Police-reported hate crime in Canada, 2016

by Maxime Gaudet

Release date: April 25, 2018

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Highlights

  • In 2016, police reported 1,409 criminal incidents in Canada that were motivated by hate, an increase of 3% or 47 more incidents than reported the previous year. Accounting for the population, this amounted to a rate of 3.9 hate crimes per 100,000 Canadians in 2016.
  • The increase in the total number of incidents was largely attributable to an increase in police-reported hate crimes motivated by hatred of a sexual orientation (+35 incidents) or of a race or ethnicity (+25 incidents). Hate crimes accounted for less than 0.1% of the nearly 1.9 million police-reported crimes in 2016 (excluding traffic offences).
  • Police-reported hate crimes targeting sexual orientation rose 25% in 2016 to 176 incidents, compared with 141 incidents in 2015. These incidents accounted for 13% of hate crimes reported in 2016 and 11% of hate crimes reported in 2015.
  • Between 2015 and 2016, the number of police-reported crimes motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity increased 4% (from 641 to 666). In all, 48% of all police-reported hate crimes in 2016 were motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity. Much of this increase was a result of more hate crimes targeting South Asians (+24 incidents) and Arabs and West Asians (+20 incidents). Despite posting a decrease in 2016, crimes targeting Black populations remained one of the most common types of hate crimes (15% of all hate crimes).
  • Overall, 33% of hate crimes reported in 2016 were motivated by hatred of religion. Compared with 2015, the number of hate crimes motivated by religion decreased 2% in 2016 (from 469 in 2015 to 460 in 2016). Police-reported crimes motivated by hate against the Jewish population rose from 178 incidents in 2015 to 221 incidents in 2016 (+24%). In contrast, the number of crimes targeting the Catholic population fell from 55 to 27 incidents. Similarly, crimes targeting the Muslim population decreased 13% (from 159 incidents in 2015 to 139 incidents in 2016).
  • The provinces of Quebec and British Columbia, and more specifically Vancouver (+30 incidents), Québec (+29 incidents), and Montréal (+25 incidents), were the census metropolitan areas where hate crimes increased the most in 2016. The increases in Montréal and Québec are associated with a rise in hate crimes targeting the Jewish, Arab and West Asian, and gay and lesbian populations. The increase in Vancouver was primarily explained by a rise in hate crimes against the East Asian, Southeast Asian and South Asian populations.
  • Based on data from police services that reported characteristics of hate crimes, 43% of police-reported hate crimes in 2016 were violent offences. Violent offences included, for example, assault, uttering threats and criminal harassment. Overall, the number of violent hate crimes rose 16% from the previous year (from 487 to 563 violent incidents), driven by increases in common assault, criminal harassment and uttering threats.
  • Crimes motivated by hatred of a sexual orientation continued to be among the most violent hate crimes. In 2016, 71% of these types of police-reported hate crimes were violent, compared with 45% of crimes motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity and 27% of hate crimes targeting a religion.
  • Non-violent offences made up 57% of police-reported hate crimes in 2016. Mischief, which includes vandalism and graffiti, was the most commonly reported offence among police-reported hate crimes and accounted for 41% of all hate crime incidents in 2016. Between 2015 and 2016, the total number of non-violent hate crime incidents fell 6%. In 2016, 73% of crimes targeting religion were non-violent. This proportion was 55% for non-violent crimes motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity. Conversely, hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation were less often non-violent (29%).

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Canada has a very multicultural and diverse population. According to the 2016 Census data, 22.3% of Canadians reported being members of a visible minority group, an increase of 3 percentage points since the 2011 National Household Survey.Note Aboriginal people comprised 4.9% of the population in 2016, up from 4.3% in 2011 (Statistics Canada 2013a). The proportion of people who reported religious affiliations other than Christianity has also grown. In 2011, 7.2% of the Canadian population identified as Muslim, Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist compared to 4.9% in 2001.Note The Jewish population has remained stable at 1% (Statistics Canada 2013b).

Canada’s population is expected to become even more multicultural and diverse in the coming decades. The proportion of Canadians who are members of visible minority groupsNote or affiliated with non-Christian religions is expected to increase by 2036. In particular, nearly one in three working-age Canadians (15 to 64 years of age) could be a member of a visible minority group, and the number of Canadians with a non-Christian religion is expected to more than double—to reach between 13% and 16% of the population (Statistics Canada 2017). It is also expected that over half the immigrants in Canada will be of Asian origin (Statistics Canada 2017). South AsianNote and Chinese populations are expected to continue to be the largest visible minority groups in Canada, but Arab and West AsianNote populations are expected to grow the fastest over the next two decades (Statistics Canada 2017).

Despite the increase in ethnic diversity in Canada, hate crimes account for a very small proportion of all crime reported by police each year (less than 0.1% of all crimes) (Reitz and Banerjee 2007). However, the demographic evolution occurring in Canada may increase the potential for more hate crimes (Chongatera 2013; Putnam 2007). As such, an accurate picture of diversity in Canada may help to contextualize information on hate crimes. For example, to help prevent and address hate crime in Canada, including those against Muslims, the House of Commons passed motion M-103 in March 2017 (see Text box 1).

When a criminal act in Canada is motivated by hate, it is considered a hate crime. Hate crimes can be either violent or non-violentNote in nature, and affect not only the individual victims but also the communities 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 and of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Canada works with other countries to monitor and combat hate crimes (Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights 2014). However, methodological differences makes it difficult to compare hate crime data between countries.Note

In Canada, four specific offences are listed as hate crimes in the Criminal Code of Canada: advocating genocide, public incitement of hatred, wilful promotion of hatred, when directed against an identifiable group, and mischief motivated by hate in relation to religious property.Note 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 based on various criteria as set out in that subparagraph. These are also considered hate crimes.

This Juristat article examines police-reported hate crime in Canada using data from the Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR2) Survey, which collects information from police services (see Text box 3). More specifically, this article examines the number of hate crime incidents reported by police in 2016, as well as the characteristics of these incidents, the victims and the accused involved.Note While the UCR2 covers 99.7% of the Canadian population, characteristics of hate crime incidents in 2016 were reported by police services that cover 96% of the Canadian population. This is due to the fact that certain municipal police services, such as Calgary, had not transitioned by 2016 to the newest version of the UCR2 Survey, which collects details on hate crime characteristics. Any comparisons of characteristics of hate crime incidents, victims and accused between 2015 and 2016 control for police services that responded to the newest version of the UCR2 survey in both years. As such, analysis from 2015 to 2016 excludes Saint John, Quebec and Calgary and reflect a coverage of 94% of the Canadian population.

For the survey, a hate crime is defined to include 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

Production of this analytical article was made possible with funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage.

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Text box 1
Motion M-103: Systemic racism and religious discrimination

On March 23, 2017, motion M-103 was passed by the House of Commons. It called for the government to address systemic discrimination and racism experienced by certain communities in Canada, including Muslims. The goal of this motion was to promote and defend the rights and freedoms guaranteed to all Canadian citizens in the Constitution Acts, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Accordingly, the motion recognizes the climate of hate and fear in the country and places a call to action. It condemns Islamophobia, systemic racism and religious discrimination.

