Police-reported hate crime in Canada, 2012

by Mary Allen

[Highlights] [Full article in PDF]

Skip to text

Text begins

Canada’s population is increasingly diverse: according to the 2011 National Household Survey, 19% of Canadians reported being members of a visible minority group, up from 16% in 2006.Note 1 The proportion of people who reported religious affiliations other than Christianity also grew, with 7.2% of the Canadian population affiliating as Muslim, Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist in 2011 compared to 4.9% in 2001. The Jewish population remained stable at 1% (Statistics Canada 2013b). Aboriginal people comprised 4.3% of the population in 2011 compared to 3.8% in 2006 (Statistics Canada 2013a).

With changing demographics, the potential can arise for acts of discrimination between individuals or groups (Chongatera 2013). When a criminal act is motivated by hate, it is considered a hate crime. Hate crimes can be either violent or non-violent in nature, and affect not only the individual victims of the crime but also the groups targeted. Hate crimes are a focus of social concern in Canada and around the world. As a member of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Canada works with other countries to monitor and combat hate crime (ODIHR 2012).

In Canada, four specific offences are listed as hate propaganda offences or hate crimes in the Criminal Code: advocating genocide, public incitement of hatredNote 2, wilful promotion of hatredNote 3 and mischief motivated by hate in relation to religious property. In addition, subparagraph 718.2(a)(i) of the Criminal Code allows for increased penalties when sentencing any criminal offence (such as assault or mischief) where there is evidence that the offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hatred toward a particular group. These are also considered hate crimes.

This Juristat article uses data from the 2012 Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR2), which collects information from police services, to examine police-reported hate crime in Canada. More specifically, this report examines the number of hate crime incidents reported by police as well as the characteristics of these incidents, the victims and those accused of these crimes. For the survey, a hate crime is defined as a criminal offence committed against a person or property, where there is evidence that the offence was motivated by hate, based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or any other similar factor.Note 4

Half of police-reported hate crimes in 2012 were motivated by race or ethnicity

In 2012, there were 1,414 police-reported criminal incidents motivated by hate, or 4.1 incidents per 100,000 population. This represents a very small proportion of all police-reported crime. For example, hate crimes represented 0.09% of reported incidents of common assault, and 0.24% of incidents of mischief.Note 5

About half of all hate crimes (704 incidents, or 51%) were motivated by hatred toward a race or ethnicity (or ancestry) such as Black, Asian, Arab or Aboriginal populations (Table 1).Note 6 Another 419 incidents or 30% of incidents were motivated by hatred towards a religious group, including hate crimes targeting Jewish, Muslim, Catholic and other religious populations.Note 7 An additional 13% (185 incidents) were motivated by hatred of a sexual orientation. The remaining 6% of hate crimes were motivated by language, mental or physical disability, sex, age, or some other characteristic (such as occupation or political beliefs) (Chart 1). This report will focus on the three most common motivations: race/ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation.

Chart 1

Description for chart 1

Start of text box

Text box 1
Police-reported hate crimes

The Uniform Crime Reporting Survey collects police-reported information on hate crimes, whether an incident involved one of the four specific offences of hate propaganda or hate crimes listed in the Criminal Code or if it involved a criminal offence motivated by hate. The survey also includes detailed information about the incidents, including whether the incident was a violent or non-violent offence, as well as some information about the victims and accused. Detailed information about the incidents, such as offence, as well as the characteristics of victims and accused, was not available for municipal police services in Toronto, Calgary, Québec and Saint John. These four police services accounted for 16% of hate crimes in 2012.

The collection of police-reported hate crime data occurs at the time the incident is reported. Depending on the level of evidence at the time of the incident, police can record it as either a ‘suspected’ or ’confirmed’ hate-motivated crime. As more information is gathered, incidents are reviewed and verified and their status may be reclassified. Of the 1,414 hate crimes reported in 2012 and examined in this report, 75% had been confirmed by police as hate-motivated; the remaining 25% were recorded as suspected hate crimes. These suspected hate crimes may include criminal incidents that cannot be confirmed as hate crimes, but for which there is sufficient evidence to suspect that they are motivated by hate (e.g., hate graffiti where no accused has been identified).

