Hate & racism

Updated: March 7, 2023

Note: Translations of the Commissioner’s quotes are available below in the following languages: simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, Tagalog, French, Farsi, and Punjabi.

Vancouver B.C. – The final report of the Inquiry into hate in the pandemic (the Inquiry) reveals a dramatic spike in hate incidents across B.C. during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report, produced by BC’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner (BCOHRC) and entitled From hate to hope, is being released this morning at a live event with media and community representatives which is being live-streamed across the province. The findings and recommendations contained in the report make clear that it is our duty to act now to be prepared for the next crisis.

The event is being live-streamed now from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on March 7, 2023. Media and members of the public are welcome to join and ask questions of the Commissioner here. 

The Inquiry, which began in August 2021, analyzed data from seven social media companies, the RCMP and policing detachments across B.C., and public sector institutions like municipalities, schools and transit authorities. The report reflects the voices of thousands of people in B.C., gathered through hearings, province-wide surveys and polling. In addition, we commissioned five independent research reports and conducted extensive contextual research. Ultimately, the Inquiry sought to examine how hate during the pandemic was impacting communities and what can be done about it. 

The full report and executive summary are available here. 

Inquiry findings reveal dramatic spike in hate incidents

“The Inquiry into hate in the pandemic has produced a mountain of evidence showing that hate incidents in B.C. have increased dramatically during the pandemic,” said B.C.’s Human Rights Commissioner Kasari Govender. “While hate has deep roots in our province, the pandemic has produced the conditions for it to flourish—resulting in a broad range of hate incidents online and off, particularly anti-Asian hate and gender-based violence.” 

Analysis of data provided to the Commissioner by police in B.C. shows that: 

While analysis of police data reveals a troubling surge, the available data only begins to speak to what communities have experienced over the pandemic. Through hearings with more than 52 organizations and 100 individuals, a survey completed by more than 2,500 people in B.C., polling of a representative sample of the population, and research and information requests conducted by BCOHRC, the Inquiry report paints a more fulsome picture of what B.C. communities have experienced. 

Other key findings from the Inquiry include: 

Commissioner makes 12 recommendations to address hate in future crises

“We cannot be surprised by the rise of hate in this pandemic or in future states of crisis, but hate in these circumstances is not inevitable,” said Commissioner Govender. “We must confront what we have experienced during the pandemic and take action now to prevent it from happening again. We must be decisive in our compassion and creative in devising non-violent responses to hate,” she concluded.

“We cannot be surprised by the rise of hate in this pandemic or in future states of crisis, but hate in these circumstances is not inevitable.”

Kasari Govender, B.C.’s Human Rights Commissioner

The Commissioner makes 12 recommendations in the report aimed at understanding hate and acknowledging its harms, building safety and belonging and fostering accountability and repair. To see the full list of recommendations, see the Analysis and recommendations for change section here.

These include: 

Support for impacted communities

The report we are releasing includes information that will be deeply disturbing for many people in our province to hear. These issues, while critical to examine, are extremely challenging, especially for people who have experienced or witnessed hate incidents. In recognition of the sensitive nature of this material, we urge media to consider placing warnings on Inquiry news that includes disturbing stories of hate and to direct the public to community mental health supports at: hateinquiry.bchumanrights.ca/support 

Quotes and interviews with community members

Given the important role played by individuals and organizations throughout the Inquiry process, we are pleased to offer supporting quotes from community members for use in media stories. In addition to the quotes below, several community representatives are available for follow up interview. To request an interview, please email media@bchumanrights.ca.

Ninu Kang, Executive Director, Ending Violence Association of B.C. 

We applaud the BCOHRC for their leadership and those who courageously participated in this inquiry. During the pandemic, our communities were not only impacted by racism, but also a devastating increase in the rates and severity of gender-based violence. We must understand the compounding effects of the harm people face when targetted due to their intersecting identities. EVA BC hopes that the findings will direct us all in working together to address hate in our communities.”  

