Record jump in LGBTQ, religious hate crimes cases reported to police, with men and boys main targets

Previously reported but richer data:

A new report shows a record jump in hate crimes against the LGBTQ, Muslim and Jewish communities, prompting calls for more support for victims of the abuse.

The analysis based on police reports also showed around half of Canadians committing hate crimes had been accused of other crimes before and after those incidents.

The Statistics Canada hate crimes report notes that in 2021 there was a 64-per-cent rise in crimes against members of the LGBTQ community and a 67-per-cent increase in incidents linked to a person’s religion.

A further analysis of these police cases from 2018 to 2021 showed investigators found that two-thirds of the victims were boys and men, most of whom didn’t know the suspect – unlike victims of other crimes.

Almost half of the hate crimes cases were “violent,” including assault, harassment and uttering threats.

The number of hate crimes reported by the police, including military police, rose by 27 per cent to 3,360 in 2021 from 2,646 incidents in 2020.

Mohammed Hashim, executive director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and chair of the RCMP’s hate crimes task force, said the numbers are “an underrepresentation of the actual problem of hate in Canada.”

“Most people do not report hate crimes to the police mainly because they don’t have faith that anything will come of it,” he said, adding the statistics for 2022 are likely to show an even greater increase.

The Statscan report says: “Police data on hate crimes reflect only the incidents that come to the attention of police, and are classified as hate crimes.”

Just over one in five of the incidents resulted in “the laying or recommendation of charges,” the Police-Reported Hate Crime report said.

The analysis delved into who was committing the crimes and found that a cohort of almost 3,000 people are committing repeated offences. Between 2012 and 2018, 2,872 people were accused of at least one hate crime.

Just under half of them had been accused of an incident reported to the police – which may not relate to hate crimes. Fifty-four per cent came into contact with police again within three years after their “initial hate crime violation.”

The Statscan findings, published Wednesday, said after three consecutive years of decline, there was a 67-per-cent increase in reports of hate crimes based on religion.

That included a 71-per-cent jump from 2020 of hate crimes targeting Muslims, a 47-per-cent increase in hate crimes targeting Jews and a 260-per-cent surge in attacks on Catholics.

There were 423 hate crimes reported because of sexual orientation, up from the previous peak in 2019 of 265.

Tyler Boyce, executive director of the Enchante network, which includes over more than LGBTQ organizations, said the statistics were an understatement of the amount of abuse gay and lesbian people experience, and more support was needed. He expressed concern that Statscan does not track abuse directed at transgender people.

Mr. Boyce blamed the far right for fuelling a record number of attacks on members of the LGBTQ community. 

“We are seeing a rise in online hate and people are feeling emboldened to take this from an online space to in-person,” Mr. Boyce said.

Ontario had just over half of all hate crimes directed at people on the basis of sexual orientation.

Unlike other crimes, a large proportion of violent hate attacks were committed by strangers. In 3 per cent of cases, victims were killed or very badly injured. 

Based on population, members of the Jewish community were the most targeted religious group with 145 incidents per 100,000 people, followed by Muslims who experienced eight hate crime incidents per 100,000. Catholics experienced one incident per 100,000 people in 2021.

Nicole Amiel, of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said Canadian Jews were more than 10 times more likely than other religious minorities to report being the target of a hate crime.

Fatema Abdalla, of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, said many hate crimes directed at Muslims were not reported to the police, but the council has seen a rise in people calling them for support after being attacked or abused in public.

Source: Record jump in LGBTQ, religious hate crimes cases reported to police, with men and boys main targets

The Danger of America’s Woefully Incomplete Hate Crimes Data

Of note. Canada’s reporting is more comprehensive of police forces although there is underreporting by the public:

The FBI’s annual report on hate crime in America, released Monday,shows that about 7,300 hate-crime incidents were reported in the United States in 2021. That number represents a drop of nearly 1,000 incidents from 2020—but experts say it’s a woefully incomplete picture of hate crimes in America.

That’s because nearly 7,000 of the country’s more than 18,000 law-enforcement agencies—including the New York Police Department and Los Angeles Police Department—failed to submit any hate crime data to the federal report. Only 15 of the 750 agencies in the state of California participated, and the state of Florida only reported a single hate crime for 2021. For the 2020 report, more than 80% of jurisdictions participated.
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“Hate crimes tear at the fabric of our society and traumatize entire communities,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, in a statement. “The failure by major states and cities across the country to report hate crime data essentially—and inexcusably—erases the lived experience of marginalized communities across the country.”

