Advancing Canada’s approach to tackling hate

The number of reported hate crimes in Canada broke new records in 2020 and 2021—and that’s without taking into account the estimated 80% of hate crimes that go unreported across the country every year. For the past three years, the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) has been actively engaged in efforts on multiple fronts to prevent and address hate crimes in Canada.  

In collaboration with Statistics Canada, the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) is launching co-developed training workshops to help build bridges across and within communities, as well as between communities and law enforcement.

The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) supports the federal government’s new online harms bill as a positive step in protecting everyone, including our youth and young adults from online acts of hate, threats, and violence.  

What is a hate crime?

A criminal offence committed against a person or property that is motivated in whole or in part by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, or on any other similar factor.

What is a hate-motivated incident?

A non-criminal action against a person or property that is motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression or on any other similar factor. For example, derogatory or racial slurs stated during a neighborhood dispute.

Though hate-motivated incidents do not result in criminal charges, it is important that responding police take these incidents and their impacts seriously. Hate-motivated incidents can cause harm and potentially generate widespread fear in affected communities.  

Do victims of hate crimes get the support they need in Canada? 

In 2022, we commissioned a study to review the services available for victims of hate in Canada in order to identify gaps and better support victims. According to the final report, which includes a review of leading practices around the world, many victims have nowhere to turn and supports are limited or unavailable.

CRRF Victims’ Services Review Recommendations
  1. A national fund for organizations that support victims of hate to help create and sustain projects that contribute to preventing hate and supporting victims of hate.
  2. A national support fund to provide direct help for survivors of hate crimes, including uninsured costs such as mental health care, lost wages, paramedical services, physiotherapy, and medical equipment.
  3. An emergency response fund for municipalities and community organizations to mobilize emergency response to hate-motivated mass violence.
  4. Establishing a national Support Hub for Victims of Hate & Support Services to improve access to high quality services for victims and survivors of hate.

How could Canada’s justice system better address hate crimes?

In February 2024, we were asked by the Peel Police Services Board to provide insights on the core issues of police governance and human rights in Peel Region. The CRRF has conducted extensive research and has found that racialized communities in Peel continue to face human rights issues at the hands of Peel Regional Police. Our CEO, Mohammed Hashim, presented findings and proposed community-led solutions.

Further resources include Submissions of Canadian Race Relations Foundation in relation to Human Rights and Police Governance and Human Rights and Police Governance Presentation

We also hosted our 2022 national conference on hate crimes in Canada, in partnership with the Globe and Mail. This hybrid conference looked at what is fueling the rise in hate crime, the implications for society, and ways that law enforcement, the justice system, citizens, technology companies and communities can respond. 

March 22 Hate Crimes in Canada (Part 1) from Globe and Mail Events on Vimeo.

Canada’s National Hate Crimes Task Force

In response to the rise of hate crimes and incidents in Canada, the CRRF co-Chairs Canada’s National Hate Crimes Task Force with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The objective of the Task Force is to better understand the systemic challenges and gaps in addressing hate crimes and incidents in Canada. It aims to better equip policing services to prevent, investigate and support prosecutions related to hate crimes. This work must be done collectively to create tools and resources that are community-informed.  

Through the Task Force, work has progressed towards establishing frameworks for hate crimes training, reporting, and community reassurance protocols. These tools can be locally adapted by police services across the country.

Understanding and Reporting Hate Crimes

For community

An information pamphlet to educate communities on hate crime and encourage the reporting of hate crimes and incidents to police.

Hate Crimes Dashboard

For community

A statistical dashboard that provides relevant and transparent information on hate-motivated crimes and incidents to communities, as well as updated statistics.   

National Standard on Hate Crimes Training

For policing services

This training articulates a baseline that should be mandatory for every sworn police officer serving in Canada.

Reassurance protocol: A victim-centered approach to hate-motivated crimes & incidents

For policing services

A framework which seeks to ensure victims of hate are given proper support by police after a very harmful experience.

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