Ontario Leads Canada in Reported Hate Crimes
THUNDER BAY – Canada continues to see increases in the volume of hate crimes being reported to police. Statistics Canada is reporting that in 2017, the most recent year of reporting that the increase was a massive 47% over 2016.
Ontario is leading the country in the increased reporting of hate crimes to police. There is no breakdown by urban district released in today’s figures from Statistics Canada.
In 2015, Thunder Bay led the way in Ontario in reported hate crimes on a per capita basis.
Updated – In 2015 Thunder Bay had 23 reported hate crimes. In 2016 that number was 10 and in 2017 that number was 21. That puts the per capita level of hate crimes at 17.4 per 100,000 of population.
In the past year, Thunder Bay established a hate-crime reporting portal as a part of the 211 system.
From Stats Canada
After steady but relatively small increases since 2014, police-reported hate crime in Canada rose sharply in 2017, up 47% over the previous year, and largely the result of an increase in hate-related property crimes, such as graffiti and vandalism. For the year, police reported 2,073 hate crimes, 664 more than in 2016. Higher numbers were seen across most types of hate crime, with incidents targeting the Muslim, Jewish, and Black populations accounting for most of the national increase. These increases were largely in Ontario and Quebec.
Police-reported hate crimes refer to criminal incidents that, upon investigation by police, are found to have been motivated by hatred toward an identifiable group. An incident may be against a person or property and may target race, colour, national or ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, language, sex, age, mental or physical disability, among other factors. In addition, there are four specific offences listed as hate propaganda offences or hate crimes in the Criminal Code of Canada: advocating genocide, public incitement of hatred, willful promotion of hatred, and mischief motivated by hate in relation to property used by an identifiable group.
Canada’s population has become more diverse as the proportion of Canadians who report being foreign-born, non-Christian, or gay, lesbian, bisexual or in a same-sex relationship continues to grow. For example, one-fifth of Canada’s population was foreign-born in 2016 and, by 2036, this could range from 24.5% to 30.0%.
Since comparable data became available in 2009, the number of police-reported hate crime has ranged from a low of 1,167 incidents in 2013 to a high of 2,073 in 2017. Despite the large increase, hate crimes in 2017 represented a small proportion of overall crime at 0.1% of the more than 1.9 million non-traffic crimes reported by police services that year.
Police data on hate-motivated crimes include only those incidents that come to the attention of police services and also depend on police services’ level of expertise in identifying crimes motivated by hate. As a result, an increase in numbers may be related to more reporting by the public (for example, as a result of outreach by police to communities or heightened sensitivity after high profile events), and/or a result of an actual increase in the extent of hate crimes being committed. As with other crimes, self-reported data provide another way of monitoring hate-motivated crimes. According to the 2014 General Social Survey on Canadians’ Safety (Victimization), Canadians self-reported being the victim of over 330,000 criminal incidents that they perceived as being motivated by hate (5% of total self-reported incidents). Two-thirds of these incidents were not reported to the police.