Over the past two decades, police services across Canada have continued to improve their identification and reporting of hate crime incidents.Note 8 Changes in reporting practices can have an effect on hate crime statistics. For example, the change in the number of hate crime incidents in 2012 is notably influenced by improvements in reporting in Hamilton and Thunder Bay.

It is therefore important to recognize that, according to police services, higher rates of police-reported hate crime in certain jurisdictions may reflect differences or changes in the recognition, reporting and investigation of these incidents by police and community members. Moreover, it should be noted that smaller jurisdictions are more sensitive to changes in rates, where a small change in the number of incidents in small populations will have a greater impact on the rate.

Because of the impact of changes in reporting practices, and the variability of hate crime in jurisdictions where numbers are small, trends over time should be interpreted with caution. In addition, information on the characteristics of hate crimes where the total count is low (i.e. for less frequent detailed motivations, or for smaller jurisdictions) should be interpreted in the context of the specific year of the data, and not as typical of these hate crimes generally.

End of text box


Mischief was the most common police-reported hate crime offence

In 2012, the majority of police-reported hate crimes were non-violent (69%) (Chart 2, Table 2). The most common hate crime offence was mischiefNote 9: 6% were hate mischief in relation to religious property and 51% were other types of mischief. It was the most common offence among hate crime incidents motivated by religion and race or ethnicity.

Chart 2

Description for chart 2

In contrast, among hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation, the majority of incidents (67%) were violent offences. The most common offence involved in hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation was assault (38%), followed by uttering threats (12%) and criminal harassment (10%).

The majority of police-reported hate crime incidents (92%) were criminal offences deemed to have been motivated by hate.Note 10 The remaining 8% involved the four specific violations defined as hate crimes in the Criminal Code.Note 11

There were 82 more police-reported hate crimes in Canada in 2012 than in 2011, reflecting an increase in non-violent incidents

There were 82 more police-reported hate crime incidents in Canada in 2012 than in 2011. This 6% increase is partly owing to improvements in reporting by police services in Hamilton and Thunder Bay, which account for an increase of 59 incidents. The overall increase was composed primarily of a rise in mischief offences targeting Black populations, as well as mischief and other non-violent hate crimes targeting Jewish populations.Note 12 The number of non-violent hate crime incidents increased 18% from 2011 to 2012.

There were fewer violent hate crime incidents reported by police in 2012 (down 16% from 2011). In particular, there were fewer violent hate crime incidents motivated by race or ethnicity (down 21%) and sexual orientation (down 23%). There was virtually no change in the number of violent religious hate crime incidents in 2012.

It should be noted that, given the relatively small number of hate crimes, small increases in the number of police-reported incidents can have a considerable impact on the percentage change in the number of incidents from one year to the next, as well as on changes in the characteristics of hate crimes. The impact of improved hate crime reporting by police services in Hamilton and Thunder Bay is an example of this.

Increase in police-reported hate crime primarily in Ontario, Alberta and Quebec

About half of police-reported hate crimes in 2012 were reported in Ontario (53%) which had the highest rate of hate crimes among provinces per 100,000 population in 2012 (Chart 3, Table 3). While some other provinces reported higher percentage increases in the number of hate crimes, Ontario’s increase in hate crimes, 64 incidents, made up the bulk of the total rise in police-reported hate crime incidents, primarily as a result of improvements in the identification and reporting of hate crimes in Hamilton and Thunder Bay. Alberta and Quebec also contributed to the increase in hate crimes reported by police in 2012, with an additional 26 and 22 incidents, respectively. Newfoundland and Labrador (+1), Nova Scotia (+1), New Brunswick (+8), Yukon (+1) and Nunavut (+1) also reported small increases.

The largest declines in the number of police-reported hate crimes were in Manitoba (13 fewer incidents) and British Columbia (11 fewer). Prince Edward Island (-8), Saskatchewan (-6) and the Northwest Territories (-4) also reported declines.

