Aerial view of Iqaluit, Canada Aerial view of Iqaluit, Canada  

Canada: crimes against Catholics increase 260 percent

According to a study released by Statistics Canada, 3,360 reports of hate crimes have been reported by the police, targeting religions, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity

By Edoardo Giribaldi

Reports of hate crimes in Canada in 2021 have increased by 27 percent from the previous year, with a 260 percent growth against Catholics.

The reality portrayed by a study released by Statistics Canada specifies how crimes are committed "targeting a given religion" (whose data registered a 67 percent increase), "sexual orientation, and race or ethnicity."

The nature of hate crimes

Following the data of the previous years, a trend that remained stable is the nature of hate crimes, with more than half (56%) being "non-violent offenses, primarily mischief."

According to the report, findings regarding religious violence "marked the highest number of hate crimes targeting a religion since comparable data have been recorded, and followed three consecutive years of decreases."

Specifically, hate crimes targeting Jewish people registered a 47 percent increase, violence against Muslims a 71 percent increase, and those against Catholics a 260 percent increase.

Data however, shows that when religious affiliation among Canadians was controlled for through the census, the rate of police-reported hate crimes targeting the Jewish population was highest, followed by the Muslim.

The victims

The report specifies how "men and boys" were more likely to be victims of hate crimes targeting a specific religion, following the trends of violence targeting sexual orientation and race or ethnicity.

In contrast, "nearly three-quarters of victims of hate crimes targeting sex or gender were women and girls."

The findings released by Statistics Canada refer to "incidents that come to the attention of police and that are subsequently classified as hate crimes." In fact, according to the 2020 General Social Survey on Social Identity, "Canadians who self-identified as belonging to a racialized group were more than twice as likely to report having experienced discrimination since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic compared with their non-racialized counterparts."

Indigenous and the police

The report further states that "many factors can impact the likelihood that a given crime is reported to the police, and subsequently reflected in police-reported statistics." Among them the "expertise of local police," but also "general awareness among the community" and its relationship with the police itself.

In fact, "due to the historical and intergenerational trauma resulting from colonialism and related policies, as well as individual and systemic racism," several Indigenous Canadian people deal with "economic challenges, including higher rates of criminal victimization, discrimination, representation in the criminal justice system, and lower levels of confidence in the police and other institutions."

The report concludes by highlighting how "these and other factors can impact whether a hate crime comes to the attention of the police."

Article updated on 30/3/2023

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25 March 2023, 15:13