For the fourth year in a row, the national homicide rate went up in 2022, according to Statistics Canada data released Wednesday.
The homicide rate, which is considered a key indicator of the state of violence in society, increased by nearly eight percent to 2.25 homicides per 100,000 population.
This was the highest homicide rate since 1992, according to the agency.
Across Canada, a total of 874 people were killed in 2022, which was an almost nine per cent increase compared to the previous year.
“Despite recent increases, homicides remain a rare event in Canada, accounting for less than 0.2 per cent of all police-reported violent crimes in 2022,” StatCan said in its report.
Among the provinces, Manitoba had the highest homicide rate last year, followed by Saskatchewan and British Columbia. Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador had the lowest.
An Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News in February suggested 58 per cent of Canadians believe there has been more violence in their community since the pandemic began in March 2020. And the data mirrors those sentiments.
StatCan had included homicide data for 2022 in its police-reported crime report earlier in July, but it published more trends related to homicide Wednesday, including on police deaths and youth suspects.
Five police officers were killed in the country last year “because of their occupation”, which was the highest number in 37 years for Canada.
There was also a big jump in the number of Canadian youth accused of homicide, with police reporting 90 youths accused in 2022, compared with 33 the year before.
The rate of youths accused of homicide more than doubled last year – reaching 1.23 per 100,000 youths – compared to the previous 10-year average.
StatCan said this increase can be largely attributed to a rise in the number of homicide incidents involving multiple accused individuals aged younger than 18 years.
Meanwhile, Indigenous and racialized people continue to be disproportionately affected by homicide, StatCan data shows.
Indigenous people represented more than a quarter (27 per cent) of total homicide victims, while one-third (30 per cent) of the victims were identified as being racialized people.
Firearms-related homicides accounted for 41 per cent of Canada’s homicides in 2022, similar to 2021 levels.
Gang-related homicides accounted for nearly a quarter of homicides 2022, “a large contributor to the overall national homicide increase” compared to 2021, the report notes.