Motion M-103 called for a study to determine how the government could develop a whole-of-government approach that could be implemented to eliminate systemic racism and religious discrimination, including Islamophobia. It also called for the government to study how the government could collect information to contextualize hate crime reports and to conduct needs assessments for affected communities in order to enable evidence-based decision-making. In February 2018, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, who adopted the motion and undertook the study delivered its final report. This report included 30 recommendations covering the implementation of a national action plan, data collection improvement, employment and services, indigenous affairs, education and training, and law enforcement (Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage 2017).

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Little change in the total number of police-reported hate crimes in Canada in 2016

In 2016, police reported 1,409 crimes motivated by hate, amounting to a 3% increase from the 1,362 incidents reported in 2015. Hate crimes accounted for less than 0.1% of the nearly 1.9 million police-reported crimes in 2016 (excluding traffic offences) (Keighley 2016). The 47 additional incidents in 2016 are largely due to an increase in hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation (+25% or 35 more incidents) and by race or ethnicity (+4% or 25 more incidents).Note In contrast, this change is reduced by a 2% decrease in the number of crimes motivated by hatred of a religion (-9 incidents). In 2016, there was 3.9 hate crimes per 100,000 population compared to 3.8 in 2015. These police data are based on Criminal Code and definitional standards applied to incidents that have been substantiated through investigation. They also depend on victims’ willingness to report the crime to the police.

In comparison, self-reported data from the 2014 General Social Survey (GSS) on Canadians' Safety (Victimization) are based on the perceptions of individuals regarding whether or not a crime occurred and what the motivation for the crime may have been. Data on self-reported victimization provide information on incidents whether or not they have come to the attention of police; not all criminal incidents are reported to police and thus are not captured in police-reported data. Self-reported incidents also include crimes that may not necessarily correspond to the legal definition of hate motivated crime. According to data from the 2014 GSS, in 5% of all incidents (330,913 incidents) reported in the survey, victims believed the incident was motivated by hate. Race was the most common motivation for incidents perceived to be motivated by hate, cited by just over half (51%) of victims. Other motivations included sex (26%E), age (19%E), and religion (11%E).Note About two-thirds of individuals who said they had been victims of hate-motivated incidents did not report the incidents to the police (see Text box 2 for more information).

Since comparable data became accessible in 2009, the number of police-reported hate crimes has fluctuated, with a high of 1,482 incidents in 2009 and a low of 1,167 in 2013. Since 2013, the number of hate crimes has increased every year. On average, there have been approximately 1,360 police-reported hate crimes per year since 2009 (Chart 1).

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

Data table for Chart 1
Data table for Chart 1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 1. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, calculated using number units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
number
Total 1,482 1,401 1,332 1,414 1,167 1,295 1,362 1,409

Nationally, crimes motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity were the most common in Canada in 2016 (666 incidents); over 48% of hate crimes were committed for this reason. Hatred towards religious groups motivated 33% of all hate crimes. And 13% of hate crimes were motivated by sexual orientation. The remaining 6% was motivated by language, mental or physical disability, age, sex, other characteristics (such as occupation or political beliefs), or an unknown reason (Chart 2). This article focuses on the top three most common motivations: race or ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation.

Number of police-reported hate crimes, by type of motivation, Canada, 2015 and 2016

Data table for Chart 2
Data table for Chart 2
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 2. The information is grouped by Type of motivation (appearing as row headers), 2015 and 2016, calculated using number units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Type of motivation 2015 2016
number
Race or ethnicity 641 666
Religion 469 460
Sexual orientation 141 176
OtherData table Note 1 86 88

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Text box 2
Self-reported victimization data on hate-motivated incidents

Information on self-reported victimization is collected by the General Social Survey (GSS) on Canadians' Safety (Victimization) every five years. This survey asks a sample of Canadians, aged 15 years and older (in 2014, there were 35,167 respondents questioned), if they had been a victim in the previous 12 months of any of the following offences: sexual assault, robbery, physical assault, break and enter, theft of motor vehicles or parts, theft of household property, theft of personal property and vandalism. If respondents indicate that they had been victimized, they are subsequently asked if they believed that the incident had been motivated by hate and, if so, to state the motivation(s).

It is important to note that data collected by the GSS differ from data reported by police. Information from the GSS is based upon the perceptions of individuals regarding whether or not a crime occurred and what the motivation for the crime may have been. Data on self-reported victimization provide information on incidents that may not have come to the attention of police. Information from police, on the other hand, is based on incidents that have been substantiated through investigation. The police use strict legal criteria to determine whether or not a crime is motivated by hate and to indicate the type of motivation. They also look at information gathered during the investigation and common national guidelines for record classification. Police-reported data also depend on whether victims are willing to report hate crimes to an official body.

Overall, in 5% of all incidents (or 330,913 incidents) reported to the GSS in 2014, victims believed the incident was motivated by hate. As in 2009, race was the most common motivation for incidents perceived to be motivated by hate, cited by just over half (51%) of victims. Other motivations included sex (26%E), age (19%E), and religion (11%E). Information collected by the GSS suggests that the emotional consequences for victims of crimes motivated by hate are greater than for victims of crimes not motivated by hate. In 2014, in roughly 80% of crimes perceived to have been motivated by hate, the victim said the incident had affected them emotionally, compared to 66% of victims of crimes not motivated by hate. The most common emotional reactions to crimes perceived to have been motivated by hate were anger (36%), feeling upset, confused or frustrated (28%) and fear (19%E). Also, for 4 in 10 crimes perceived to have been motivated by hate, the victim stated that they found it difficult or impossible to carry out their everyday activities (e.g., work), more than double the proportion of victims of crimes that had not been motivated by hate.

The financial loss reported by victims of household crime (break and enter, theft of motor vehicles or parts, theft of household property and vandalism) also tended to be greater when the incident was perceived to be motivated by hate. In 2014, 27%E of hate-motivated household crimes resulted in a financial loss in excess of $1,000. This compares to 14% of incidents not motivated by hate.

About two-thirds of individuals who said they had been victims of hate-motivated incidents did not report the incidents to the police. Of the victims who did not report the hate crime targeting them, 64% said they did not report it because they thought the police would not have considered the incident important enough. Similarly, 62% felt that the crime was minor and not worth taking the time to report to the police. Another reason, cited by 58% of victims, was the belief that the accused would not be convicted or adequately punished (see Table 1).Note

When people who reported having been victim to a hate crime decided not to report the crime to the police, their reasons for doing so were very different from those of people who were victims of a non-hate crime. A total of 53% of victims of hate crimes said they did not report the crime because they believed the police would not have been effective, compared with 33% of victims of other types of crime. Whereas 58% of victims of hate crimes did not go to the police because they believed the accused would not be convicted or adequately punished, 37% of victims of non-hate crimes gave this reason for not reporting. Lastly, 4 in 10 victims of hate crimes (40%) did not report the crime because they either feared the court process or did not want the hassle of dealing with the court process, compared with 25% of victims of non-hate crimes (see Table 1).

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Increase in hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation

A sexual orientation defines who a person is physically attracted to. Under the police reported data, a hate crime can be reported as being motivated by the hatred of a heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual orientation. This category does not include crimes motivated by hatred of transgender. Crimes motivated by hatred of a sexual orientation made up 13% of all police-reported hate crimes in 2016. This type of hate crime increased from 141 incidents in 2015 to 176 in 2016. The increase in incidents between 2015 and 2016 was greatest in the provinces of Quebec (+15), British Columbia (+11), Ontario (+7) and Saskatchewan (+4).