Chart 3

Description for chart 3

Start of text box

Text box 2
Factors affecting the reporting of hate crimes

This report presents information on police-reported hate crimes, which likely underestimate the true extent of hate crime. According to the 2009 General Social Survey on Victimization (GSS), for example, about two-thirds of respondents who said they had been victims of hate-motivated incidents did not report the incidents to the police (Dauvergne and Brennan 2011).

In order to be reported as a hate crime, a criminal incident must first be reported to the police as a crime, and then it must also be identified as being motivated by hate.Note 13 Some hate crimes may not be reported to police at all; others may be reported, but not identified as hate-motivated.

Differences in the prevalence of police-reported hate crime can be influenced by a variety of factors. For example, the presence (or absence) of a dedicated hate crime unit or training program within a particular police service may influence the identification of a crime as hate-motivated. The presence (or absence) of community outreach programs, public awareness campaigns, zero tolerance policies and victim assistance programs may affect the willingness or ability of community members to report incidents to police, or to disclose the nature of the crime as hate-motivated.

The influence of these factors makes it difficult to compare the number of hate crimes over time or for different geographies. Similarly, previous research suggests that there may also be differences in the reporting of hate crimes for various targeted populations (Statistics Canada 2001, McDonald and Hogue 2007). In addition, some populations may be targeted by hate crimes motivated by either religion or race/ethnicity. Where a hate crime incident may involve more than one motivation (e.g., religion and race/ethnicity), the incident is reported once according to the primary motivation determined by the circumstances of the incident.

End of text box


Majority of hate crimes reported in major cities

The majority (82%) of police-reported hate crimes in Canada occurred in major cities (Census Metropolitan Areas, CMAs).Note 14 The 10 largest CMAs in Canada, home to 52% of the population covered by the UCR2 survey, accounted for 63% of hate crimes in 2012.Note 15

Toronto, Montréal, and Vancouver, Canada’s three largest CMAs, accounted for 35% of police-reported hate crime incidents in 2012. These three CMAs, however, did not have the highest police-reported hate crime rates per 100,000 population; Hamilton,Note 16 Thunder Bay and Peterborough reported the highest rates of hate crime in 2012 (Chart 4, Table 4).

Chart 4

Description for chart 4

Differences in police-reported hate crime in different cities, or from year to year, may be related to the demographic mix of the population (see Textbox 3). The reporting of hate crimes can also be influenced by the presence of a dedicated hate crime unit or hate crime programs within a police service, as well as by community outreach programs and public awareness campaigns (Text box 2).

The increase in hate crime incidents reported by police in Thunder Bay is an example of this, where awareness and reporting of hate crimes increased in 2012 leading up to the formal establishment of the Thunder Bay Hate Crime Awareness Committee’s “Hate Divides a Community Campaign” in 2013. Similarly, Hamilton, which also has a Hate Crime Unit, has attributed recent increases to improvements in reporting (Hamilton Police Service 2012).

Start of text box

Text box 3
Canada’s diverse population living in 3 largest CMAs

According to the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS), 19% of the Canadian population was a member of a visible minority, compared to 16% in the 2006 Census and 13% in the 2001 Census. Canada’s visible minority population is most concentrated in the country’s three largest Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) – Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Of the total visible minority population in Canada, 70% lived in these three CMAs in 2011. In 2011, more than 4 in 10 people residing in Toronto and Vancouver were visible minorities (47% and 45%, respectively), whereas the proportion was smaller in Montreal at 20%.

Canada’s three largest CMAs were also home to a great majority of Canadians who were members of religious groups that were most frequently targeted in religiously motivated hate crimes. For instance, in 2011, 1% of the Canadian population identified as Jewish, yet 82% lived in either Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver. The majority of those identifying as Muslim, who made up 3% of the Canadian population, also resided within Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver (68%). Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs represented 4% of the Canadian population, and, again, the majority resided in the three largest CMAs (74%).

In 2011, same-sex couple families (both married and common-law) accounted for 1% of all couples in Canada. Almost half (46%) of these couples resided in Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver in 2011.