Huge gaps in hate crime stats

The FBI defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense which is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias(es) against” a victim’s race, religion, disability, gender—or other characteristic. A 1990 law requires the government to track hate crimes, but it remains up to individual law-enforcement agencies whether they tell the FBI how many and what kind of hate crimes they encountered during a given year. This year fewer than two-thirds of police departments provided their hate crime data—a problem that was also seen months ago when the FBI released its 2021 overall crime report.

The biggest problem this year is down to a change in the way that the FBI is collecting crime data from local agencies. The National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), a new software that seeks to “improve the overall quality of crime data collected by law enforcement” is the big culprit. The FBI announced several years ago that it would transition to the NIBRS by 2021, and about $120 million was distributed to agencies to help phase out the previous Summary Reporting System.

Despite having ample time to make the transition, many jurisdictions waited too long and were unable to make the deadline to submit hate-crime numbers, says Richard Rosenfeld, the Curators’ Distinguished Professor Emeritus of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

“The FBI had a choice,” he says. “It could either permit those agencies to submit data they had compiled under the old system so we’d have at least bottom-line measures for major crimes, or the FBI could have done what it did and insist that if you don’t meet the deadline, that your data will not be included.”

Rising hate crimes

Despite the FBI reporting a drop in total reported hate crimes in 2021, the previous year saw the highest number of hate-crime incidents recorded since 2001. The agency itself has issued guidance discouraging comparisons between the 2021 report and those of recent years, and noted in releasing the data that, in the jurisdictions that did participate, hate-crime incidents did not seem to fall.

“Although the hate crime statistics reported to us are lower in 2021, hate crime statistics overall are not decreasing, meaning of the agencies that are reporting to us, they are reporting an increase in hate crime,” the FBI said in a press call before the report’s release, according to VOA News. And states like New Jersey that previously released state-level hate-crime data found that 2021 saw record highs for reported bias incidents locally. California’s state count saw reported hate crime events increase by nearly a third from 2020 to 2021.

The missing data won’t just affect statisticians. It could also have an important impact on vulnerable communities across America.

Susan Corke, Director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors the radical right in the U.S., warns that the lack of data is especially devastating in the context of armed white-nationalist groups backing candidates for election and winning positions of power. The FBI itself recognizes that these statistics are necessary to help provide lawmakers with “justification for certain legislation” and “help law enforcement address issues for their communities.”

“We want our political debates about crime and hate crime to be based on complete and accurate data,” Rosenfeld tells TIME. “When the data is subject to such uncertainties, then political leaders, advocacy groups, and others are simply able to concoct their own narrative.”

Rosenfeld and Corke both say that making it mandatory for local law enforcement to provide hate-crime statistics to the FBI would be a huge step in helping adjust the numbers in coming years. That decision could only be made by Congress.

President Biden previously signed a law that helped make the reporting of hate crimes more accessible in 2021, and created hotlines for hate crime reporting for non-English speakers.

For now, the Justice Department—which oversees the FBI—maintains that it will be committed to prioritizing the “prevention, investigation and prosecution of hate crimes.”

“No one in this country should be forced to live their life in fear of being attacked because of what they look like, whom they love, or where they worship,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta in a statement on Monday. “The department will continue to use all of the tools and resources at our disposal to stand up to bias-motivated violence in our communities.”

Source: The Danger of America’s Woefully Incomplete Hate Crimes Data

ICYMI: Douglas Todd: Hate crimes against Catholics almost tripled. Do Canadians care?

The Canadian Catholic church and its members, many of whom are Indigenous or immigrants, were last year buffeted by a horrendous 260 per cent spike in hate crimes.
Of note, from a small base of 42 in 2020 to 155 in 2021. Suspect largely due to the discovery of possible unmarked graves and greater attention to the Catholic Church’s involvement in residential schools:
Catholics were subject to a far higher escalation in police-reported hate incidents than any other religious or racial group, according to a Statistics Canada study.

Source: Douglas Todd: Hate crimes against Catholics almost tripled. Do Canadians care?

Police-reported hate-motivated crime rises sharply for second year in a row

Latest numbers by StatsCan, showing particularly high increase in 2021 of religiously motivated hate crimes, with biggest relative increase for Catholics, likely due to the discovery of unmarked graves. In terms of ethnicity motivated, the rise of anti East and SE Asian hate crimes during pandemic stands out:

The number of police-reported hate-motivated crimes in Canada increased by 27%, up from 2,646 incidents in 2020 to 3,360 in 2021. This follows a 36% increase in 2020. In total, the number of police-reported hate crimes rose 72% from 2019 to 2021. Higher numbers of hate-motivated crimes targeting religion (+67%; 884 incidents), sexual orientation (+64%; 423 incidents) and race or ethnicity (+6%; 1,723 incidents) accounted for the majority of the increase. All provinces and territories reported increases in the number of hate crimes in 2021, except for Yukon, where it remained the same.

