of those struggles included resistance against the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Head Tax; the denial of the right to vote or to run for public office; the exploitation of Chinese railway workers; the internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War; and the Komagata Maru incident which led to challenges to the federal government’s racist “continuous journey regulation” policy. These struggles are historical, but anti-Asian racism is still present today.

COVID-19 has amplified anti-Asian racism. Asian communities have reported an increase in racism and discrimination since the beginning of the pandemic. These experiences are also layered with misogyny and sexism. According to data analyzed by the grassroots Asian community group project1907.org and the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter (CCNCTO), women have been most impacted by the spike in anti-Asian racism in Canada, reporting 64% of incidents.

These unwelcomed and unwanted acts of violence need to stop.

CCNCTO’s latest report has recommendations for governments, businesses, community organizations and allies. These recommendations include increasing representation, creating educational programs, and providing funding to grassroots efforts.

For Asian Heritage Month, CUPE reminds members that we are here to support you through any experience of racism in your workplace, union, and community.

CUPE’s anti-racism strategy, adopted at CUPE’s 2021 National Convention, specifically calls out anti-Asian racism, and includes 10 goals to combat racism in our workplaces as well as in our union. CUPE encourages members to act against racism, xenophobia, misogyny, sexism, ableism, and all forms of discrimination and oppression today, tomorrow, and always.


  • Ensure that labour legislation in Canada recognizes and protects all migrant workers through stronger labour standards such as living wages, safe and healthy working conditions, and human rights protections.
  •  Call on the federal government to ensure that an updated federal Anti-Racism Strategy specifically addresses anti-Asian racism, a glaring omission in the 2019-2022 strategy.


  • Celebrate Asian Heritage Month in your local – share on social media, organize lunch-and-learns and screen videos.
  • Speak out against racism and misinformation.
  • Raise awareness in yourself and others. Learn about the 5 Ds for Bystander Intervention (distract, delegate, document, delay, and direct).
  • Follow and join the Migrant Rights Network in taking action to ensure justice for all migrant workers, including the ones of Asian descent. 
  • Contact us at antiracism@cupe.ca to get involved in implementing the Anti-Racism strategy at your workplace and in your local.