Increase in hate crimes targeting Asian and Arab populations

In 2016, 48% (666) of all police-reported hate crimes were motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity, an increase of 4% from the previous year. This increase was largely due to 24 more hate crimes targeting South Asians and 20 more incidents targeting Arabs and West Asians (Table 2, Chart 3).Note British Columbia (+13) and Ontario (+9) accounted for most of the increase in crimes against South Asians. Quebec reported 10 more crimes against Arabs and West Asians than in 2015 (from 31 incidents in 2015 to 41 in 2016).

Number of police-reported hate crimes, motivated by race or ethnicity, Canada, 2015 and 2016

Data table for Chart 3
Data table for Chart 3
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 3. The information is grouped by Type of race or ethnicity (appearing as row headers), 2015 and 2016, calculated using number units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Type of race or ethnicity 2015 2016
number
Black 224 214
East and Southeast Asian 49 61
South Asian 48 72
Arab/West Asian 92 112
Aboriginal 35 30
White 38 36
OtherData table Note 1 130 125
Race not specified 25 16

Crimes motivated by hatred of East or Southeast AsianNote populations also increased from 2015 to 2016, rising from 49 to 61 incidents. While British Columbia reported 17 more incidents than the previous year (from 15 to 32), Ontario reported 7 fewer (from 23 to 16).

Police-reported hate crime against Aboriginal peoples continued to account for a relatively small proportion of hate crimes (2%), declining from 35 incidents in 2015 to 30 incidents in 2016.

Despite a 4% decline (from 224 incidents in 2015 to 214 in 2016), crimes targeting Black populations remained the most common type of hate crime related to race or ethnicity, accounting for 15% of all hate crimes.

Decrease in the number of crimes targeting a religious group, driven by fewer anti-Muslim crimes

Police reported 460 hate crimes targeting religious groups in 2016, 9 fewer than in the previous year.Note Hate crimes against religious groups 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 (Chart 4). The decrease in police-reported hate crimes against Muslims was the result of fewer reported incidents in Quebec (-16), Alberta (-8) and Ontario (-6).

Number of police-reported hate crimes, motivated by religion, Canada, 2015 and 2016

Data table for Chart 4
Data table for Chart 4
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 4. The information is grouped by Type of motivation (appearing as row headers), 2015 and 2016, calculated using number units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Type of motivation   2015 2016
number
Jewish 178 221
Muslim 159 139
Catholic 55 27
OtherData table Note 1 41 37
Unknown 36 36

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).

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Collection of police-reported hate crimes

The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Survey collects police-reported information on hate crimes, whether an incident involved one of the four specific offences of hate crimes listed in the Criminal Code or if it involved a criminal offence motivated by hate as determined by police. 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 the type of offence, as well as the characteristics of victims (in violent offences) and accused, was not available from the municipal police service in Calgary for 2016 (4% of all incidents or 50 incidents) and municipal police services in Calgary, Québec and Saint-John for 2015. Data reported by these three police services accounted for 7% (90 incidents) of hate crimes in 2015.

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. This analysis includes crimes that have been confirmed to be or are strongly suspected to be motivated by hate. 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).

It is important to note that victims of hate crimes targeting specific populations are not necessarily members of those specific 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 perception of the accused (even if this perception is inaccurate), not by the victim's characteristics. Over the past two decades, police services across Canada have continued to advance their identification and reporting of hate crime incidents. Changes in reporting practices can have an effect on hate crime statistics. 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, changes over time should be interpreted with caution. In addition, information on the characteristics of hate crimes where the total count is low should be interpreted in the context of the specific year of the data, and not as typical of these hate crimes generally. Due to this variability, some information on the characteristics of hate crime incidents, victims and accused by detailed motivation provided in this article is based on total hate crimes reported from 2010 to 2016.

Through the General Social Survey (GSS) on Canadians' Safety (Victimization), Statistics Canada also collects self-reported information from Canadians 15 years of age and older about whether they had been the victim of selected criminal offences. This survey also collects information on whether or not victims believed their experiences were motivated by hate. The most recent cycle of the GSS on Victimization was carried out in 2014 (see Text box 2).

Note on comparability of hate crime data

Information from the UCR2.2 Survey on hate crime is sensitive to differences in the reporting of hate crimes across police services and over time. In particular, the following limitations should be taken into consideration:

  • Comparison of hate crimes across different targeted populations: Willingness to report hate crimes may differ across the various targeted populations. In addition, because the number of hate crimes targeting specific populations is small, a change of a few incidents can have a considerable impact. As a result, caution should be taken in comparing rates of hate crime for specific populations.
  • Comparison of hate crimes across census metropolitan areas (CMAs): Public awareness campaigns, the presence of dedicated police hate crime units, and other programs aimed to promote the reporting of hate crimes can have an influence on differences in rates of hate crime by CMA.Note
  • Comparison of hate crimes over time: Given the relatively small number of hate crimes reported by police, especially by motivation or by CMA, an increase or decrease of a few incidents can result in large percentage changes from year to year. In addition, improvements in reporting practices or the introduction of new programs can also have an impact on the number of hate crimes reported to police.
  • Survey coverage: Not all police services are using the systems needed to report detailed characteristics of hate crimes to Statistics Canada. In particular, for 2016 data, information on characteristics of incidents, victims and accused were not available from the municipal police service in Calgary.

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

Like other police-reported crimes, hate crimes may increase in a given jurisdiction due to an increase in the true extent of incidents, a greater willingness by victims to report to the police, or greater capacity of police to identify hate crimes (see Text box 4). In Canada, the majority of hate crimes are reported by police in the provinces with the largest and most diverse populations. For example, 43% of hate crimes were reported by police in Ontario in 2016 (612 incidents) and 23% by police in Quebec (327 incidents). These provinces were followed by British Columbia, where 15% of hate crimes were reported (211 incidents), and Alberta which accounted for 10% of the nation’s reported hate crimes (139 incidents). These are also the four provinces with the highest rates of hate crimes per 100,000 population (Chart 5).Note Note

Police-reported hate crimes, by province, 2015 and 2016

Data table for Chart 5
Data table for Chart 5
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 5 2015 and 2016, calculated using rate per 100,000 population units of measure (appearing as column headers).
2015 2016
rate per 100,000 population
Canada 3.8 3.9
N.L. 0.8 0.4
P.E.I. 1.4 2.0
N.S. 3.4 1.5
N.B. 2.3 2.4
Que. 3.3 3.9
Ont. 4.6 4.4
Man. 2.3 2.7
Sask. 1.4 2.6
Alta. 4.6 3.3
B.C. 3.5 4.4

Due to small and remote populations, rates in the territories tend to be higher than the provinces. In 2016, Nunavut reported 9 hate crimes, representing a rate of 24.3 hate crimes per 100,000 population (Table 3). With 2 incidents, Yukon reported a rate of 5.3 incidents per 100,000 population. No hate crimes were reported in the Northwest Territories in 2016.

Ontario is a very diverse province. The proportion of the total population with visible minority status moved upward from 34% in 2011 to 35% in 2016. In addition, the Aboriginal population moved from 2.4% of Ontario’s population to 2.8% over the same period (Statistics Canada 2013a). Non-Christian religions (i.e., Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and Sikhism) were practiced by 6.6% of the population in Ontario in 2001 and 10.2% in 2011.