Police data on hate crimes reflect only those incidents that come to the attention of police and that are subsequently classified as hate crimes. As a result, fluctuations in the number of reported incidents may be attributable to a true change in the volume of hate crimes, but they might also reflect changes in reporting by the public because of increased community outreach by police or heightened sensitivity after high-profile events. Reporting may also be influenced by language barriers, issues of trust or confidence in the police, or fear of further victimization or stigma.

Source: Police-reported hate-motivated crime rises sharply for second year in a row


The head of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation is calling for action to combat hate and more federal help for victims, as new statistics show that hate crimes in Canada rose by 27 per cent last year. 

Executive director Mohammed Hashim warned that unless action is taken to combat hate-motivated abuse, including online, it will continue to spread.

He said the “slew of hate” online is so prevalent it risks becoming normalized and those affected are changing their behaviour to deal with it, including by not reading social media comments.

“It is a firehose of hate that is growing, honestly, like a wildfire,” he said. “And unmitigated it will grow even further to a point where we will normalize being in a wildfire.

“That is because we have left this environment unchecked.”

Statistics Canada reported a dramatic increase in hate crimes in 2021. Last year, the number of hate-motivated crimes reported to the police rose to 3,360 incidents from 2,646 in 2020. This followed a 36 per cent rise in 2020. 

In total, the number of hate-motivated crimes recorded by the police has gone up 72 per cent since 2019, according to the agency. 

Four Muslim Canadians from the same family were killed in June last year when a man rammed a truck into them in London, Ont. Police have said the attack was motivated by Islamophobia.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said the figures are “further evidence of the alarming and unacceptable rise of hate that marginalized communities have experienced in recent years.”

Mendicino said the federal government is taking action on a variety of fronts, led by new legislation to tackle the rise of hate speech and hate crimes.

“We will not rest until all Canadians feel safe in their communities,” he added. 

A report by the race relations foundation, published Tuesday, calls for greater federal help for victims of hate, many of whom do not qualify for financial compensation because their abuse does not count as a crime.

Hashim warned that “not supporting victims and leaving hate to proliferate freely disintegrates Canadian multiculturalism as a whole and a sense of collective belonging to this nation.”

Hate-motivated crimes targeting a person’s religious affiliation were up 67 per cent last year, according to Statistics Canada. Crimes based on a victim’s sexual orientation were up 64 per cent year over year. Another 1,723 recorded incidents targeted a person’s race or ethnicity, a six per cent increase, and together these categories made up the majority of the overall rise.

Marvin Rotrand of B’nai Brith Canada said Jews were the No. 1 target of hate crimes aimed at religious minorities. 

“All Canadians should be worried about the alarming explosion of hate crimes witnessed in 2021,” Rotrand said. “Our community comprises 1.25 per cent of the Canadian population but were the victims of 56 per cent of hate crimes aimed at religious minorities. That is more than all other religious groups combined.”

Shimon Koffler Fogel, president and CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said incidents targeting the Jewish community have risen by 47 per cent since 2020.

“Statistically, Canadian Jews were more than 10 times more likely than any other Canadian religious minority to report being the target of a hate crime,” he said.

All provinces and territories reported increases in the number of hate crimes in 2021, except for Yukon, where the numbers remained the same.

Hashim, who regularly tours the country speaking to victims of hate as well as community groups and police forces, said more focus must be put on victims. He said young women are facing huge amounts of abuse online, particularly young Black women. 

“Right now we talk a lot about hate crime statistics, how police are dealing with it or not dealing with it, being reported or not being reported,” he said. “What we are constantly missing is what is the effect on victims.”

The Department of Canadian Heritage is working on drafting an online hate bill to set up a framework to combat abuse online.

A previous anti-hate bill, introduced at the tail end of the last Parliament, died when the election was called. 

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez appointed an expert panel to make suggestions for a future bill, including faster takedown obligations on platforms, in particular over child pornography.

During a consultation by the federal government last year, some minority groups raised concerns about directly involving the police to combat hate speech online.

Hashim warned against “digital carding” and a mass trawl of content online. He acknowledged there is concern about whether police should be able to access all takedown materials for investigative purposes.

“I don’t think that is the proper way of doing online safety. There need to be checks and balances between how much information is accessible to the police. That is why we have warrants,” he said.

“Just creating open access for all police, for all takedown data, for all social media platforms is overkill in my opinion.” 