End of text box


Hate crime victims tend to be young and male

The majority of victims of police-reported violent hate crimes were male (72%) (Table 5).Note 17 Incidents motivated by sexual orientation had the highest proportion of male victims (80%). In 2012, 40% of hate crime victims were under the age of 25 (Chart 5). Victims of sexual-orientation-motivated hate crime tended to be younger, with 56% under age 25.

Chart 5

Description for chart 5

The majority of hate crime victims sustained no physical injuries (68%).Note 18 Just under one-third (30%) had minor physical injuries, and two percent sustained major injuries. Victims of sexual-orientation-related hate crimes, the incidents which were the most likely to involve assault, were the most likely to report any physical injuries: 37% involved minor injuries and 2% major injuries.

Most victims of violent hate crimes (62%) did not know the accused (in incidents where an accused was identified).

Majority of individuals accused of hate crimes were under age 25

Those accused of hate crimes also tend to be young (Chart 6, Table 6).Note 19 In 2012, 57% of persons accused of hate crimes were aged 12 to 24.Note 20 While these youth and young adults comprised 75% of the accused in non-violent crimes, they also made up a substantial proportion of the accused in violent hate crimes (44%). Among youth under age 18 who were accused of hate crimes, 62% were accused of non-violent crimes, with 48% (of all youth accused) accused of mischief. The most common violent offence was assault (22%). Assault was more frequent among young adults; 40% of 18- to 24-year-olds accused of hate crimes were accused of assault.

The vast majority of those accused of hate crimes (84%) were male. Young males under age 18 made up 31% of hate crime accused.

Chart 6

Description for chart 6

Overview of hate crimes by type of motivation

The remainder of this report provides an overview of hate crimes by type of motivation: race/ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. This section also provides additional information on hate crimes targeting selected populations motivated by race or ethnicity (such as Black or Arab/West Asian populations) and religion (such as Jewish or Muslim populations).

It is important to note that, because the number of hate crime incidents in selected categories can be relatively small, a change in reported hate crimes from one year to the next can have a considerable impact on the reported characteristics of these incidents (or victims and accused).

The information in this section should therefore be interpreted as a snapshot of police-reported hate crimes for 2012. Where there is a considerable year-over-year change in the characteristics of hate crimes targeting selected groups, information for 2011 is provided in the endnotes. Caution should also be taken in comparing the characteristics for different groups since there are also based on small numbers and subject to change from year to year.

It is important to note that victims of hate crimes targeting specific populations are not necessarily members of those populations. For example, if someone is assaulted and there is anti-Muslim language, the hate crime will be considered anti-Muslim whether or not the victim is Muslim. The hate crime is classified by the nature of the incident, not by the characteristics of any victims involved.

Police-reported hate crimes motivated by hatred of race or ethnicity

According to the National Household Survey (NHS), 19% of the Canadian population in 2011 was a member of a visible minority group,Note 21 compared to 16% in the 2006 Census and 13% in the 2001 Census.Note 22 In the context of this increasing diversity, hate crimes motivated by race or ethnicity are of particular concern as they comprise half of all police-reported hate crimes in Canada.

In 2012, there were 704 police-reported hate crimes motivated by race or ethnicity. Black populations continued to be the most commonly targeted group for police-reported hate crimes motivated by race or ethnicity in 2012, accounting for 42% of racial hate crimes (or 21% of all hate crimes).Note 23 Hate crimes targeting Arab and West Asian populations comprised 9% of race/ethnicity hate crimes, followed by those targeting South Asian (8%), East and Southeast Asian (7%) and Aboriginal (5%) populations (Chart 7, Table 7).

Chart 7

Description for chart 7

Start of text box

Text box 4
Hate crime rates for selected targeted populations

A rate of hate crime for selected groups was calculated for this report to estimate the number of police-reported hate crime incidents per 100,000 individuals in the target population.Note 24 This rate should not be interpreted as a victimization rate, as it also includes crimes where no direct victim was involved (e.g. public graffiti). Instead, it takes into account the fact that hate crimes not only affect their immediate victims, but also have an impact on the populations they target (Fashola 2011, McDonald and Hogue 2007). Even a ‘victimless’ crime, such as hate graffiti written in a public place, may have a broad effect on the population it targets.

