After witnessing the deadly and mortal effects of drug addiction in the Kowloon Ghettos of Hong Kong in the 1960s, Rev. John Paul Chan (Mennonite Baptist Church) made the decision to dedicate his life to helping drug addicts and their families.
In 1968, Rev. John Paul found the ministry and was able to open the first facility for spiritual therapy in Hong Kong. The result showed that the success rate for recovery at the ministry was significantly higher than any other program. The Hong Kong Government had noticed the statistic and recognized his contribution by assigning a small island outside Lantau Island to the ministry which became their permanent headquarter. The ministry was then formally named as the Dawn Island Rehabilitation Centre.
In 1984, the ministry continued to grow and extended its reach to Taiwan under the leadership of recovered drug addict, Rev. Simon Lau who was sent by Rev. John Paul. Through his hard work and passion for saving drug addicts for 40+ years, Rev Simon Lau had grown the ministry much bigger in size and scope and saved many lives under various addictions. Recognitions and strong support were received from local governments and communities throughout the years. Operation Dawn has now 26 centers operating in different parts of the World e.g. Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Myanmar, India, China, the U.S.A. and Canada.
In 2002, Rev. Simon Lau was invited to Toronto by Partner International to share at an evangelical meeting. A group of brothers and sisters from different churches were motivated and willing to commit /volunteer to help promote the work of Operation Dawn in the local Chinese community.
In April 2004, Rev. Simon Lau visited Toronto again. His preaching and testimony continued to receive many positive responses. This plus the life transformation story of Henry - a former drug addict from Toronto who left for the spiritual therapy in Taiwan since 2002 enhanced the awareness of the dark realities of drug addiction and most importantly people knew that God brought answers and solutions to the problems through Operation Dawn.
The Chinese church communities in Toronto responded quickly by bringing two cases to Operation Dawn which were referred by CARE (Christian Aid and Relational Evangelism Inc). This marked the humble beginning of Operation Dawn in Canada. With the provisions and grace from God, the help of the church community and a small group of volunteers Operation Dawn Canada was officially established in Toronto.