The report commissioned by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, and written by PricewaterhouseCoopers, said 80 per cent of hate crimes go unreported each year.

The report recommends Canada mirror Germany’s model for supporting victims of hate with millions of dollars of funding for community groups, which people who encounter hate “instinctively” reach out to, as well as a further victims fund. 

It says the government’s current compensation schemes exclude many victims of hate because few hate-motivated acts are designated as criminal.

The report also suggests the government establish an emergency response fund for communities hit by hate attacks on a large scale, as well as a central national support hub for victims.

Source: Race relations foundation urges more help for victims as hate crimes rise further

Historic levels of hate crimes are a threat to U.S. democracy, Lipstadt says

Of note:

The historic levels of hate crimes in the U.S. were devastatingly illustrated with a racist mass shooting last weekend at a supermarket that took 10 lives in a mostly Black neighborhood in Buffalo, N.Y. At the forefront of a global fight against hatred and racism is a special U.S. envoy, Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt. Her mandate at the State Department is to monitor and combat antisemitism.

DEBORAH LIPSTADT: But anti-Semitism morphs into other hatred.

FADEL: And when she and I spoke, we discussed how ugly prejudices in one community can feed and grow hate in another.

LIPSTADT: The rising threat of anti-Semitism, the rising threat of racism, the rising degree of conspiratorial thinking, it’s not just a threat to the welfare of specific groups in this country – we saw it against the African American community in a tragic, tragic way this past week – but it’s a national security threat. It’s a threat to our communal welfare. And the need is immediate. And the need is great.

FADEL: Since the attack in Buffalo, we’ve been hearing a lot about this racist conspiracy, the replacement theory. And when I hear that, I think back to Charlottesville, nearly five years ago, when we watched neo-Nazis and white supremacists march with torches and chant, Jews will not replace us. Can you just explain this debunked and racist conspiracy and its danger?

LIPSTADT: Sure. There is a belief amongst people such as the killer in Buffalo and too many others like him. And what they argue is that there is a concerted effort, a plan, a scheme to replace, to destroy white Christian culture, to turn white Christians into a minority by flooding their countries with either people from Africa, Muslims – in this country, people from, quote-unquote, “south of the border” – and to render white Christians a minority. But there’s something else that motivates them or that is part of that theory. They look upon people of color as inferior to white Christians. There has to be someone behind them making this happen. They are the puppets. But who is the puppeteer? And some of them will immediately say, it is the Jew, because in their eyes, Jews are not white. Or they will look for someone whom they believe has the financial resources, the malicious smarts, the ability to be – though small in number, to do this thing, to make this thing happen and to do it secretly. And they will come upon the Jews.

FADEL: And this idea, this conspiracy that has no truth to it, it’s not fringe anymore. It doesn’t feel fringe anymore.

LIPSTADT: You’re absolutely correct. There is an increasing percentage of the American population who believe this is really happening and who think that America’s identity is under threat. And whether they read it online, whether they hear it in the media, whether they hear it from certain politicians – but they believe it. This young man who committed this horrendous, horrendous act in Buffalo, he was radicalized online. Now, maybe in his home, you know, he heard certain things that made him amenable to these ideas. But it’s out there. And people have to recognize that it’s this panoply of hatreds that constitute this threat to our democracy and threat to our country and to national security and foreign countries as well.

FADEL: Your mandate is global, and we’re talking about the danger here in the U.S. But when you look at the world, how prevalent is this right now in 2022?

LIPSTADT: It’s extremely prevalent. And my mandate, of course, is global. I’m based in the State Department. But it becomes increasingly difficult to draw a strict dividing line. Or take Buffalo – the killer in Buffalo, the murderer in Buffalo, looked at, as a model, the Christchurch shooter who murdered people in the mosques. He plagiarized what he had written. He also said he had been inspired by the shooter in Halle, Germany, who, two years ago, on Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the Jewish year – tried to attack a synagogue in which there were 70 or 80 worshippers. And but for a lock on the door, we would have had the largest massacre of Jews on German soil since the Holocaust. So it is a global threat, including in our own country.

FADEL: But I guess I struggle with – how do you combat an idea, whether true or not? – because you can’t imprison an idea out of existence. You can’t kill an idea out of existence. I mean, what do you do practically?