Jamison Schulz-Franco, Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network 

The pandemic brought the widespread hate and racism that has been prevalent across this province to a head, captured more vividly with the support of technology and social media, especially for those who identify as Indigenous, Black or People of Colour. The myth that Canada is a safe place for all has been busted. I hope the impact of this report is that we may learn that racism and hate are not problems that only impact racialized people. These are systems and ways of behaving that affect all of society and it will take all of us to be accountable, if we want work towards eradicating racism and hate.”   

Ellen (last name withheld for safety), Project 1907 

“A hallmark feature of the Asian Canadian experience is being persuaded by the lie that racism and hate do not impact us. It’s a lie that is so insidious that – although armed with thousands of community reports and years of personal lived experience – we severely doubted whether we had anything to offer to this Inquiry. Through our participation, we learned that there is immense power in sharing about experiences that are designed to shame, degrade and belittle you. We learned that while our communities are not defined by hate, our experiences offer us  wisdom that is invaluable in developing effective responses to hate.” 

Kukpi7 Fred Robbins, Esk’etemc First Nation 

“First Nation people of the Cariboo-Chilcotin region are unfortunately very familiar with the effects of generations of racial discrimination. A former residential school right in our backyard reminds us of that. Although the physicality of that place is gone, its ideals, that were implemented to oppress and discriminate, are yet inherent in our current local education systems processes, procedures and policies. The mechanisms of the education governing bodies remain colonial and actually contribute to the racism and invisibility of our people. This needs to stop. Time of the ‘old white boys club’ needs to come to an end and we need to see ourselves involved and reflected in new systems and structures that reflect the needs of all, not a few. Lack of awareness and knowledge creates misunderstanding, that breeds ignorance resulting in racism. Our voices need to be heard and change needs to happen not only for the benefit of our youth, but all youth here on Turtle Island.” 


The Commissioner is available for questions during this morning’s release event and may be available for interviews later this afternoon and tomorrow morning pending availability. We encourage you to join this morning’s live event but also will do our best to accept individual requests. 


Media contact

To request an interview with Commissioner Kasari Govender, please contact Charlotte Kingston, Director, Communications, at media@bchumanrights.ca or 1-250-216-4534. 

Media kit

Download our media kit for images of Commissioner Kasari Govender.


BC’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner exists to address the root causes of inequality, discrimination and injustice in B.C. by shifting laws, policies, practices and cultures. We do this work through education, research, advocacy, inquiry and monitoring. Learn more at: bchumanrights.ca

About the Commissioner

B.C.’s Human Rights Commissioner, Kasari Govender, started her five-year term on Sept. 3, 2019. Since then, our Office has been working swiftly to build a strong team, to listen deeply to the concerns of British Columbians, to deliver education materials on our rights and responsibilities, to issue policy guidance to protect marginalized communities and to lay a human rights-based foundation for our work. As an independent officer of the Legislature, the Commissioner is uniquely positioned to ensure human rights in B.C. are protected, respected and advanced on a systemic level throughout our society.

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Translations of the Commissioner’s quotes

Simplified Chinese

BC省人权专员Kasari Govender说,“针对疫情中的仇恨的调查已产生了大量证据,表明在疫情期间,BC省的仇恨事件急剧增加。”“虽然仇恨在本省根深蒂固,但疫情为仇恨的滋生创造了条件——导致线上和线下都发生了范围广泛的仇恨事件,特别是针对亚裔的仇恨和基于性别的暴力。” 


Traditional Chinese

卑詩省人權專員卡薩里·戈文德(Kasari Govender)表示:「對疫情中仇恨事件的調查產生了大量證據,表明卑詩省的仇恨事件在疫情期間急劇增加。雖然仇恨在本省根深蒂固,但疫情為仇恨的蓬勃滋生創造了條件——導致線上和線下都出現廣泛的仇恨事件,特別是反亞裔仇恨和基於性別的暴力事件。」 



“Ipinakita ng inquiry sa kapootan sa panahon ng pandemya na napakaraming ebidensiya na nagpapakita na ang hate incidents sa B.C. ay dumami nang husto sa panahon ng pandemya,” sabi ni Kasari Govender, ang Human Rights Commissioner ng B.C. “Bagamat matagal nang may kapootan sa ating province, ang pandemya ay nagdulot ng mga kondisyon para lumala ito—at dahil dito’y nagkaroon ng iba’t-ibang uri ng hate incidents online at off, lalo na ng anti-Asian hate at ng gender-based violence.” 