Using demographic information from the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) on visible minority groups and religion, rates are provided for selected populations targeted by hate crimes. These were calculated as the number of 2012 hate crimes targeting a specific group per 100,000 persons in Canada identifying as members of that group in 2011. For example, the rate for hate crimes targeting Jewish populations is calculated as the number of Jewish hate crimes per 100,000 persons in Canada who reported their religion in the 2011 NHS as Jewish.

These rates are estimated, as they are based on population data from the previous year (2011).Note 25 Comparison of rates for different groups is not recommended.

It is important to note that the findings in this report refer only to hate crimes reported in 2012. Because of the small number of hate crimes targeting specific groups, characteristics of incidents, victims and accused may vary considerably from year to year.

End of text box

Hate crimes targeting Black populations

In 2012, there were 295 police-reported hate crime incidents that targeted Black populations. This represented an estimated rate of 31.2 incidents per 100,000 persons in Canada reporting that they were Black.

Almost three-quarters of hate crimes targeting Black populations in 2012 were non-violent (71%); these mostly involved mischief (59% of Black hate crimes).Note 26 Violent offences made up 29% of hate crimes targeting Black populations.

Victims of violent hate crimes targeting Black populations in 2012 were predominantly male (72%). As with hate crimes in general, victims were often young; 36% were under age 25.Note 27

The majority of individuals accused of hate crimes targeting Black populations were under age 25 (56%), including 40% under age 18. Of these accused youth (aged 12 to 17), 72% were accused of mischief.Note 28

Hate crimes targeting Arab and West Asian populations

There were 64 police-reported hate crimes targeting Arab and West Asian populations in 2012. This represents an estimated rate of 10.9 incidents per 100,000 persons in Canada reporting that they were Arab or West Asian.

Over half (54%) of hate crimes targeting Arab and West Asian populations in 2012 were non-violent. Mischief was the most common offence (42%). Nearly half (46%) of the hate crime incidents targeting Arab and West Asian populations involved violent offences, with 28% of hate crimes involving some kind of assault.Note 29

Victims of violent hate crimes targeting Arab and West Asian populations in 2012 were predominantly male (63%), and 45% were under age 25.

About two-thirds (65%) of individuals accused of hate crimes targeting Arabs and West Asian populations in 2012 were male and, unlike hate crime accused in general, the majority of accused in 2012 were aged 35 and over (58%).Note 30

Hate crimes targeting South Asian populations

There were 55 police-reported hate crimes targeting South Asian populations in 2012 or an estimated rate of 3.5 hate crimes per 100,000 persons in Canada reporting that they were South Asian. The majority of these hate crimes in 2012 were violent offences (59%).Note 31

Unlike hate crimes in general, less than half of hate crimes targeting South Asian populations in 2012 were non-violent (41%). However, mischief was still the most common offence (38%). A higher-than-average proportion of 2012 hate crimes for this group involved an assault (31%).

The vast majority of victims of violent hate crimes targeting South Asian populations in 2012 were male (96%), and two-thirds (68%) were aged 25 and over. Most (92%) identified the accused as a stranger.Note 32, Note 33

As with hate crimes in general, most individuals (89%) accused of hate crimes targeting South Asian populations in 2012 were male. One-third (33%) were under age 25.Note 34

Hate crimes targeting East and Southeast Asian populations

There were 50 police-reported hate crimes targeting East and Southeast Asian populations in 2012, or an estimated rate of 2.0 per 100,000 persons in Canada reporting that they were East or Southeast Asian.Note 35

The majority of these hate crimes involved violent offences (54%).Note 36 Hate crimes targeting this group in 2012 were more likely than other race/ethnicity-motivated hate crimes to involve some sort of assault (41%).