LIPSTADT: I’m a teacher. And I hope I can reach people. I’m not going to be able to change the minds of people who would pick up a gun, put themselves in full body armor and go to a supermarket on a weekend afternoon, where people are buying groceries and buying snacks to watch their nighttime movies or taking their kids for ice cream, and murder them. Those people I can’t reach. But I want to reach the people who don’t really understand this threat, the nature, the danger of these ideas and get them to understand and get them to understand something else as well. And this comes from my years of study and teaching and research about the Holocaust. The Nazis in Germany didn’t come into office in January, 1933, with a plan to murder Jews and saying, OK, we’re going to have gas chambers. Maybe some of them had that in the back of their mind, but that wasn’t what they were planning. They tested. They started first by burning books in May. Then they threw Jews out of civil service positions. And then, in 1935, they deprived them of their citizenship. And slowly but surely, in 1938, they had a nationwide destruction of Jewish property and killing of Jews. And they tested how far they can go. When can we be stopped? So you can’t wait until a Buffalo to try to stop it. You’ve got to stop it before.

FADEL: Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt is the special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism. Thank you so much for your time.

Source: Historic levels of hate crimes are a threat to U.S. democracy, Lipstadt says

Hate-motivated crimes up 22 per cent annually in Toronto, police say

Unfortunately, not limited to Toronto:

Toronto police say there has been a 22 per cent increase in hate crimes in the city.

The force says there were 257 hate-motivated incidents in 2021, up from 210 such incidents the year before.

Police say the pandemic and geopolitical events are believed to be contributing factors in the increase.

The force says religion, ethnic or national origin were the dominant motivating factors in the incidents.

It says east and southeast Asian communities were the most targeted.

Toronto police say they are expanding their hate crime unit.

Police Chief James Ramer says hate crimes are increasing year over year.

“Hate crimes victimize not only the person, but also the communities they identify with and the negative effects can be long-lasting,” Ramer said in a written statement.

“We know hate crimes often go unreported and we are committed to working alongside our community partners to break down barriers and develop relationships so that more people will feel comfortable coming forward to report these crimes.”

East and southeast Asian communities were the predominant victims of assaults, followed by the Black community while Jewish and Black communities were the predominant groups targeted for mischief incidents, police said.

Black and LGBTQ communities were the dominant group for being threatened, the force said.

Source: Hate-motivated crimes up 22 per cent annually in Toronto, police say

Why aren’t more hate crime charges being laid in Canada? A Globe and Mail analysis examines police performance across the country

Good in-depth useful analysis. Money quotes:

A Globe and Mail analysis examined the performance of the country’s 13 largest municipal and regional forces, six of which had multiple officers dedicated full-time to solving hate crimes. The average rates at which individual forces solved a hate crime by charging someone – or “cleared” it, in police-speak – varied widely, ranging from six per cent to 28 per cent. But, in general, those forces that devoted more resources, such as full-time investigators and community liaison officers – like Montreal, which had an overall rate of 27 per cent through The Globe’s data period – tended to lay charges more often.

Those that did not fared the worst. Winnipeg, which has long had only a part-time co-ordinator reviewing their colleague’s hate crimes cases, ranked lowest in the Globe analysis at six per cent.

 2018 European Union study of the “life cycle” of hate-crimes cases in Sweden, England and Wales, Ireland, Latvia and the Czech Republic may hold clues for Canada as to how a suspect’s bias is often “filtered out” during the criminal justice process. The study found that this happened at the beginning, when police initially recorded the incident, but failed to tag the hate motivation behind it.

Researchers in England and Wales noted from interviews with prosecutors that many officers were well-versed in the nuances of racial or religious discrimination, but they often missed a suspect’s bias against other protected groups, such as those with disabilities. Prosecutors too often relied on the words uttered by a suspect as they committed a hate crime, and may not be as adept at proving this bias when prosecuting incidents where nothing was said at all.

“They talk about hate disappearing as you move through – and that’s clearly what is happening here [in Canada],” said Dr. Perry.

Source: Why aren’t more hate crime charges being laid in Canada? A Globe and Mail analysis examines police performance across the country

Police-reported hate crime, 2020

Although numbers have been out for some time, here is the StatCan analytical note:

In the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, police reported 2,669 hate crimes in Canada, up 37% from 2019. This marks the largest number of police-reported hate crimes since comparable data became available in 2009. In 2020, police-reported hate crimes targeting race or ethnicity almost doubled (+80%) compared with a year earlier, accounting for the vast majority of the national increase in hate crimes.

Today, Statistics Canada released a detailed analysis in the Juristat article “Police-reported hate crime in Canada, 2020” and the accompanying infographic “Infographic: Police-reported hate crime in Canada, 2020.”

The pandemic further exposed and exacerbated issues related to community safety and discrimination in Canada, including hate crime. According to a crowdsourcing initiative conducted early in the pandemic, respondents belonging to visible minority groups were three times more likely to have perceived an increase in race-based harassment or attacks compared with the rest of the population (18% vs. 6%). This difference was most pronounced among Chinese (30%), Korean (27%), and Southeast Asian (19%) participants. Furthermore, people designated as visible minorities and Indigenous peoples considered their neighbourhoods to be less safe during the pandemic.

