Hate crimes targeting religious groups increased 67 percent from 2020, breaking an encouraging three-year downturn.
By ZVIKA KLEIN
Statistics Canada released police-reported hate crime data for 2021 on Tuesday, revealing once again that hate crimes targeting the Black and Jewish populations remained most common.
Overall, hate crimes targeting religious groups increased 67 percent from 2020, breaking an encouraging three-year downturn. Incidents targeting the Jewish community grew dramatically by 47 percent since 2020 and cumulatively 59 percent over the last two years. Statistically, this reflects 1.3 in a thousand members of Canada’s Jewish community reporting having been the target of a hate crime in 2021.
Jewish-Canadians remain the most targeted religious minority for hate crime and second overall. There are approximately 380,000 Jews in Canada, representing only one percent of the population, yet members of the Jewish community were victims of 14 percent of all reported hate crimes in 2021.
“We are deeply concerned that incidents of hate crime rose yet again in Canada in 2021,” said Shimon Koffler Fogel, President and CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). “This disturbing trend clearly proves the need for proactive measures to stop the rising hate targeting diverse Canadians based on their identity.”
“Statistically, Canadian Jews were more than 10 times more likely than any other Canadian religious minority to report being the target of a hate crime. This is alarming,” said Fogel.
Fogel expressed that “this report should be a call to action for all Canadians to stand against antisemitism and all forms of hate. Like the Jewish community, many racialized and minority communities experienced a spike in a hate crime last year, further underscoring the need for concerted efforts to stop this worrying trend.
“Statistically, Canadian Jews were more than 10 times more likely than any other Canadian religious minority to report being the target of a hate crime. This is alarming.”
Shimon Koffler Fogel
“We are grateful that police services across the country take these incidents seriously, but more needs to be done to protect vulnerable communities. This includes greater support for security and safety at community institutions such as houses of worship; Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion education that includes training on antisemitism; and a national strategy to target online hate and radicalization.
“Although Canada remains one of the best countries in the world in which to be Jewish or any other minority for that matter, these numbers should concern all Canadians. One hate crime is one too many.”
There were over 2 million police-reported Criminal Code incidents (excluding traffic) in Canada in 2021, about 25,500 more incidents than in 2020. At 5,375 incidents per 100,000 population, the police-reported crime rate—which measures the volume of crime—increased by 1% in 2021, following a 9% decrease in 2020. In 2021, the violent crime rate increased by 5% while the property crime rate decreased by 1%. Following a large decrease in 2020, the property crime rate was the lowest it has been dating back to 1965.
The number of police-reported hate crimes increased 27% to 3,360 incidents in 2021, compared with 2019, hate crimes have increased 72% over the last two years. More hate crimes targeting religion (+67%, including Jewish, Muslim and Catholic) and sexual orientation (+64%) accounted for most of the national change, along with more incidents targeting race or ethnicity (+6%).
Yet not only Jews are under attack: It seems as if all religions are suffering from hate crimes in Canada. Police-reported hate crimes targeting the Jewish (+47%), Muslim (+71%) and Catholic (+260%) religions were up. The increase in hate crimes targeting the Muslim population follows a similar decrease in 2020.
The increase also occurred in the same year as an attack in London, Ontario which targeted a Muslim family and resulted in four homicides and one attempted homicide. “While it is not possible to link police-reported hate crime incidents to particular events, media coverage and public discourse can increase awareness as well as draw negative reactions from people who share hateful attitudes,” the police report stated.
“In 2021, there were discoveries of unmarked graves on former residential school sites. Following these discoveries, there were reports of hate incidents targeting the Indigenous population as well as churches and other religious institutions. Any criminal incident deemed by police to be motivated by hate would be included in these statistics.”