Victims of violent hate crimes targeting East and Southeast Asian populations in 2012 had similar age and sex profiles to hate crimes overall. A large majority (82%) did not know their accused. Almost all the individuals accused of hate crimes targeting East and Southeast Asian populations in 2012 were male, and 69% were 25 years of age or older.Note 37

Hate crimes targeting Aboriginal populations

There were 33 hate crime incidents targeting Aboriginal populations reported by police in 2012.Note 38 This represented an estimated rate of 2.4 hate crimes per 100,000 persons in Canada reporting that they were an Aboriginal person. As with other hate crimes, the majority of these hate crimes were non-violent, 64%, and the most common offence was mischief, 61%.Note 39 Violent offences accounted for just over one-third (36%) of hate crimes targeting Aboriginal populations in 2012.Note 40

About half (53%) of victims of violent hate crimes targeting Aboriginal populations in 2012 were female.Note 41 They were also younger than other victims of race/ethnicity hate crime in 2012. While 18% of victims of all race/ethnicity hate crimes in 2012 were under 18, the proportion was 40% for victims of Aboriginal hate crimes. An additional 13% of victims of hate crimes targeting Aboriginal populations in 2012 were aged 18 to 24 years.

The majority of victims in violent hate crimes targeting Aboriginal populations in 2012 reported an injury (53%, all minor), and the majority identified the accused as an acquaintance (58%).Note 42

The vast majority of individuals accused of hate crimes targeting Aboriginal populations in 2012 were youth or young adults: 60% were under age 18 and another 30% were 18 to 24 years old.Note 43 In 2012, 93% of accused were male.

It is important to note that these findings only apply to hate crimes reported in 2012 as some characteristics of hate crimes targeting Aboriginal populations differ considerably from 2011 as indicated in the endnotes.

Police-reported hate crimes motivated by religion

According to the 2011 National Household Survey, the increased ethno-cultural diversity in Canada has been paralleled by an increase in the proportion of people who reported religious affiliations other than Christianity. In 2011, 7.2% of the Canadian population reported that they were Muslim, Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist, compared to 4.9% in 2001. The Jewish population has remained stable at 1%. Two-thirds (67.3%) of the Canadian population reported affiliation with a Christian religion, with 38.7% of Canadians being Roman Catholic. Almost one-quarter (23.9%) of Canadians reported no religious affiliation, compared to 16.5% in 2001.

The majority of Canadians who reported non-Christian religions were also members of a visible minority group, with one exception. In 2011, 88% of Muslims and 97% of Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs residing in Canada were also members of a visible minority group.Note 44 The exception was for those who were Jewish, among whom 2% were members of a visible minority group. The overlap between race/ethnicity and religion may have an impact on hate crime statistics, as some religious populations (communities) may also be targeted in hate crimes motivated by race or ethnicity (see Text box 2).

In 2012, there were 419 police-reported hate crimes motivated by hatred for a religion or religious group —30% of hate crimes. Hate crimes targeting Jewish populations were the most frequently reported, accounting for 58% of religious hate crimes in 2012 (17% of all hate crime incidents) (Chart 8, Table 7).

Chart 8

Description for chart 8

There were 93 more religion-motivated hate crime incidents reported in 2012 than in 2011. The additional incidents targeted all religious populations except Muslim populations, for whom four fewer incidents were reported. The increase was primarily driven by an increase in hate crimes targeting Jewish populations in Ontario and, to a lesser extent, Alberta.

Hate mischief related to religious property most often targets Catholic or unspecified religions

Two types of hate crime involve mischief. Most hate crimes involving mischief are labelled ‘other mischief’ motivated by hate, such as hate graffiti in a public place or on someone’s home. In addition, the Criminal Code (s. 430) specifically lists mischief in relation to religious property motivated by hate, bias or prejudice as a specific hate crime offence. In 2012, there were 69 incidents of mischief motivated by hate in relation to religious property reported by police.Note 45 The most common categories identified in police-reported hate mischief were Catholic (17 incidents) and “Other” unspecified religions, which includes non-Catholic Christian denominations as well as Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, etc. (15 incidents). It should be noted that over one-third of the incidents motivated by religion (26 incidents) were identified as "unknown religion". These may include incidents of mischief in cemeteries where no specific religion can be identified.

Hate crimes targeting Jewish populations

There were 242 hate-motivated crimes targeting the Jewish religion reported by police in 2012, or an estimated rate of 73.4 police-reported hate crimes per 100,000 individuals reporting that they were Jewish. Most of these incidents were non-violent (85%). Nearly three-quarters of hate crimes targeting Jewish populations were mischief: 4% were mischief motivated by hate in relation to religious property, and 68% were other mischief motivated by hate.