Chart 1 
Number of police-reported hate crimes, Canada, 2009 to 2020

Chart 1: Number of police-reported hate crimes, Canada, 2009 to 2020

Hate-motivated crime rises sharply, while other crime drops

While police-reported hate crimes increased sharply, the overall police-reported crime rate (excluding traffic offences) decreased by 10% from 2019 to 2020. In the first month and a half of the pandemic, in which initial lockdown restrictions were in place, the number of police-reported hate crimes and other crimes was lower compared with the same period in 2019. From May to December 2020, however, other crimes remained lower month to month compared with 2019 (-12%), while hate-motivated crimes increased substantially (+52%).

Chart 2 
Percentage change in number of police-reported hate-motivated crimes compared with other crimes, by month of reporting, Canada, 2019 to 2020

Chart 2: Percentage change in number of police-reported hate-motivated crimes compared with other crimes, by month of reporting, Canada, 2019 to 2020

As with other crimes, self-reported data provide further insight into hate-motivated crimes as a complement to police-reported data. While the number of hate crimes rose sharply in 2020, this may still represent an underestimation. Self-reported data show that the majority of criminal incidents perceived to be motivated by hate are not reported to police. Specifically, according to the 2019 General Social Survey (GSS) on Canadians’ Safety (Victimization), Canadians were the victims of over 223,000 criminal incidents that they perceived as being motivated by hate in the 12 months that preceded the survey (3% of self-reported incidents). Approximately one in five (22%) of these incidents were reported to the police.

Most provinces and two territories report increases in hate crimes

When population size is accounted for, the rate of police-reported hate crime in Canada from 2019 to 2020 rose 35% to 7.0 incidents per 100,000 population. The most notable increases in police-reported hate crime rates among the provinces were recorded in Nova Scotia (+70%; +23 incidents), British Columbia (+60%; +198 incidents), Saskatchewan (+60%; +20 incidents), Alberta (+39%; +84 incidents), and Ontario (+35%; +316 incidents). No increases were reported by Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and the Northwest Territories. The relatively small population counts and number of hate crimes in the territories typically translate to more unstable rates, making year-over-year comparisons less reliable.

The rate of hate crime was highest in British Columbia (10.1 incidents per 100,000 population), Ontario (7.9 incidents per 100,000 population) and Alberta (6.6 incidents per 100,000 population).

While the majority (84%) of police-reported hate crimes in Canada occurred in large urban centres or census metropolitan areas (CMAs), rates increased the same (+35%) in CMAs and non-CMAs, which include smaller cities, small towns or rural areas.

Chart 3 
Rate of police-reported hate crimes, by province, 2017 to 2020

Chart 3: Rate of police-reported hate crimes, by province, 2017 to 2020

Non-violent and violent hate crimes up in 2020

More than half (57%) of all hate crime incidents reported by police were non-violent in 2020, while the remaining 43% were violent. These proportions were similar to recent years. Both non-violent (+41%) and violent (+32%) hate crimes increased compared with 2019, contributing fairly equally to the overall increase in hate crime in 2020.

The increase in non-violent hate crime was largely the result of more incidents of general mischief (+33%). The rise in violent hate crime was the result of more incidents of several violations, including criminal harassment (+70%), major or aggravated (level 2 and 3) assault (+58%), common assault (+23%) and uttering threats (+11%).

As is typical of police-reported hate crime historically, mischief (general mischief and mischief towards property used primarily for worship or by an identifiable group) was the most common hate crime-related offence, accounting for almost half (44%) of all hate crime incidents.

For all violent hate crimes reported by police between 2011 and 2020 and for which a victim was identified, 66% of victims were men or boys, and 34% were women or girls. Relative to other hate crime motivations, incidents targeting the Muslim population (47%) were more likely to involve women and girls. This was also the case for hate crimes targeting the Indigenous population, where 44% of victims were women or girls.

Crimes motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity nearly double

The year 2020 was marked not only by the global pandemic, but also the rise of social movements seeking justice and racial and social equity. It is not possible to link police-reported hate crime incidents directly to particular events, but coverage and public discourse around particular issues can increase awareness and exacerbate or entice negative reactions from people who oppose the movement.

