According to Statistics Canada, published on Thursday, the number of reported hate crimes committed by the police reached a record level in 2017, largely due to incidents targeting Muslims, Jews and black people.
The federal agency reported that since 2014, the number of hate crimes has steadily increased, but at the same time they increased by about 47 percent in 2017, last year to collect data. In total, Canadian police reported 2,073 hate crimes — most since 2009, when data became available.
The growth was largely due to incidents in Ontario and Quebec, according to statistics from Canada. The agency reported that the increase may have been caused by an increase in the number of people reporting cases of hate to the police, although it says that many are probably not reported.
At worst, six Muslim men were shot dead in the country, while others were seriously injured during an attack on a mosque in Quebec in January 2017. In the spring of this year, 28-year-old Alexander Bissonnett pleaded guilty, but said that he was not Islamophobic and instead "carried away by fear and a terrible form of despair."
Quebec reported a 50 percent increase in hate crimes during the month following the massacre, mainly due to Muslims being reported as victims.
Police are also involved in increasing the number of minor incidents, such as hate crimes.
The Toronto Hate Crime Police reported that in 2017, it investigated 186 incidents – mostly vandalism and graffiti. In nearby Hamilton, police reported an 18 percent increase in what the force calls incidents of hatred and bias.
Overall, Ontario saw a 207 percent increase in hate crimes against Muslims, a 84 percent increase in crimes against black people and a 41 percent increase in incidents against the Jewish people.
Alberta and British Columbia also reported an increase in incidents.
Brittany Andrew Amofah of the Toronto City Race Alliance said that increasing the number of hate crimes makes communities less secure.
“The time has come when political leaders unequivocally speak out against hatred and intolerance and in support of a multicultural society, where everyone feels safe to participate and contribute,” she said in a press release.
Avi Benlolo, President and CEO of the Simon Wiesenthal Friends of the Holocaust Research Center, made a statement in which, while the new statistics are not surprising, they are alarming.
“It is disturbing to hear that hate crime continues to grow in Canada and that the Jewish community — a community that is integrated into the Canadian mosaic — is still being victimized,” he said.
Black people – main goals, StatsCan reports
In Canada, black people are still the most common targets of hate crimes on the basis of race or ethnicity. About 16 percent of all incidents affect black victims.
According to the report, two percent of reports of soil crimes committed by the police concerned indigenous peoples, but this suggests that a large number of all victims – perhaps up to two out of three – did not file reports with the authorities.
Hate crimes amount to 0.1 percent of more than 1.9 million non-traffic crimes reported by Canadian police in 2017. The agency defines hate crimes as “criminal incidents that, as a result of the police, appear to be motivated by hatred of an identifiable group”.