While COVID-19 outbreaks are being detected in Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is revealing his priorities.

As part of a $27 million federal research funding competition, the Liberal government allocated $2.63 million taxpayer dollars on combating discrimination, racism and social media misinformation. 

While many of the projects funded were sound scientific and public policy research, seven of the approved studies stuck out as social justice-oriented. 

One project titled “Pandemic Rapid-response Optimization To Enhance Community- resilience and Health” received a $500,000 grant to study anti-Chinese racism. 

“News about emerging pandemics often bring out fear and anxiety in the public. Recent public response to the new coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak reflected blame, fear, and racism against the Chinese communities,” claims the project summary. 

Part of the research includes “online group training with live video meeting to reduce stigma/stress and promote resilience among affected groups (individuals tested positive.” 

Another similar project titled “Destigmatizing Chinese Communities in the face of 2019-nCoV” dedicated $499,121 to study Sinophobia experienced by Chinese communities in Toronto and Nairobi, Kenya. 

“Chinese communities around the world are facing impacts to their personal wellbeing and livelihoods by way of discrimination and Sinophobia (anti-Chinese sentiment) due to COVID-19 disease (formally 2019-nCoV),” reads the proposal. 

A project led by researchers at the University of Ottawa titled “Senior public health leadership during the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak” seeks to find ways to combat the effects of misinformation and discrimination on various groups. 

“During an infectious disease outbreak, senior public health leaders work diligently to contain its spread, manage the medical and social impact, and try to counter misinformation and prevent discrimination,” claims the project description.

“We will also examine whether and how they identify different impacts of the virus based on sex and gender.”

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