The number of police-reported hate crimes targeting race or ethnicity almost doubled (+80%) in 2020 compared with a year earlier, accounting for the vast majority of the national increase. Police reported 1,594 crimes motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity. Much of the rise in these types of hate crimes was the result of crimes targeting the Black population (+318 incidents or +92%), the East or Southeast Asian population (+202 incidents or +301%), the Indigenous population (+44 incidents or +152%), and the South Asian population (+38 incidents or +47%). In 2020, police reported the highest number of hate crimes targeting each of these population groups since comparable data became available.

Chart 4 
Number of police-reported hate crimes, by type of motivation, Canada, 2017 to 2020

Chart 4: Number of police-reported hate crimes, by type of motivation, Canada, 2017 to 2020

Despite an increase, hate crimes targeting Indigenous populations continue to account for relatively few police-reported hate crimes

The number of police-reported hate crimes targeting Indigenous people—First Nations people, Métis or Inuit—more than doubled from 29 in 2019 to 73 in 2020. Despite the increase, incidents against Indigenous people continued to account for a relatively small proportion (3%) of police-reported hate crimes. Self-reported data indicate that rates of violent victimization among Indigenous people were more than double that among non-Indigenous people, but also showed that Indigenous people have lower confidence in police, the justice system and other institutions than their non-Indigenous counterparts. Different degrees of confidence in the police or other institutions among different populations may affect the likelihood that a particular crime is reported to the police.

Hate crimes targeting religion down for the third year in a row

Following a peak in 2017, hate crimes targeting religion declined for the third year in a row, dropping 16% in 2020. Despite the recent declines, the 515 incidents targeting religion in 2020 remained higher than the number of incidents recorded annually prior to 2017. Among reported hate crimes targeting a religion in 2020, the Jewish and Muslim populations continued to be the most frequent targets, accounting for 62% and 16% of crimes against a religion, respectively.

These results mirror findings on self-reported discrimination from the 2019 GSS on Victimization. According to the GSS, the Jewish and Muslim populations were significantly more likely to report experiencing discrimination on the basis of their religion than most other religious affiliations.

The decrease in hate crimes targeting a religion was primarily because hate crimes targeting the Muslim population dropped by 55% in 2020, from 182 incidents to 82 incidents. Declines were mostly in Quebec (-50 incidents), Ontario (-27 incidents) and Alberta (-19 incidents).

In contrast, incidents targeting the Jewish population increased 5% in 2020, from 306 to 321 incidents. Among the provinces and territories, notable changes occurred in Ontario (+15 incidents), Quebec (+10 incidents) and Manitoba (-13 incidents).

Slight decrease in crimes motivated by hatred of a sexual orientation

According to the 2018 Survey of Safety in Public and Private Spaces, an estimated 1 million people in Canada reported their sexual orientation as lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, a sexual orientation on the asexual spectrum, or a sexual orientation that is not otherwise classified. Compared with heterosexual Canadians, this population was more likely to report having been violently victimized in their lifetime and were more likely to have experienced inappropriate behaviours in public and online. At the same time, they were less likely to report being physically assaulted to the police.

Although the number of police-reported hate crimes targeting sexual orientation was down by 2% in 2020, the 259 incidents were the second highest reported since comparable data have been available since 2009. About 8 in 10 (81%) of these crimes specifically targeted the gay and lesbian community, while the remainder targeted the bisexual orientation (2%) and other sexual orientations, such as asexual, pansexual or other non-heterosexual orientations (9%). An additional 7% were incidents where the targeted sexual orientation was reported as unknown.

As was the case in previous years, violent crimes accounted for almost 6 in 10 (58%) hate crimes targeting a sexual orientation. In comparison, one-fifth (20%) of hate crimes targeting religion and less than half (47%) of those targeting race or ethnicity were violent.

Source: Police-reported hate crime, 2020

COVID-19 related racism impacts sense of belonging, reporting incidents: Study

Of interest given lack of major difference between first and second generation:
The dramatic increase in reports to Vancouver police of hate crimes targeted at Asian-Canadians in 2020 shocked many.

Now, a new study delves into the psychological impact of experiencing COVID-19 and racism when it comes to the sense of belonging held by different generations of Chinese-Canadians. It finds these feelings could hinder the reporting of incidents just as policy-makers are grappling with how to better understand what’s happening.

Source: COVID-19 related racism impacts sense of belonging, reporting incidents: Study

Mohamad Fakih and Walied Soliman made legal history. Now it’s harder for haters to have their way

Good for them and all of us:

Mohamad Fakih owns a restaurant chain and is a big Liberal backer.

Walied Soliman heads a law firm and chairs Conservative campaigns.

In their political tastes, the restaurateur and the lawyer couldn’t be more different.

But both are Muslims.

Which was enough for them to be targeted for hateful libels accusing them of being closet terrorists. Personally harangued and persecuted for no reason beyond their faith, they were publicly vilified and personally victimized.

