Number of reported hate crimes set new record in 2020 as other crimes decreased: Statistics Canada
The overall rate of police-reported crime dropped by 10 per cent compared to 2019
New data from Statistics Canada show the number of hate crimes reported to police across the country went up 37 per cent in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic compared with the previous year.
The agency says 2,669 hate crimes were reported in 2020 — the highest number since comparable data became available in 2009.
The report also shows the overall rate of police-reported crime, excluding traffic offences, dropped 10 per cent from 2019 to 2020.
Statistics Canada says police-reported hate crimes targeting race or ethnicity rose 80 per cent in 2020 compared with 2019 and accounted for the bulk of the national increase.
It says reported hate crimes targeting East or Southeast Asian people went up 301 per cent; those targeting Black people went up 92 per cent; those against Indigenous people went up 152 per cent; and those against South Asian people went up 47 per cent.
The report says the highest increases in police-reported hate crimes were in Nova Scotia (70 per cent), British Columbia (60 per cent), Saskatchewan (60 per cent), Alberta (39 per cent) and Ontario (35 per cent).
No rise was reported in Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick or the Northwest Territories. The report notes the relatively small population counts and number of hate crimes in the territories usually make year-over-year comparisons less reliable.
Both violent and non-violent hate crimes increased compared with 2019 and contributed "fairly equally" to the overall rise in hate crimes in 2020, Statistics Canada says.
Hate crimes targeting religion declined for the third year in a row following a peak in 2017, the report says. But the 515 incidents reported in 2020 still exceed what was recorded annually before 2017, it says.
The Jewish and Muslim populations continue to be the most common targets for religion-based hate crimes, Statistics Canada says.
There was a two-per-cent decrease in reported hate crimes targeting sexual orientation in 2020, but the 259 incidents reported are the second highest since comparable data became available in 2009, the agency says.
Statistics Canada says the increase in hate crimes reported in 2020 may still underestimate the number of incidents because not all of them are reported to police.