A new report from Statistics Canada reveals a 35 percent increase in hate crimes reported by police between 2007 and 2008. Just over half (55 percent) of the 1,036 incidents reported in 2008 involved race or ethnicity, followed by religion (26 percent) and sexual orientation (16 percent). The number of police-reported hate crimes in Canada increased in all reporting categories, with the largest increase among crimes motivated by sexual orientation. Incidents related to sexual orientation more than doubled in 2008 and were the most likely to be violent.
A total of three hate crimes motivated by mental or physical disabilities were reported in 2008, up from two in 2007.
The report’s numbers may under-represent the true extent of hate crimes in Canada. Possible reasons for undercounting can include decisions not to report incidents due to presumed or evident police insensitivity to the issue; unavailability of a specialized hate crimes unit; fear of retaliation; feelings of humiliation; language or other barriers; and accessibility issues in regard to victim services in the community. Data on the incidence of hate crimes have been available since 2006 from police forces serving 88 percent of the population.
See “Police-Reported Hate Crimes,” The Daily, June 14, 2010, at www.statcan.gc.ca.