Violent offences accounted for 15% of Jewish hate crimes in 2012.Note 46 The most common violent offence was uttering threats, accounting for 46% of violent incidents. Assaults (of all types) comprised 18% of violent Jewish hate crimes—5 incidents, or 3% of all Jewish hate crimes.Note 47

The majority of victims of violent hate crimes targeting Jewish populations in 2012 were male (62%) and 62% were 35 years of age and older. The vast majority, 97%, reported no physical injury. Just over half of these victims identified the accused as a stranger (52%).

Of individuals accused of hate crimes targeting Jewish populations in 2012, 92% were male. Nearly half (46%) were under age 18; another 24% were 18 to 24 years of age. Almost half of these youth and young adults (46%) were accused of mischief.

Hate crimes targeting Muslim populationsNote 48

Police reported 45 crimes motivated by hatred against the Muslim religion in 2012. This represented an estimated rate of 4.3 hate crimes per 100,000 individuals reporting that they were Muslim. It is important to note, however, that, according to the 2011 National Household Survey, 88% of the Muslim population were also members of visible minority groups and may also be targeted by hate crimes motivated by race or ethnicity (see Text box 2).

The majority of hate crimes targeting Muslim populations were non-violent (72%) and the most common offence was mischief (31%) or mischief motivated by hate in relation to religious property (14%). They were, however, more likely to be violent offences than other religious hate crimes.Note 49, Note 50

Police-reported hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation

There were 185 police-reported hate crime incidents in 2012 that were motivated by sexual orientation, 23% fewer than the previous year. The most common offence was assault: 22% were incidents of common assault; another 15% were more serious assaults. They were primarily assault level 2 (with a weapon or causing bodily harm), and one incident of aggravated assault (level 3) was reported.Note 51 Mischief accounted for 26% of hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation.

Of the victims of hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation, 80% were male, and 56% were under age 25. Males under 25 accounted for 42% of victims.

Among all victims of violent hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation, 62% identified the accused as a stranger. Over one-third received injuries, mainly minor.

Of those accused of hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation, 66% were under age 25, and 77% of all accused were male. Half (50%) of those accused were young males under age 25.

Summary

Canadian police services reported 1,414 hate crimes in 2012, 82 more incidents than in 2011. This reflected an increase in non-violent hate crimes; the number of violent hate crimes declined between 2011 and 2012.

Most police-reported hate crime involved non-violent offences, particularly mischief, which accounted for more than half of hate crime incidents in 2012. Consistent with previous years, three motivations accounted for most hate crime: race or ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. Youth and young adults comprised the majority of those accused of hate crimes: they were also overrepresented among hate crime victims.

The number and characteristics of hate crimes varied according to the population targeted. Hate crimes targeting Black populations and Jewish populations were the most common types of hate crime, and were the most likely to involve non-violent offences. Police-reported hate crimes targeting other groups were more likely to involve violent offences such as assault.

This analysis of hate crimes over time and for specific jurisdictions and motivations shows that the reporting of hate crimes is sensitive to changes in reporting practices, which may be influenced by a variety of factors, including the introduction of police hate crime initiatives and public awareness campaigns.

Survey description

This report uses data from the Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR2). This is a microdata survey that captures detailed information on crimes reported to and substantiated by police, comprising the characteristics of victims, accused persons and incidents. In response to changing information needs, the survey was modified in 2005 (UCR2.2) to enable identification of incidents motivated by hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or any other similar factor, such as occupation or political beliefs.

In the UCR Survey, police services can report up to four offences per incident. However, to conform to statistical reporting standards for this survey, only the most serious offence in an incident is used in this analysis.

In 2012, police services reporting to the UCR2.2 served 86% of the population of Canada.

