EDMONTON -- What started as an Alberta effort to combat racism related to the COVID-19 pandemic has gone nation-wide with a topical message.

An Instagram post by Canadian musician Bryan Adams about COVID-19 is one of many incidents that has drawn criticism from the group.

“We know immediately when he (said) those words, what he was referring to,” said Teresa Woo-Paw, former Alberta MLA and ACT2endracism member.

ACT2endracism has members in Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, the group forming in response to a rise in reports of racism against people of Asian descent.

“Young people especially who actually are seeing and experiencing racism for the first time, they actually are afraid to go out,” said Woo-Paw.

In his post Adams blamed the spread of COVID-19 on “bat eating, wet market animal selling, virus making greedy bastards...”

“These people have to understand the impact of their words on the public,” said Woo-Paw.

Adams did address the backlash in a post Tuesday saying in part, “No excuse, I just wanted to have a rant about the horrible animal cruelty in these wet-markets being the possible source of the virus, and promote veganism.”

Amy Go, president of the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice, addressed the comments in an interview with CTV News Channel.

“I think it’s unfortunate that we have someone like him, in his position, would have such hateful, thoughtless, I hope it’s thoughtless, views about Chinese-Canadians and Chinese,” she said.

Reports of racism can be submitted to ACT2endracism through their website or by text.

“We have to start my acknowledging it’s happening and also knowing what’s actually happening.”

ACT2endracism plans to use the data to form recommendations for governments and agencies on how to address the problem.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Bill Fortier and CTV News Channel