EDMONTON – Premier Rachel Notley is creating a Provincial Hate Crimes Unit. The unit will work with police and law enforcement, including Crown prosecutors, to improve the specialized training they receive to fight hate crimes and extremism in Alberta.
This move is through commitments made in the government’s Taking Action Against Racism report.
“Together, we must continue the fight against racism, hate, intolerance and religious persecution in all forms, including Islamophobia. Two years ago, our government stood in solidarity with all Muslim Canadians in grieving the shooting at a mosque in Quebec. Today, we stand in solidarity with Muslims in Alberta, in Canada and all across the world. And we recommit ourselves to end this hate wherever it is found,” says Rachel Notley, Premier of Alberta.
The Provincial Hate Crimes Unit will assemble specialists from various police forces with the mandate to focus exclusively on investigating the proliferation of hate groups and hate crimes in Alberta.
The Provincial Hate Crimes Unit was one of the recommendations in government’s Taking Action Against Racism report, released in June 2018. The report was created after Education Minister David Eggen met 100 community groups that offered their expertise on how the Government of Alberta could best support diversity and inclusion.
Since the launch of the report, ministers and MLAs have met with hundreds of community groups across the province to hear their feedback.
Since the report’s release, two actions were taken immediately:
- An Anti-Racism Advisory Council was established. It is imperative that people most affected by racism guide government’s work. The council shapes how the government tackles discrimination. It is the first government organization dedicated to fighting racism in Alberta.
- A Community Anti-Racism Grants program was started to fund community initiatives to fight racism. Grants will fund better training and support services, and there is a dedicated stream for funding groups led by Indigenous peoples.
- A police-reported hate crime happens in Alberta about once every three days.
- Nearly 2,000 Albertans and 100 community groups offered their expertise on how the Government of Alberta can support diversity and inclusion.
- Alberta is a diverse province, and becoming more diverse every day. Census figures over the last 20 years show the share of Albertans from different racial backgrounds has more than doubled. In 1996, it was about one in 10. Today, it’s about one in four.