Yet both refused to play victim. Today, each is victorious.

In two separate libel cases, they made legal history last month. By calling their persecutors to account — and forcing the legal system to act — they have made it harder for haters to get away with screaming bloody murder in public.

Soliman won a precedent-setting $500,000 defamation award against social media agitator Daniel Bordman, who had publicly accused him of harbouring crypto-Islamist terrorist links and hiding “secret” antisemitism. The case against Bordman was so compelling that the ruling came in a summary judgment (without going to full trial due to the damning evidence).

Separately, Fakih finally saw justice done when a failed Mississauga mayoral candidate, Kevin Johnston, was sentenced to 18 months in jail for contempt of court — after failing to abide by the terms of a $2.5 million libel judgment against him two years ago (and continuing to spew venom).

What unites Soliman and Fakih, apart from their shared faith and charitable works, is that both paid a personal price in public harassment for their high profiles. And for the sin of being successful in their work.

At the intersection of religion and Islamophobia, power and privilege, they found themselves at an inflection point. They could turn the other cheek, and let others fight the battle against bigotry, or they could push back against their persecutors.

“The first instinct is to ignore it,” Soliman told me. “It’s very easy for privileged people — who have the ability to fight — to say it isn’t worth it.”

But as chair of the Norton Rose Fulbright Canada law firm, who has served as campaign chair for both the Ontario and federal Tories, Soliman knew he had no excuse to do nothing. The libels falsely claimed he had “connections to the Muslim Brotherhood” and wanted to impose Islamic “sharia law to … override Canadian law,” the judge noted.

“I hate being the victim, I hate that role,” Soliman said. “If we don’t fight those battles, then who is going to set the precedents?”

To silence his bilious antagonist, Soliman turned to a rival lawyer against whom he is often pitted in legal battles over mergers and acquisitions, but whose judgment he deeply respects: Jonathan Lisus not only agreed to take on the case, but insisted on doing it at no charge.

Let’s connect a few dots here — not conspiracies but connections: Lisus happens to be a Jewish lawyer who took on the case of Soliman, a Muslim lawyer, to shield him against the lies and libels of Bordman — a Jewish social media provocateur falsely accusing Soliman of antisemitism.

But there’s another link. Lisus also fought and won the libel action of Fakih, setting not one but two major precedents with cases that, combined, should give pause to all hate-mongers:

“If you are going to engage in defamatory hate speech, you can lose everything,” Soliman concludes.

Fakih came to Canada from war-torn Lebanon in 1996 (having covered that conflict at that very time as a foreign correspondent, I know where he’s coming from). He savoured the seeming paradise of his adopted country, and revelled in his spectacular success founding the Paramount Fine Foods chain.

But with paradise, and Paramount, came the bizarre torment from Johnston, the failed politician and provocateur (who placed second to Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, winning 13.5 per cent of the vote in 2017). Post-Lebanon, Fakih didn’t see it coming.

“I lived the Canadian dream, I always thought it would never happen in Canada,” he told me. “It was a shock, and it helped me grow up.”

Like many immigrants, Fakih wondered if he would somehow seem like an ungrateful troublemaker for pushing. But when he was called a child killer, with doctored pictures showing “blood on my face,” after hosting a Liberal party fundraiser for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2017, he had to protect his family — and his fellow Canadians — from the injustices and indignities.

“I wanted to show them I would not stay silent, that I would stand up to bullying … and live with dignity in front of my children,” Fakih explains. “Coming from a country like Lebanon, I am not a victim, it’s my duty to take them on.”

He won the multimillion-dollar defamation judgment against Johnston in 2019, but it was a hollow victory. Unsurprisingly, Johnston never paid up, but he shockingly refused to shut up — continuing to defame him publicly.

“I thought there would be accountability,” Fakih said. And so he went back to court a second time, this time to hold the justice system itself to account — and won another victory with the jail sentence, four years after he first came under attack.

Fakih’s story does not yet have a happy ending, for it is seemingly never-ending — the bigotry keeps coming back. Just as he had to deal with a defendant who refused to stop libeling him, so too Soliman has had to contend with one Islamophobic attack after another — most recently in last year’s federal Conservative leadership race (best leave his attacker nameless lest he profit from the attention).

Still, the legal precedents that Fakih and Soliman have established, each in their own way, will make it easier for those who follow to win in court. The personal examples they have set will also make it harder for haters to have their way.

But it is the resilience they have shown — by refusing to be victims after being victimized for so long — that may be their lasting legacy. Singled out for being Muslims, they both stood their ground without losing faith — either in their religion, or their country.