A supplemental survey has been conducted each year since 2006 as a means of obtaining information on hate-motivated crimes from those police services reporting microdata but which had not yet converted their electronic reporting systems to the newest UCR2.2 version. These respondents were asked to identify those criminal incidents that had been motivated by hate and to manually provide the detailed motivation of each incident to Statistics Canada. Additional information (e.g., type of crime, weapon use, level of injury and relationship) was not provided by these respondents. In 2012, the municipal police services providing information to the supplemental survey were Toronto, Calgary, Québec, and Saint John.

Combined, coverage from UCR2.2 and the supplemental survey in 2012 is estimated at 99% of the population of Canada.

The Oshawa CMA is excluded from the analysis of hate crimes by CMA due to the incongruity between the police service jurisdictional boundaries and the CMA boundaries. For the same reason, data from the Halton and Durham police services are also excluded. The exclusion of information from Halton police affects the coverage for the Toronto and Hamilton CMA. The exclusion of information from the Durham police affects coverage for Toronto. As a result, information for the CMA of Toronto reflects data from police serving 91% of the population of the CMA of Toronto. For Hamilton, data cover 73% of the Hamilton CMA population. Changes in the hate crime rate for Barrie in 2012 are partly owing to changes in coverage (from 70% of the population in 2011 to 100% in 2012).

The UCR2 survey collects information on victims of violent crimes when they are identified in an incident. In 2012, information on 421 victims of violent offences was reported in 337 hate crime incidents. In 19% of violent hate crime incidents involving victims, more than one victim was identified. Information on victims reflects data reported by police services covering 86% of the population of Canada. It is not provided by police services reporting to the UCR2.2 Supplemental Survey.

UCR2 also collects information about persons accused of hate crime. In 2012, there was information on 391 accused individuals aged 12 years and over (excluding accused where reported age was under 12). These accused were associated with 297 incidents. In 19% of these incidents, more than one accused was identified. Information on accused reflects data reported by police services serving 86% of the population of Canada. It is not provided by police services reporting to the UCR2.2 Supplemental Survey.

Detailed data tables

Table 1 Police-reported hate crimes, by type of motivation, 2011 and 2012

Table 2 Police-reported hate crimes, by most serious violation, Canada, 2012

Table 3 Police-reported hate crimes, by type of motivation, by province and territory, 2012

Table 4 Number and rate of police-reported hate crimes, by Census metropolitan area, 2011 and 2012

Table 5 Characteristics of hate crime victims, by motivation, Canada, 2012

Table 6 Characteristics of persons accused of hate crimes, by motivation, Canada, 2012

Table 7 Police-reported hate crimes, by detailed motivation, Canada, 2011 and 2012

Acknowledgements

The collection of police-reported hate crime data as well as the production of this analytical report was supported by funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

References

Chongatera, Godfred. 2013. “Hate-crime victimization and fear of hate crime among racially visible people in Canada: the role of income as a mediating factor.” Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies. Vol. 11. p. 44-64.

Dauvergne, Mia and Shannon Brennan. 2011. “Police-reported hate crime in Canada, 2009.” Juristat. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 85-002-X.

Fashola, Sidikat. 2011. Understanding the Community Impact of Hate Crimes: A Case Study. Victims of Crime Research Digest Issue no. 4. Department of Justice Canada, Ottawa.

Hamilton Police Service. 2012. “Hamilton Police Service 2011 Hate/Bias Crime Statistical Report.” Hamilton.

McDonald, Susan and Andrea Hogue. 2007. An Exploration of the Needs of Victims of Hate Crimes. Ottawa. Department of Justice Canada.

Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). 2012. Hate Crimes in the OSCE Region—Incidents and Responses: Annual Report for 2011.

Statistics Canada. 2001. Hate Crime in Canada: An Overview of Issues and Data Sources. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 85-551-XIE.

Statistics Canada. 2012. Portrait of families and living arrangements in Canada. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 98-312-X2011001. Ottawa, Ontario. Analysis Series, 2011 Census of Population.

Statistics Canada. 2013a. Aboriginal Peoples in Canada: First Nations People, Métis and Inuit. National Household Survey, 2011. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 99-011-X2011001.

Statistics Canada. 2013b. Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity in Canada. National Household Survey, 2011. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 99-010-X2011001.

Notes

Date modified: