Increase in hate crimes targeted towards 2SLGTBQI+ communities reiterate the need for an inclusive government led strategy to combat hate.
(Toronto, March 22, 2023) – Statistics Canada’s latest police-reported hate crimes data shows a 27% increase in hate-motivated crimes in 2021, with an uptick in hate crimes targeting 2SLGTBQI+ communities.
The annual data released this morning is disturbing but unsurprising and can be attributed to growing social polarization as well as greater awareness around discrimination and reporting.
Over the past year, Canada has seen numerous instances of anti-2SLGBTQI+ protests, intolerance, and threats and attacks against drag queens and transgender people. From attacks on transit in major urban centers to protests against drag events in small communities, the targeting of 2SLGBTQI+ individuals is happening in communities across the country.
Most of the reported increase in 2021 took the form of hate crimes targeting a given religion (+67%), sexual orientation (+64%), and race or ethnicity (+6%). Following previous trends, anti-Semitism is the leading factor of hate crimes motivated by religion once again. Much of the rise in hate crimes targeting a race or ethnicity was the result of more reported hate crimes targeting the Arab and West Asian populations (+46%), the East and Southeast Asian populations (+16%), and the South Asian population (+21%).
“Each of the numbers we’re seeing today represents a person or people who endured and has to live with the trauma of a hate crime, and we know there are many more whose experience is not captured. In 2023 we have an obligation to do better, and the upcoming National Action Plan on Combating Hate is one avenue through which we can work toward protecting all of our communities,” said Mohammed Hashim, Executive Director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF).
“The Enchanté Network is disturbed, yet not surprised at the increase in hate crimes against 2SLGBTQI+ people,” said Tyler Boyce, Executive Director of Enchanté Network. “Hate crimes and incidents serve to intimidate and isolate 2SLGBTQI+ individuals and communities. Our history shows that we will not be silent. Resourced communities are resilient communities. The Enchanté Network will continue to support and advocate alongside 2SLGBTQI+ communities from coast to coast to coast, and fight for a Canada where each and every person can live vibrant, valued, and safe lives.”
As the federal government continues to develop its National Action Plan on Combating Hate, today’s report is an urgent reminder of the need to be more inclusive in preventing, recognizing and responding to all hate crimes, including those that target 2SLGBTQI+ communities, including the allocation of at least $44 million dollars to better support victims of hate, as per CRRF’s recommendations from a review last fall of services available to victims of hate in Canada.
Acts of hate significantly contribute to a culture of intimidation and fear towards individuals and communities that are targeted. Appropriate responses and support from the government and justice system would increase trust in the ability of institutions to better address hate crimes.
These numbers only represent a small fraction of the lived experience of racialized communities. There remain major gaps in how hate crimes are determined, which means the data measured only accounts for incidents that were reported to police, and defined as hateful by police services. Many hate crimes and incidents continue to go undocumented because victims do not trust that reporting will lead to healing or justice.
Data provides an important but partial picture of the complexity of an individual’s experience. Many Canadians hold multiple identities for which they may be targeted with hate crimes.
NATIONAL Public Relations