Since 2020, there has been a steady and swift increase in hate-motivated homicides and related offences.
Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Crime statistics are showing a marked rise in hate-motivated homicides and related charges.
According to Statistics Canada, the number of hate crime homicides and “other related violations” reported to the police has reached an all-time high with the largest spike occurring over the past three years.
Homicide and other related violations reportedly sat between one or two incidents from 2014 to 2019, according to data gathered by StatsCan from “selected police services.” In 2020 that number jumped to eight, then moved up to 13 in 2021.
The final reported increase in 2022 spiked again to 23 reported homicides and other violations.
According to a media relations spokesperson for Statistics Canada, homicide-related violations can include Murder 1st and 2nd Degree, Manslaughter, Infanticide, Criminal Negligence Causing Death, Other Related Offences Causing Death, Attempted Murder, and Conspire to Commit Murder.
Far from the only police-reported hate crimes to increase. Assault level one, two, and three; criminal harassment; uttering threats; and more have risen. In the nine years of statistics available, the total number of police-reported hate crimes has increased from 1,170 total incidents in 2015 to 3,576 in 2022.
Hate-motivated mischief relating to property used by an identifiable group did not break over 100 until 2018, by 2022 it rose to 244. Mischief by itself increased by a total of 646 reported incidents during the same time.
There have also been declines in the number of reports of certain crimes.
Despite a spike from 90 incidents of Public Incitement of Hatred in 2019 to 118 incidents in 2020, the number fell to 86 in 2022. The other decreases fall into unspecified categories like “other non-violent violations” (which went from 26 incidents in 2019 to 95 in 2021, but fell to 77 in 2022), “other criminal code” (spiking from 89 in 2019 to 158 in 2021, but dipping to 152 in 2022), and “other violations” (14 reported incidents in 2021 falling to 11 in 2022).
Which cases are shown in the totals is not clear. In 2021, a 22-year-old London, Ontario man killed four members of a family with his vehicle, police allege, because of their Muslim faith. His trial is still ongoing. Police-reported hate crime statistics are imperfect numbers for determining the true number of hate incidents, as many crimes that are motivated by hate do not meet the legal definition or are not pursued as such by law enforcement. Several notable killings do not appear to be part of the data, including the 2017 Quebec City mosque shooting. StatsCan lists only two hate-motivated homicides for 2017 though six people were killed during the attack.
An annual poll, the General Social Survey (now called the General Social Statistics Program), points to a massive disparity in hate crimes reported by the police and self-reported hate crimes by Canadian citizens.
In 2021, there were an estimated 223,000 self-reported hate crimes in Canada in 2019, with the highest proportion in Ontario (33%), Quebec (28%), and Alberta (14%). In the same period, law enforcement reported 1,951 hate crimes, meaning that less than 1% of perceived hate crimes in 2019 were captured in the police-reported statistics.
The 2014 General Social Survey, when compared to police-reported numbers, shows a similar phenomenon. 2019 and 2014 are the only years we have data for, because the GSS portion on Victimization is only repeated every 5 years.
Police statistics could and should only be used as an indicator of possible trends, and to measure police performance on hate crime.
While the police data is flawed, it suggests a largely consistent year-over-year increase in hate crime with a large 37% spike in 2020, the most recently available data. This increase in in-person hate has occurred in tandem with an increase in online hate.
One in five Canadians has experienced online hate, with racialized persons more than three times more likely to report it, according to an Abacus Data poll commissioned by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.