“Hindi tayo dapat magulat sa pagdami ng insidente ng hate sa pandemyang ito o sa ibang mga krisis sa darating na panahon, pero ang kapootan sa mga ganitong pangyayari ay maaaring maiwasan,” sabi ni Commissioner Govender. “Dapat nating harapin ang ating naranasan sa panahon ng pandemya, at dapat tayong kumilos ngayon upang maiwasan na mangyari ito muli. Dapat tayong maging desidido sa ating pagmamalasakit, at maging kreatibo sa pag-isip ng mga hindi marahas na pagtugon sa kapootan,” sinabi rin niya. 


« L’enquête sur la haine pendant la pandémie a produit une multitude de preuves montrant que les incidents haineux en Colombie-Britannique ont augmenté de façon spectaculaire pendant la pandémie », a déclaré la commissaire aux droits de la personne de la Colombie-Britannique, Kasari Govender. « Bien que la haine soit enracinée profondément dans notre province, la pandémie a créé les conditions nécessaires à son attisement, ce qui a provoqué un grand nombre d’incidents haineux en ligne et hors ligne, en particulier la haine envers les Asiatiques et la violence fondée sur le sexe. » 

« Il n’est pas étonnant d’assister à une montée de la haine pendant cette pandémie ou lors de situations de crise futures, mais la haine en pareilles circonstances n’est pas inévitable », a déclaré la commissaire Kasari Govender. « Nous devons faire face à ce que nous avons vécu et agir dès maintenant pour éviter que cela ne se reproduise. Nous devons faire preuve de détermination dans notre compassion et de créativité dans l’élaboration de réponses non violentes à la haine », a-t-elle conclu. 


کاساری گووندر، کمیسر حقوق بشر بریتیش کلمبیا می گوید: «تحقیقات در مورد نفرت حاصل از نژاد پرستی در طول همه‌گیری نشان می‌دهد که جرایم نژادپرستانه در بریتیش کلمبیا به ‌طور چشمگیری افزایش یافته اند.اگر چه نژادپرستی ریشه عمیقی در استان ما دارد، ولی همه‌گیری شرایط را برای رشد بیشتر آن فراهم کرده است، که منجر به طیف گسترده‌ای از جرایم نژادپرستانه در دنیای مجازی و واقعی، به ویژه نفرت از آسیایی ها و خشونت جنسیتی شده است.

ما نباید از افزایش نژادپرستی در طول این همه گیری یا در شرایط بحرانی آینده شگفت زده شویم، اما نژادپرستی در این شرایط اجتناب ناپذیر نیست. ما باید با آنچه در طول همه‌گیری تجربه کرده‌ایم مقابله کنیم و اکنون برای جلوگیری از تکرار آن اقدام کنیم. ما باید گذشت و بخشش داشته باشیم و در ابداع پاسخ‌های غیرخشونت‌آمیز به نژادپرستی خلاق باشیم.»