The number of hate crimes fell by 16 incidents in Ontario between 2015 and 2016, from 628 to 612. The same way, the rate of hate crimes for Ontario in 2016 was 4.4 incidents per 100,000 population, which is lower than in 2015 (4.6 incidents per 100,000 population) (Chart 5). This change is due mainly to a decrease in crimes targeting Black (-22), Catholic (-16), Aboriginal (-9), and East or Southeast Asian (-7) populations. Despite the general trend, certain motivations for hate crimes increased in the province from 2015 to 2016. Crimes targeting Jewish populations (+31 incidents), South Asians (+9), and sexual orientation (+7) all increased.

In the province of Quebec, 13% (over 1 million) of the province’s population reported a visible minority status in 2016, compared to 11% (850,000) in 2011. Similarly, the Aboriginal population increased from 1.8% of the province’s population in 2011 to 2.3% in 2016 (Statistics Canada 2013a). The percentage of non-Christian religions also grew from 2.3% of the population in 2001 to 4.4% in 2011.

Between 2015 and 2016, Quebec reported the largest increase in the number of hate crimes, which rose from 270 to 327 (Table 3). The provincial rate of hate crimes also rose from 3.3 incidents per 100,000 population in 2015 to 3.9 in 2016 (Chart 5). This change is mainly due to an increase in crimes targeting Black (+7), gay and lesbian (+9), Arab and West Asian (+10), and Jewish (+11) populations. From 2014 to 2015, the same change was observed, with the number of hate crimes rising from 258 to 270 mainly due to an increase in the number of hate crimes against Muslims.

In British Columbia, the proportion of the population with visible minority status rose from 27% in 2011 to 30% in 2016. At the same time, the proportion of Aboriginal peoples in the province rose from 5.4% in 2011 to 5.9% in 2016 (Statistics Canada 2013a). The proportion of people with a non-Christian religion also rose between 2001 and 2011 in British Columbia, from 7.7% to 9.6%.

British Columbia reported an increase in the number of hate crimes, rising from 164 in 2015 to 211 in 2016 (+29%). British Columbia also saw its rate of hate crimes increase more than in any other provinces (from 3.5 incidents per 100,000 population in 2015 to 4.4 in 2016) (Chart 5). The increase was attributable to crimes against the East or Southeast Asian and South Asian populations, which more than doubled (from 15 to 32 and from 11 to 24, respectively).

In Alberta, the proportion of the population with visible minority status rose from 18% in 2011 to 24% in 2016. Similarly, Aboriginal peoples accounted for 6.2% of the population in 2011 and 6.5% in 2016 (Statistics Canada 2013a). Sikhism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism were the religions of 4.0% of the population of Alberta in 2001, compared with 6.9% in 2011.

In Alberta, the number of police-reported hate crimes decreased from 193 incidents in 2015 to 139 in 2016. The rate of hate crimes changed from 4.6 incidents per 100,000 population in 2015 to 3.3 in 2016 (Chart 5). This change is due to a decrease in the number of crimes targeting religions (31 fewer incidents, and decreases mainly in crimes targeting Jewish and Muslim populations).

Increase in police-reported hate crimes in non-CMAs

The vast majority (83%) of police-reported hate crimes in Canada in 2016 occurred in a census metropolitan area (CMA).Note More specifically, 48% of these hate crimes occurred in the four largest CMAs (Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver, and Calgary). These CMAs were home to 38% of Canada’s population.Note

The proportion of hate crimes committed in CMAs compared with non-CMAs is changing. Whereas the number of hate crimes in CMAs remained relatively stable from 2015 to 2016 (edging up from 1,135 to 1,167), hate crimes rose 6% in non-CMAs (from 227 to 242). Overall, 17% of hate crimes were committed outside of CMA in 2015, the same ratio as in 2016.

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Text box 4
Factors affecting the reporting of hate crimes

This article presents information on hate crimes that came to the attention of police and therefore does not account for unreported crimes. According to the 2014 General Social Survey (GSS) on Canadians' Safety (Victimization), about two thirds of individuals who said they had been victims of hate-motivated incidents did not report the incidents to the police (see Text box 2 for more information on victimization data).

In order to be reported by police as a hate crime, a criminal incident must first be reported to the police as a crime, and must then also be classified as motivated by hate. Some hate crimes may not be reported to police at all; others may be reported, but not classified 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 existence (or inexistence) of community outreach programs, public awareness campaigns, zero tolerance policies and victim assistance programs are all factors that may affect the willingness and/or ability of community members to report incidents to police, or to disclose to police the nature of the crime as hate motivated.

Similarly, previous research suggests that there may also be differences in the reporting of hate crimes by various targeted populations (Statistics Canada 2001; McDonald and Hogue 2007).

Finally, some populations could be targeted based on either hatred of their religion, their race or ethnicity or both. When a hate crime incident involves or appears to involve more than one motivation (e.g., religion and race or ethnicity), the incident is reported by the police only once according to the primary motivation determined by the circumstances of the incident.

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In 2016, the Vancouver, Québec and Montréal CMAs posted the biggest increases in hate crimes

The census metropolitan areas (CMAs) with the largest increases in hate crimes from 2015 to 2016 were Vancouver (+30), Québec (+29) and Montréal (+25) (see Text box 5). In Montréal, the change observed in 2016 follows the upward trend from 2014 to 2015, when the number of hate crimes rose by 39. This increase was mainly due to more hate crime targeting Muslims in 2015 than 2014 (+20).

For Vancouver, this change is due to an increase in the number of crimes motivated by hatred of East or Southeast Asians (+18) and gays and lesbians (+10). In Québec, the change is mainly due to an increase in crimes targeting Arabs and West Asians (+10). In Montréal, the change from 2015 to 2016 is attributable to an increase in crimes targeting gay and lesbian (+12) and Black (+11) and Jewish (+11) populations.

In contrast to this increase in the number of hate crimes in certain CMAs, decreases from 2015 to 2016 were reported in the Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo (-32), Edmonton (-31) and Thunder Bay (-17) CMAs.

In the Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo CMA, the overall decrease was largely due to decreases in crimes motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity (-12), Muslims (-4), and Catholics (-4). In Edmonton, the change was due to a decrease in crimes targeting Muslims (-5), Jews (-4), and Arabs and West Asians (-3). In the Thunder Bay CMA, decreases in hate crimes targeting Aboriginal (-7) and Jewish (-4) populations account for much of the general trend.

Taking into account the population of each CMA, the CMAs where hate crimes were the most prevalent were Hamilton (12.5 hate crimes per 100,000 population), Ottawa (9.5 hate crimes per 100,000 population), and Thunder Bay (8.3 hate crimes per 100,000 population) (Chart 6, Table 4).

Police-reported hate crime rates, by census metropolitan area, 2016

Data table for Chart 6
Data table for Chart 6
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 6. The information is grouped by Census metropolitan area (appearing as row headers), Rate per 100,000 population (appearing as column headers).
Census metropolitan areaData table Note 1 Rate per 100,000 population
HamiltonData table Note 2 12.5
OttawaData table Note 3 9.5
Thunder Bay 8.3
Guelph 7.6
Québec 7.1
Vancouver 5.7
Moncton 5.2
TorontoData table Note 4 5.1
Montréal 4.7
Victoria 4.6
Regina 4.4
Kingston 4.2
Peterborough 4.0
Abbotsford–Mission 3.8
Edmonton 3.6
Calgary 3.6
Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo 3.6
Brantford 3.5
London 3.3
Windsor 3.3
Winnipeg 2.6
St. Catharines–Niagara 2.4
Sherbrooke 2.0
Saguenay 1.8
Saskatoon 1.6
Saint John 1.6
Trois-Rivières 1.3
Greater Sudbury 1.2
GatineauData table Note 5 0.9
Halifax 0.7
St. John's 0.5
Kelowna 0.5
Barrie 0.5
Canada 3.9

In Hamilton, of the 70 hate crimes reported in 2016, 26% targeted the Black population and 27% the Jewish population.Note In Ottawa, there were 96 police-reported hate crimes: 47% targeting the Jewish population, 13% the Muslim population, 9% the Black population, and 8% sexual orientation. Despite the high rate, police in Thunder Bay reported a relatively low number of hate crimes in 2016 (10 incidents).

