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Police-reported hate crime, 2016

Released: 2017-11-28

Police reported 1,409 hate crimes in Canada in 2016, 47 more than in 2015. This represented less than 0.1% of the 1,895,546 crimes (excluding traffic violations) that were reported by police services. The 3% increase in hate crimes was a result of more incidents targeting South Asians and Arabs or West Asians, the Jewish population, and people based on their sexual orientation. In contrast, hate crimes against Muslims and Catholics declined in 2016.

Canada's population has become more diverse as the proportion of foreign-born, non-Christian religion and people who report as being gay, lesbian, bisexual or in a same-sex relationship continues to grow. For instance, overall, one-fifth of Canada's population was foreign-born in 2016 and this could reach from 24.5% to 30.0% by 2036.

Since comparable data became available in 2009, the number of police-reported hate crimes have ranged from 1,167 incidents in 2013 to 1,482 incidents in 2009. On average, about 1,360 hate crime incidents have been reported annually by police since 2009.

Police data on hate-motivated crimes are also dependent on the willingness of victims to bring the incident to the attention of police and on the police services' level of expertise in identifying crimes motivated by hate. As with other crimes, self-reported data provide another way of monitoring hate-motivated crimes. According to the 2014 General Social Survey on Victimization, which measures eight types of crimes, Canadians self-reported having been the victim of over 330,000 criminal incidents that they perceived as being motivated by hate (5% of the total self-reported incidents). Two-thirds of these incidents were not reported to the police.

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, as defined in subparagraph 718.2(a)(i) of the Criminal Code of Canada. 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 religious property. Police determine whether or not a crime was motivated by hatred and indicate the type of motivation based on information gathered during the investigation and common national guidelines for record classification.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Number of police-reported hate crimes, Canada, 2009 to 2016
Number of police-reported hate crimes, Canada, 2009 to 2016

Hate crimes targeting South Asians and Arabs or West Asians increases

In 2016, 48% of all police-reported hate crimes were motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity. That year, police reported 666 crimes that were motivated by hatred of race or ethnicity, up 4% from the previous year. This increase was largely due to 24 more hate crimes targeting South Asians and 20 more incidents targeting Arabs or West Asians. British Columbia (+13) and Ontario (+9) accounted for most of the increase in crimes against South Asians. Quebec reported 10 more crimes against Arabs or West Asians than in 2015 (from 31 incidents in 2015 to 41 in 2016).

Crimes motivated by hatred of East or Southeast Asian populations also increased from 2015 to 2016, rising from 49 to 61 incidents. While British Columbia reported 17 more incidents than the previous year, Ontario reported 7 fewer.

Police-reported hate crime against Aboriginal peoples continued to account for a relatively small proportion of hate crimes (2%), falling from 35 to 30 incidents.

Although down 4% (from 224 incidents to 214 in 2016), crimes targeting Black populations remained the most common type of hate crime related to race or ethnicity at 15% of all hate crimes.

Police report fewer hate crimes targeting the Muslim population

Police reported 460 hate crimes targeting religious groups in 2016, 9 fewer than in the previous year. These accounted for one-third of all hate crimes in Canada.

Following a notable increase in hate crimes against the Muslim population in 2015, police reported 20 fewer in 2016 for a total of 139. The decrease in police-reported hate crimes against Muslims was the result of fewer reported incidents in Quebec (-16), Alberta (-8) and Ontario (-6).

Similarly, after an increase in 2015, hate crimes against Catholics also decreased, from 55 to 27 in 2016. Ontario reported 16 fewer incidents, and declines were also seen in Quebec (-7) and the Atlantic provinces (-5).

In contrast, hate crimes against the Jewish population grew from 178 to 221 incidents. Increases were seen in Ontario (+31), Quebec (+11) and Manitoba (+7).

Increase in hate crimes targeting sexual orientation

Hate crimes targeting sexual orientation accounted for 13% of all police-reported hate crimes in 2016, rising from 141 incidents in 2015 to 176 in 2016. A greater number of incidents over these two years were reported in Quebec (+15), British Columbia (+11), Ontario (+7) and Saskatchewan (+4).

The national trend driven by more reported offences in Quebec and British Columbia and fewer in Ontario and Alberta

Among the provinces, the greatest increase in the absolute number of police-reported hate crimes was observed in Quebec, where incidents rose from 270 in 2015 to 327 in 2016. This increase was mostly attributable to more hate crimes targeting Arabs and West Asians, the Jewish population and sexual orientation.

British Columbia also reported more hate crimes, rising from 164 to 211. The increase was attributable to crimes against the East or Southeast Asian and South Asian populations, which doubled from 2015 to 2016 (from 15 to 32 and from 11 to 24, respectively).

In contrast, the number of police-reported hate crimes in Alberta declined from 193 in 2015 to 139 in 2016 due to fewer crimes targeting religion.

Hate crimes were more violent in 2016

Based on data from police services that provided detailed information on hate crimes for both 2015 and 2016, an increased violence was observed in hate crimes. For example, violent hate-motivated crimes (for example, assault, threats, criminal harassment and other violent offences) rose from 487 in 2015 to 563 in 2016, up 16%. In 2016, 43% of hate crimes were violent, compared with 38% in 2015.

Hate crimes targeting sexual orientation continued to be the most violent hate crimes. In 2016, 71% of hate crimes motivated by hatred of the victims' sexual orientation were violent crimes. By comparison, 27% of hate crimes targeting religion and 45% targeting ethnicity were violent.




  Note to readers

Police-reported hate crime data have been collected on an annual basis since 2006 and, since 2010, data on motivations are reported by police services that cover 99.7% of the population of Canada.

Detailed characteristics of incidents, victims and accused are reported by municipal and provincial police services as well as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police covering 94% of the Canadian population and exclude a small number of police services that did not report to the Uniform Crime Reporting 2.2 Survey in both 2015 and 2016, among which are the municipal police services for Calgary, Québec and Saint John.

Fluctuations in the annual number of incidents can be influenced by changes in local police service practices and community involvement, as well as the willingness of victims to report incidents to police. The number of hate crimes presented in this release likely undercounts the true extent of hate crime in Canada, as not all crimes are reported to police.

Data on hate crime for 2016 are now available upon request for police services across Canada reporting to the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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