Hate Crime

  • In Canada, four specific offences are listed as hate propaganda offences or hate crimes in the Criminal Code: advocating genocide, public incitement of hatred, wilful promotion of hatred and mischief motivated by hate in relation to religious property.
  • With changing demographics, the potential can arise for acts of discrimination between individuals or groups. When a criminal act is motivated by hate, it is considered a hate crime. Hate crimes can be either violent or non-violent in nature, and affect not only the individual victims of the crime but also the groups targeted. The information below uses data from the 2012 Incident-Based Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR2), which collects information from police services, to examine police-reported hate crime in Canada.
  • In 2012, police reported 1,414 criminal incidents (4.1 incidents per 100,000) motivated by hate in Canada, 82 more incidents than in 2011. This 6% increase is partly owing to improvements in reporting by police services, and the overall increase was composed primarily of a rise in mischief offences targeting Black populations, as well as mischief and other non-violent hate crimes targeting Jewish populations.
  • Those numbers likely underestimate the true extent of hate crime. According to the 2009 General Social Survey on Victimization (GSS), about two-thirds of respondents who said they had been victims of hate-motivated incidents in the last 12 months did not report the incidents to the police.
  • There were fewer violent hate crime incidents reported by police in 2012 (down 16% from 2011). In particular, there were fewer violent hate crime incidents motivated by race or ethnicity (down 21%) and sexual orientation (down 23%).
  • About half (51%) of police-reported hate crimes in 2012 were motivated by hatred of race or ethnicity. Another 30% were motivated by religion and another 13% by sexual orientation. The remaining 6% of hate crimes were motivated by language, mental or physical disability, sex, age, or some other characteristic.
  • Over two-thirds (69%) of hate crimes were non-violent. Mischief was the most commonly reported offence among police-reported hate crimes, making up over half of all hate crime incidents: 6% were hate mischief in relation to religious property and 51% were other types of mischief.
  • Almost one-third (31%) of police-reported hate crimes in 2012 involved violent offences, such as assault, uttering threats and criminal harassment. Hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation (67%) or race/ethnicity (32%) were the most likely to involve violent offences. Among religious hate crimes, 13% were violent.
  • The majority of police-reported hate crime incidents in 2012 were concentrated in major cities (CMAs). While the 10 largest Canadian cities account for just over half of the population (52%), they reported 63% of the hate crimes in 2012.
  • Among crimes motivated by hate, the accused were predominantly young and male. Among persons accused of hate crimes in 2012, 84% were male and 57% were under age 25. The majority (62%) of the youth accused of hate crimes who were under age 18 were accused of non-violent offences, with 48% accused of mischief.
  • The majority of victims of police-reported violent hate crimes were male (72%). Incidents motivated by sexual orientation had the highest proportion of male victims (80%). In 2012, 40% of hate crime victims were under the age of 25. Victims of sexual-orientation-motivated hate crime tended to be younger, with 56% under the age of 25.


Allen, Mary. 2014. Police-reported hate crime in Canada, 2012. Juristat. Catalogue no. 85-002-X, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.

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