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Text box 5
Canada's diverse populations living in the three largest census metropolitan areas

According to the 2016 Census, 22.3% of the Canadian population was a member of a visible minority group, compared to 19% in the 2011 National Household Survey.Note Canada's visible minority population is most concentrated in the country's three largest census metropolitan areas (CMAs)—Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver. Of the total visible minority population in Canada, 66% lived in these three CMAs in 2016. In that year, approximately 5 in 10 people residing in Toronto (51%) and Vancouver (49%) were visible minorities, whereas the same was true for about 2 in 10 people residing in Montréal (23%). By 2031, about 6 in 10 individuals living in the CMAs of Toronto (63%) and Vancouver (59%) could be members of a visible minority. In Montréal, the proportion is expected to increase to about 3 in 10 (31%) (Statistics Canada 2010).

Canada's three largest CMAs are also home to a great majority of Canadians who are 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, with most (82%) living in Toronto, Montréal or Vancouver. The majority of those identifying as Muslim, who made up 3% of the Canadian population, resided within Toronto, Montréal or Vancouver (68%). Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs represented 4% of the Canadian population, and the majority resided in the three largest CMAs (74%) (Statistics Canada 2013b). As with visible minority groups, these proportions are expected to increase over the next two decades (Statistics Canada 2010).Note

In 2011, same-sex couples (both married and common-law) accounted for 1% of all couples in Canada whereas close to half (46%) of these couples resided in Toronto, Montréal, or Vancouver in 2011 (Statistics Canada 2012).

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Over 4 in 10 hate crimes involved some form of violence against the victim

In 2016, 9 in 10 police-reported hate crimes were offences other than those explicitly considered hate crimes under the Criminal Code. Specifically, 5% of hate crimes were public incitement of hatred or wilful promotion of hatred (69 incidents), 5% were mischief targeting religious property (63 incidents), and less than 1% involved advocating genocide (1 incident) (Chart 7).

Police reported violent and non-violent hate crimes, by type of offence, Canada, 2016

Data table for Chart 7
Data table for Chart 7
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 7. The information is grouped by Most serious violation (appearing as row headers), Percent (appearing as column headers).
Most serious violation Percent
Violent crime
Other violent offencesData table Note 3 6
Criminal harassment 6
Assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm (level 2) or aggravated assault (level 3) 5
Common assault (level 1) 14
Uttering threats 13
Non-violent crime
Other non-violent offencesData table Note 2 7
Public incitement of hatred and advocating genocideData table Note 1 5
Mischief in relation to religious propertyData table Note 1 5
General mischief 39

From 2015 to 2016, the number of violent hate crimes increased. Violent hate-motivated crimes (e.g., assault, threats, criminal harassment and other offences against the person) rose from 487 in 2015 to 563 in 2016, an increase of 16%.Note As a result, 43% of hate crimes in 2016 were violent, compared with 38% in 2015 (Table 5).

The motivation behind hate crimes may affect the type of crime committed. Crimes motivated by hatred of a sexual orientation continued to be among the most violent hate crimes. As such, 69% of those crimes were violent, compared with 27% of hate crimes targeting religion and 44% targeting ethnicity.

Overall, the most common types of hate crimes were mischief (535 incidents or 39% of all incidents in 2016), assault (268 incidents or 20%), and uttering threats (174 incidents or 13%).Note

Among victims of violent crimes, the proportion who reported injuries in 2016 was the same as in 2015 (27%).

Females were victims of hate crimes more often in 2016 than in 2015

In 2016, males continued to make up the majority of victims of violent hate crimes (64%), down from 68% in 2015. Although their proportion in relation to females decreased, the number of male victims rose from 342 in 2015 to 375 in 2016. By comparison, 48% of victims of all police-reported crimes in Canada, both hate crimes and non-hate crimes, were male. Crimes motivated by hatred of a sexual orientation were most likely to target males, with 82% of victims being male.

The proportion of females who were victims of hate crimes rose in 2016 (36% compared with 32% in 2015). In total, 213 females were victims of hate crimes in 2016, compared with 159 in 2015.

This increase in the number of female victims of hate crimes is observed mainly in crimes motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity and of sexual orientation. The proportion of female victims of crimes targeting a race or ethnicity rose from 28% to 36%, while the proportion of females who were victims of crimes targeting sexual orientation increased from 14% to 18%. Conversely, although the proportion of female victims of crimes against religious groups was higher than male victims in 2015 (53% of female victims and 47% male victims), their proportion decreased to 46% female victims in 2016.

Specifically, compared to other groups, females accounted for a greater proportion of victims of hate crimes targeting Whites (62%), Muslims (47%), and East or Southeast Asians (45%).

Victims of hate crimes are older in 2016 than in 2015

The median age of victims of hate crimes was 33 years in 2016 and 30 years in 2015. Compared with all victims of police-reported crimes in 2016, where the median age was 30 years, victims of hate crimes were older (Chart 8, Table 6).Note

Age distribution of victims in hate crime incidents, by type of motivation and by age group, Canada, 2016

Data table for Chart 8
Data table for Chart 8
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 8. The information is grouped by Age group (appearing as row headers), Type of motivation, Race or ethnicity, Religion and Sexual orientation, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Age group Type of motivation
Race or ethnicity Religion Sexual orientation
percent
Under 18 years 13 11 17
18 to 24 years 17 21 16
25 to 34 years 25 22 26
35 to 44 years 24 22 18
45 to 54 years 13 15 17
55 years and older 9 9 7

The age of victims of hate crimes varied depending on the motivation for the crime. Victims were under the age of 25 in 29% of incidents involving crimes motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity (Chart 8), in 32% of incidents involving crimes motivated by hatred of a religion, and in 32% of incidents involving crimes motivated by hatred of a sexual orientation. However, for the latter group, the proportion of victims under 18 years of age was higher (17% of victims of crimes against sexual orientation, compared with 11% and 13% of victims of crimes against a religion or race or ethnicity, respectively).Note

Female victims of hate crimes are more likely to know the assailant

Most victims of police-reported violent hate crimes did not know the assailant. For more than 6 in 10 (64%) victims, the accused was a stranger. This is not typical of crimes in general. For example, among victims of all police-reported crimes in 2016, 25% did not know the assailant.

In 2016, 46% of females who were victims of violent hate crimes knew the assailant, compared with 32% of male victims.

Victims of violent hate crimes targeting sexual orientation were more likely to report the relationship of the accused as someone they knew (42%) when compared with victims of violent crimes motivated by hate of race or ethnicity (33%) and religion (30%).

