VANCOUVER -- The B.C. government says it is providing support for communities to address a rise in racism against Asian people during the pandemic.

Multiculturalism Minister Anne Kang says the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society (VIRCS) will serve as a provincial hub to help address hate activity.

"It is very concerning that we are seeing an increase in racially motivated attacks toward people of Asian heritage since the COVID-19 outbreak," said Anne Kang, Minister of Citizens’ Services and responsible for Multiculturalism in a release Tuesday.

"These incidents are completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated."

The non-profit organization that was founded in 1989 by three former refugees has been awarded $240,000 following a competitive bidding process.

The province has also begun a bidding process to establish community-based hubs to work with the Victoria society as part of an existing program called Resilience B.C.

"VIRCS is very proud to lead the important work being done in B.C. communities to stop the spread of racism and end the recent spikes in hate crimes," said David Lau, executive director, VIRCS.

"We look forward to collaborating with community leaders across the province to create innovative local resources to advance multiculturalism, support reconciliation with Indigenous communities and fight prejudice to provide a fully inclusive province for all British Columbians."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2020.