.ਸੀ. ਦੇ ਹਿਊਮਨ ਰਾਈਟਸ ਕਮਿਸ਼ਨਰ ਕਾਸਾਰੀ ਗੋਵੇਂਦਰ ਨੇ ਕਿਹਾ, “ ਮਹਾਂਮਾਰੀ ਵਿਚ ਨਫ਼ਰਤ ਦੀ ਇਨਕੁਆਰੀ ਨੇ ਸਬੂਤਾਂ ਦਾ ਢੇਰ ਪੈਦਾ ਕੀਤਾ ਹੈ ਜਿਹੜਾ ਇਹ ਦਿਖਾਉਂਦਾ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਬੀ.ਸੀ. ਵਿਚ ਮਹਾਂਮਾਰੀ ਦੌਰਾਨ ਨਫ਼ਰਤ ਵਾਲੀਆਂ ਘਟਨਾਵਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਨਾਟਕੀ ਢੰਗ ਨਾਲ ਵਾਧਾ ਹੋਇਆ ਹੈ। ਭਾਵੇਂ ਕਿ ਸੂਬੇ ਵਿਚ ਨਫ਼ਰਤ ਦੀਆਂ ਡੂੰਘੀਆਂ ਜੜ੍ਹਾਂ ਹਨ, ਮਹਾਂਮਾਰੀ ਨੇ ਇਸ ਦੇ ਪ੍ਰਫੁੱਲਤ ਹੋਣ ਲਈ ਹਾਲਤਾਂ ਪੈਦਾ ਕੀਤੀਆਂ ਹਨ – ਜਿਸ ਦਾ ਨਤੀਜਾ ਔਨਲਾਈਨ ਅਤੇ ਔਫਲਾਈਨ ਨਫ਼ਰਤੀ ਘਟਨਾਵਾਂ ਦੇ ਵੱਖ ਵੱਖ ਪੱਧਰਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਨਿਕਲਿਆ ਹੈ, ਖਾਸ ਕਰਕੇ ਏਸ਼ੀਅਨ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਵਿਰੋਧੀ ਅਤੇ ਲਿੰਗ-ਆਧਾਰਿਤ ਹਿੰਸਾ ਵਿਚ।” 

ਕਮਿਸ਼ਨਰ ਗੋਵੇਂਦਰ ਨੇ ਕਿਹਾ, “ਅਸੀਂ ਇਸ ਮਹਾਂਮਾਰੀ ਜਾਂ ਭਵਿੱਖ ਵਿਚ ਸੰਕਟ ਦੀਆਂ ਹਾਲਤਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਨਫ਼ਰਤ ਦੇ ਵਧਣ ਤੋਂ ਹੈਰਾਨ ਨਹੀਂ ਹੋ ਸਕਦੇ, ਪਰ ਇਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਹਾਲਤਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਨਫ਼ਰਤ ਲਾਜ਼ਮੀ ਨਹੀਂ ਹੈ।” ਉਸ ਨੇ ਅੱਗੇ ਕਿਹਾ, “ਮਹਾਂਮਾਰੀ  ਦੌਰਾਨ ਸਾਨੂੰ ਜੋ ਅਨੁਭਵ ਹੋਇਆ ਹੈ, ਸਾਡੇ ਲਈ ਉਸ ਦਾ ਸਾਮ੍ਹਣਾ ਕਰਨਾ ਅਤੇ ਇਹ ਦੁਬਾਰਾ ਹੋਣ ਤੋਂ ਰੋਕਥਾਮ ਕਰਨ ਲਈ ਸਾਡੇ ਲਈ ਅੱਜ ਹੀ ਐਕਸ਼ਨ ਲੈਣਾ ਜ਼ਰੂਰੀ ਹੈ। ਸਾਡੇ ਲਈ ਆਪਣੀ ਰਹਿਮਦਿਲੀ ਬਾਰੇ ਫੈਸਲਾ ਕਰਨਾ ਜ਼ਰੂਰੀ ਹੈ ਅਤੇ ਨਫ਼ਰਤ ਪ੍ਰਤੀ ਗੈਰ-ਹਿੰਸਕ ਹੁੰਗਾਰੇ ਲੱਭਣ ਲਈ ਕ੍ਰਿਏਟਿਵ ਹੋਣਾ ਜ਼ਰੂਰੀ ਹੈ।”