Assailants in crimes motivated by hatred of a sexual orientation are generally younger than for any other motivation

Certain characteristics of accused people are different for these types of crimes. In 2016, 87% of people accused of hate crimes were men, and the median age was 31 years. People accused were older in 2016 than in 2015 (the median age was 29 years in 2015) (Chart 9, Table 7).Note

Age distribution of persons accused in hate crime incidents, by type of motivation and by age group, Canada, 2016

Data table for Chart 9
Data table for Chart 9
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 9. The information is grouped by Age group (appearing as row headers), Type of motivation, Race or ethnicity, Religion and Sexual orientation, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Age group Type of motivation
Race or ethnicity Religion Sexual orientation
percent
Under 18 years 12 20 24
18 to 24 years 20 13 27
25 to 34 years 26 29 10
35 to 44 years 19 15 22
45 to 54 years 16 9 7
55 years and older 6 14 9

For hate crimes targeting sexual orientation, 51% of the accused in 2016 were under the age of 25. On the other hand, accused of hate crimes under 25 years old represented 32% for crimes against race or ethnicity and 33% against religion.

Over a third of violent hate crimes led to charges being laid

In 2016, 29% of hate crimes were cleared by police. In total, 20% of hate crimes were cleared with charges laid against one or more individuals and 9% were cleared otherwise (e.g., the death of the accused, diplomatic immunity, etc.). In comparison, among all Criminal Code violations (excluding traffic violations), 41% were cleared by police, with 27% cleared by charges laid and 15% cleared otherwise.Note

For hate crimes targeting a race or ethnicity, 28% were cleared, with 20% cleared by charge and 8% cleared otherwise. Among hate crimes targeting a religion, 21% were cleared, with 16% cleared by charge and 5% cleared otherwise. Lastly, 42% of hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation were cleared, with 26% cleared by charge and 16% cleared otherwise.

The rate at which incidents are cleared by charge varied considerably based on the type of hate crime. Whereas 6% of non-violent hate crimes in 2016 were cleared by charge, over 39% of violent hate crimes resulted in charges being laid.

Overall, a chargeable person was identified in 27% of all police-reported hate crimes. Of these individuals, 68% were formally charged with the crime.

Overview of specific types of hate crimes

The following section discusses the types of crimes motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. Since there are few data on the hate crimes in these categories, very small annual variations can have significant effects. As such, within this section of the article, information on hate crimes targeting selected populations is grouped for the previous seven years (2010 to 2016). Even so, the total counts for seven years may still be relatively small, which may limit the ability to compare different groups targeted (see Text box 6).

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

Crimes motivated by hatred of race or ethnicity are the most common type of hate crime, accounting for 47% of hate crimes.Note From 2015 to 2016, the number of police-reported hate crimes targeting race or ethnicity increased 4% from 641 to 666 incidents.

Among police-reported hate crimes motivated by race or ethnicity, crimes against the Black population was most common (32%). Since 2012, the number of hate crimes targeting Black populations has decreased each year from 295 incidents in 2012 to 214 in 2016. This represents an overall decline of 27% (Table 2).Note

Since 2013, the number of police-reported hate crimes against Arabs and West Asians has grown each year. While 48 incidents targeting Arab and West Asian populations were recorded in 2013, this number rose steadily to reach 112 in 2016, marking an increase of 113% since 2013. Hate crimes targeting Arabs and West Asians accounted for 17% of hate crimes targeting a race or ethnicity and 8% of all hate crimes in 2016 (Table 2).

Of all crimes motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity in 2016, 55% (329) were non-violent and 45% (270) were violent. Compared to 2015, the number of non-violent hate crimes targeting race or ethnicity increased by 2 incidents (from 327 to 329) and violent crimes increased by 5 incidents (from 265 to 270).

With 11 fewer incidents than in 2015, the greatest decrease in violent hate crimes was among those targeting the Aboriginal population (-52%). The largest increase in violent crimes was among those targeting the South Asian population (22 more incidents or +88%).

Between 2015 and 2016, the greatest decrease in non-violent hate crimes was among those targeting Black populations (20 fewer incidents or -16%), and the greatest increase was among crimes targeting East and Southeast Asian populations (8 more incidents or +35%).

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Text box 6
Hate crime rates for selected targeted populations

A rate of hate crime for selected groups was calculated for this article to estimate the number of police-reported hate crime incidents per 100,000 individuals in the target population.Note 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 as well as the wider community where the incident took place (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 2016 Census on visible minority groups, rates are provided for selected populations targeted by hate crimes. Since demographic information is not available for religious groups and sexual orientation, no rate could be calculated for these groups. These rates were calculated as the number of hate crimes in 2016 targeting a specific group per 100,000 persons in Canada identifying as members of that group in 2016. For example, the rate for hate crimes targeting South Asian populations is calculated as the number of hate crimes motivated by hatred of the South Asians per 100,000 persons in Canada who reported their ethnic origin in the 2016 Census as South Asian.

Because of the small number of hate crimes targeting specific groups, characteristics of incidents, victims and accused may vary considerably from year to year. For this reason, information on the characteristics of hate crime in this section is based on all hate crimes reported for the seven-year period from 2010 to 2016. It is also important to note that information on type of offence as well as the characteristics of victims and accused was not available for the municipal police service in Calgary. For Toronto Police Service, these detailed data were available only for 2014 to 2016. For Québec and Saint John police services, these detailed data were available only in 2016.

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Hate crimes targeting Black populations, 2010 to 2016

In 2016, 214 police-reported crimes were specifically motivated by hatred against Black populations in Canada. This represented approximately 17.9 incidents per 100,000 members of the Black population.

Non-violent crimes accounted for 63% of crimes targeting Black populations from 2010 to 2016. A significant portion (84%) of these non-violent crimes were mischief. Overall, non-violent crimes most often occurred in a single-family home (20% of incidents), in schools outside of school hours (14%), and on the street (13%).

Close to 4 in 10 hate crimes targeting Black populations were violent (37%). The most common type of violent crime targeting this group was common assault (38%). In terms of the location of the incident, 25% of violent hate crimes targeting Black populations took place on the street, 17% in a single-family home and 12% in an apartment.

From 2010 to 2016, 71% of victims of violent hate crimes targeting Black populations in Canada were male and victims were relatively young (37% were under the age of 25, and the median age was 29 years). Over half (56%) of victims reported being assaulted by a stranger. Further, 30% of victims were injured as a result of the incident. Over this seven-year period, the most common locations for hate crimes targeting Black populations were single-family homes (19% of incidents), streets (18%), and apartments (9%).

Approximately 50% of individuals accused of hate crimes targeting Black populations were under the age of 25, and 81% were male.

Hate crimes targeting Arab and West Asian populations, 2010 to 2016

In 2016, there were 112 hate crimes specifically targeting Arab and West Asian populations.Note This represents approximately 14.2 hate crimes per 100,000 members of Arab and West Asian populations in Canada.

Over half (57%) of hate crimes targeting Arab and West Asian populations between 2010 and 2016 involved violence. These violent offences were most often common assault (14% of all crimes against Arab and West Asian populations) or uttering threats (10%). Overall, violent crimes against Arab and West Asian populations occurred most often on the street (27%), in an apartment (13%), or in a business establishment (11%).

Over the same period, 43% of hate crimes targeting Arab and West Asian populations were non-violent. The majority of these crimes were mischief (31% of all crimes against Arab and West Asian populations).Note These non-violent crimes occurred most often in a single-family home (21% of incidents), on the street (13%), or in a business establishment (13%).

