Jews are the religious group most targeted by hate crimes, according to a Statistics Canada report on police-reported crime statistics, released Aug. 2, 2022.
The analysis of police-reported crimes in 2021 showed that hate crimes in Canada increased by 27 percent, rising from 2,646 incidents in 2020, to 3,360. This increase follows an earlier 36 percent jump from 2019 to 2020.
Non-violent hate crimes increased by 26 percent, while violent hate crimes increased by 29 percent.
In 2021, as in previous years, Jewish-Canadians were the most targeted religious group, reporting 487 hate crimes, an increase of 47 percent from 331 crimes the previous year and 306 crimes in 2019.
Blacks were the single most targeted group, reporting 642 crimes in 2021, a slight decrease from the previous year. Between 2019 and 2020, reported hate crimes against Blacks soared from 345 in 2019 to 676 in 2020.
Both Muslims and Catholics saw the reported number of hate crimes increase greatly from 2020 to 2021. In 2021, Muslims reported 144 hate crimes, an increase from 84 the previous year, while Catholics reported 155 hate crimes, an increase from 43 in 2020.
The increase in hate crimes against Muslims in 2021, occurred in the same year as a car-ramming attack on a Muslim family in London, Ont., that left four people dead and a surviving child injured, the report pointed out.
“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 report noted.
“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.”
Jewish advocacy groups are “deeply concerned’ by the consistently growing number of hate crimes.
About 380,000 Jews live in Canada, about 1 percent of the population, but Jews were victims of 14 percent of all hate crimes, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs noted.
“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 Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO of CIJA.
“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 hate crime last year, further underscoring the need for concerted efforts to stop this worrying trend.”
Almost exactly one year ago, the federal government hosted two national summits on combatting antisemitism and Islamophobia.
The 2022 budget included $85 million for the “New Anti-Racism Strategy and National Action Plan on Combatting Hate” as well as a $11 million, five-year pledge for an envoy to combat antisemitism, (the current envoy is Irwin Cotler), and a special representative to address Islamophobia.
“Once again, the Jewish community has remained one of the leading groups victimized by hate crimes in Canada, news that comes as no surprise as we’ve continued to witness a dramatic rise in reports of antisemitic incidents over the past few years,” said Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, director of policy at Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center. “Unfortunately, in reality, the number of hate crimes targeting Jews and other minority groups is much higher than stated in the report, as many incidents go unreported. All Canadians must remain vigilant and call police when they witness or are the victims of hate crimes.”
Fluctuations in the number of incidents could be attributed to a “true change” in the volume of hate crimes or could reflect increased public reporting “because of increased community outreach by police or heightened sensitivity after high-profile events,” the Stats Canada report noted. It cited a 2019 survey that found that about only about one in five (22 percent) “of criminal incidents perceived to be motivated by hate” were reported to police.