From 2010 to 2016, the majority of victims of police-reported hate crimes targeting Arab and West Asians were male (70%). Further, 30% of victims were under the age of 25 with the median age being 33 years. Over 65% of victims reported that they did not know the assailant. Lastly, 33% of victims reported being injured during the incident.

Of all persons accused of this type of police-reported hate crime from 2010 to 2016, the vast majority were male (84%). Moreover, 34% were under the age of 25.

Hate crimes targeting South Asian populations, 2010 to 2016

In 2016, there were 72 hate crimes targeting South Asian populationsNote in Canada, representing 3.7 hate crimes per 100,000 South Asians.

From 2010 to 2016, 62% of hate crimes targeting South Asian populations were violent and 38% were non-violent. The most common types of offences were mischief (30%) and common assault (25%). Violent crimes occurred most often on the street (28%), in a business establishment (14%), or in a single-family home (14%). Non-violent crimes occurred mostly in a single-family home (27%), on the street (23%), or in a business establishment (12%).

In the seven-year period from 2010 to 2016, most victims of hate crimes targeting South Asians were male (80%). Victims were also young, with 32% being under the age of 25 and their median age being 31 years. In 76% of incidents, the accused was a stranger to the victim. Moreover, 29% of victims sustained injuries.

Persons accused of crimes motivated by hatred of South Asian populations were mostly male (86%) and young (47% were under the age of 25).

Hate crimes targeting East or Southeast Asian populations, 2010 to 2016

In 2016, police reported 61 hate crimes targeting East or Southeast Asian populations. This is equivalent to a rate of 2.8 incidents per 100,000 East or Southeast Asians.Note

In incidents reported from 2010 to 2016, the proportions of violent and non-violent hate crimes targeting this population were similar (51% violent and 49% non-violent). The most common types of crimes against this population were mischief (39%), common assault (24%), or uttering threats (11%). Violent crimes targeting this population occurred mainly on the street (28% of incidents) or in a business establishment (15%). Non-violent crimes were most commonly committed at a single-family home (25%) and on the street (16%).

For victims of police-reported hate crimes targeting East or Southeast Asian populations from 2010 to 2016, 71% were men and 40% were under the age of 25. The median age of victims was 30 years. The assailant was a stranger to 80% of victims, and 37% of victims were injured in the incident.

From 2010 to 2016, persons accused of hate crimes targeting East and Southeast Asian populations were largely male (85%). In addition, accused tended to be young (39% were under the age of 25).

Hate crimes targeting Aboriginal populations, 2010 to 2016

The number of hate crimes targeting Aboriginal populations decreased from 35 in 2015 to 30 in 2016. This represented 1.8 hate crimes per 100,000 Aboriginal people in Canada.

From 2010 to 2016, the proportions of violent and non-violent hate crimes targeting Aboriginal populations were approximately the same (52% violent compared with 48% non-violent). Mischief was the most common type of offence (33%). Aggravated assault (12%) accounted for a higher proportion of hate crimes against Aboriginal people compared to hate crimes against other groups. Violent crimes occurred most often in public spaces such as streets (31%) or in single-family homes (15%), and non-violent crimes occurred most often in open spaces (18%) or on the street (17%).

Over these same seven years, the victims of violent hate crimes targeting Aboriginal populations were more likely to be girls and women than for any other ethnicity (39% of victims). Victims were also young, with 44% being under the age of 25 and their median age being 26 years. In fact, the victims of crimes motivated by hatred of Aboriginal populations were the youngest of the ethnic groups targeted. For 60% of victims, the accused person was a stranger. Hate crimes targeting Aboriginal populations resulted in injuries for 41% of victims.

The majority (56%) of persons accused of hate crimes against Aboriginal populations were under the age of 25 and 89% of all accused were male.

Police-reported hate crimes motivated by hatred of a 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. 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. The exception was for those who were Jewish, among whom 2% were members of a visible minority group. In 2011, 88% of Muslims and 97% of Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs residing in Canada were also members of a visible minority group.Note The overlap between race or ethnicity and religion may have an impact on hate crime statistics, as some religious populations or communities may also be targeted in hate crimes motivated by race or ethnicity.

In 2016, 460 hate crimes targeting religion were reported by police, a decrease of 2% compared with 2015 (469 incidents). For this type of hate crime, the Jewish and Muslim populations were the most frequent targets, accounting for 48% and 30% of crimes against a religion, respectively. In fact, the Jewish population was the most frequent target of hate crimes committed in Canada in 2016. In total, 16% of all hate crimes were anti-Jewish. From 2015 to 2016, the number of incidents targeting the Jewish population increased by 43 (from 178 to 221), whereas there were 20 fewer incidents against the Muslim population (a decrease from 159 to 139 incidents).

Of all crimes targeting a religion in 2016, 122 were violent (27%) and 328 non-violent (73%). More specifically, compared to crimes targeting other religions, crimes motivated by hatred of Muslims were the most frequently violent (56% of this type of incident). Violence was involved in 15% of crimes targeting Jewish populations and 11% of crimes targeting Catholic populations. There were more violent crimes targeting Jewish populations in 2016 than in 2015 (+8 incidents).

Hate crimes targeting Muslim populations, 2010 to 2016

In 2016, 139 hate crime incidents targeted members of the Muslim population.

According to police-reported data from 2010 to 2016, 43% of crimes against Muslims were violent and 57% were non-violent. The most common violent hate crimes were uttering threats (16% of crimes against this community) and common assault (10%). The most frequent locations of violent crimes were the street (20% of incidents) or at a single-family home (19%). The most frequent non-violent crimes were mischief (31%) and mischief against religious property (9%). Non-violent crimes targeting Muslim populations occurred most often at religious institutions (22%), single-family home (11%), or in open areas (10%).

From 2010 to 2016, females accounted for just over half of victims of hate crimes targeting Muslims (51%). Compared to all other types of hate crimes (both violent and non-violent), those targeting Muslims were the only ones where more victims were female than male. Overall, victims of hate crimes against Muslims were older than most victims of other types of hate crimes (31% were under the age of 25 and the median age was 33.5 years). For 77% of victims, the assailant was a stranger. Hate crime incidents resulted in injuries for 13% of victims.

Persons accused of hate crimes targeting Muslim populations were older compared to those accused of other types of hate crimes, with 56% of accused over the age of 35. The majority of accused persons were male (80%).

Hate crimes targeting Jewish populations, 2010 to 2016

In 2016, police reported 221 hate crimes targeting Canada’s Jewish population.

From 2010 to 2016, more than 85% of hate crimes against the Jewish population were non-violent. The majority of these hate crimes were mischief (70% of all crimes against that religion). The second and third most frequent offences against this population were mischief against religious property (6%) and other non-violent crimes (7%). While a notable proportion of non-violent hate crimes targeting Jewish populations occurred at a single-family home (19%), on the street (12%), or in schools outside of school hours (12%), violent crimes most often occurred at a single family home (23%), in businesses (20%), or on the street (16%).

Over this seven-year period, the victims of anti-Jewish crimes were more often male (63%) and tended to be older compared to those victims of other types of hate crimes (30% were under the age of 25, and the median age was 37 years). For 61% of victims, the assailant was a stranger. Hate crime incidents resulted in injuries for 12% of victims.

Persons accused of crimes targeting Jewish populations tended to be young compared to those accused of other types of hate crimes, with 40% being under the age of 17. Moreover, accused persons were almost always male (89%).

Police-reported hate crimes motivated by hatred of a sexual orientation

In 2016, police reported 176 hate crimes targeting sexual orientation, marking an increase of 25% compared from the previous year (141 incidents). The vast majority (84%) of these crimes specifically targeted the gay and lesbian community.

Hate crimes targeting sexual orientation were more likely to be violent than any other type of hate crime. From 2010 to 2016, 65% of these hate crimes were violent. Violent crimes targeting sexual orientation included common assault (24% of all hate crimes against sexual orientation), uttering threats (13%), aggravated assault (10%) and criminal harassment (9%). While violent crimes targeting sexual orientation occurred most often in streets (31% of incidents), single family homes (14%) or in apartments (12%). Non-violent hate crimes targeting sexual orientation occurred most often in single-family homes (32%), apartments (10%) or on the street (10%).

Among victims of police-reported hate crimes targeting sexual orientation, 82% were male and 43% of all victims were under the age of 25. For the majority of victims, the assailant was a stranger (58%). However, this proportion is lower compared with most other victims of hate crimes. Moreover, between 2010 and 2016, 44% of victims of crimes targeting sexual orientation were injured during the incident, with injuries being much more frequent for these victims than victims of any other type of hate crime.

Almost all persons accused of hate crimes targeting sexual orientation were male (91%) and they were among the youngest of all persons accused of any hate crimes. In fact, 59% were under the age of 25, and 29% were under the age of 18.

Police-reported hate crimes motivated by hatred of a gender expression or identity

From 2010 to 2016, 16 hate crimes targeting transgender or asexual people were reported by police participating in the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (version 2.2). Of these crimes, 7 occurred in 2016 alone. In June 2017, Bill C-16 was adopted. This Bill formally recognizes protection for gender expression and identity under the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code of Canada (see Text box 7).

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Text box 7
Inclusion of gender identity and gender expression in the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code of Canada

In June 2017, the Canadian Government enacted Bill C-16, An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code. This Bill amended the Canadian Human Rights Act by adding gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination.

The Bill also amended the Criminal Code by adding gender identity and gender expression to the limited definition of “identifiable group” for the offences of hate propaganda (subsection 318(4)). It also added gender identity and gender expression to the non-exhaustive list of hate-motivating criteria that a judge must take into account as an aggravating factor when determining the sentence for any crime that is motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on those criteria (paragraph 718.2(a)(i)).

End of text box

Summary

Canadian police services reported 1,409 hate crimes in 2016, 3% more incidents than in 2015. This increase is mainly due to an increase in hate crimes targeting South Asian, Arab and West Asian, and Jewish populations and sexual orientation. The number of crimes targeting Muslim populations increased in 2015 and then declined in 2016. Overall, crimes targeting Jewish and Black populations remained the most frequent type of hate-motivated crimes in Canada.

Ontario was the province with the highest number of hate crimes. However, the largest increases in hate crimes in 2016 occurred in Quebec and British Columbia. In Quebec, this increase was associated with an increase in crimes targeting Arab and West Asian populations, Jewish populations, and sexual orientation. In British Columbia, the overall increase was associated with more crimes targeting East or Southeast Asian and South Asian populations. As with the provincial trend, the Québec, Montréal, and Vancouver census metropolitan areas had the largest increases in police-reported hate crimes in 2016. Ontario and Alberta saw the largest decreases in hate crimes over the same period.

Over four in ten police-reported hate crimes in 2016 were violent. This proportion was higher than in 2015 (38% in 2015 compared to 43% in 2016). The most common types of violent hate crimes were common assault and uttering threats. As in previous years, crimes motivated by hatred of sexual orientation were more likely than any other hate crime to be violent.

Overall, the most common hate crime is mischief.

While the majority of victims of hate crime are male, females are increasingly being targeted. Particularly with crimes motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity, the number of female victims has increased.

The main sources of data on hate crimes in Canada remain police-reported data and self-reported data from the General Social Survey (GSS) on Canadians' Safety (Victimization). To better prevent and understand hate crimes, research based on these data and other data sources could examine topics such as factors influencing offenders’ decisions to engage in hate crimes and the impact of public education and prevention initiatives on reporting to police and levels of offending.

Detailed data tables

Table 1 Reasons for not reporting incident(s) to the police, by perception of hate motivation, Canada, 2014

Table 2 Police-reported hate crimes, by detailed motivation, Canada, 2014, 2015 and 2016

Table 3 Police-reported hate crimes, by type of motivation and by province and territory, 2014, 2015 and 2016

Table 4 Number and rate of police-reported hate crimes, by census metropolitan area, 2014, 2015 and 2016

Table 5 Police-reported hate crimes, by most serious violation, Canada, 2015 and 2016

Table 6 Characteristics of hate crime victims, Canada, 2016

Table 7 Characteristics of persons accused of hate crimes, Canada, 2016

Survey description

Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting Survey

This article uses data from the Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR2) Survey. 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.

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 2016, police services reporting to the UCR2.2 served 96% 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 aggregate counts of incidents by the detailed motivation to Statistics Canada. Additional information (e.g., type of crime, weapon use, level of injury and relationship) cannot be provided by these respondents. In 2016, the municipal police service providing information to the supplemental survey was Calgary.

Combined, coverage from UCR2.2 Survey and the UCR2.2 Supplemental Survey in 2016 is estimated at 99.7% of the population of Canada.

The Oshawa census metropolitan area (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 CMAs. 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 74% of the Hamilton CMA population.

The UCR2 Survey collects information on victims of violent crimes when they are identified in an incident. In 2016, information on 641 victims of violent offences was reported in 514 hate crime incidents. In 34% of violent hate crime incidents involving victims, more than one victim was identified. Information on victims reflects data reported by police services covering 96% 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 2016, there was information on 420 accused individuals associated with 365 incidents. In 21% of these incidents, more than one accused was identified. Information on accused reflects data reported by police services serving 96% of the population of Canada. It is not provided by police services reporting to the UCR2.2 Supplemental Survey.

Data on hate crimes are also available in CANSIM Tables 252-0092, 252-0093, and 252-0094.

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.

Fashola, Sidikat. 2011. "Understanding the community impact of hate crimes: A case study." Victims of Crime Research Digest. No. 4. Department of Justice Canada. Ottawa.

Keighley, Kathryn. 2016. “Police-reported crime statistics in Canada, 2016.” Juristat. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 85-002-X.

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

Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. 2014. Hate Crimes in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Region–Incidents and Responses: Annual Report for 2014.

Putnam, Robert. 2007. "E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-First Century." Scandinavian Political Studies. Vol. 30, no. 2. p. 137-174.

Reitz, Jeffrey G. and Rupe Banerjee. 2007. "Racial inequality, social cohesion and policy issues in Canada." Belonging? Diversity, Recognition and Shared Citizenship in Canada. Vol. 3. p. 1-57. Institute for Research on Public Policy. Montréal.

Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. 2017, “Taking action against systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia.” House of Commons. 42nd Parliament. 1st Session.

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

Statistics Canada. 2010. Projections of the Diversity of the Canadian Population: 2006 to 2031. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 91-551-X.

Statistics Canada. 2012. "Portrait of families and living arrangements in Canada." Families, Households and Marital Status, 2011 Census of Population. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 98-312-X.

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

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

Statistics Canada. 2017. Study: A Look at Immigration, Ethnocultural Diversity and Languages in Canada up to 2036, 2011 to 2036. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 91-551-X.

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