The Ontario government is offering more than $20 million to address hate-motivated incidents in the province, with a focus on helping Muslim and Jewish communities.
The new funding comes as the Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism says incidents of anti-semitism and Islamophobia are on the rise, and have grown in recent weeks.
The money will prioritize Jewish and Muslim communities, giving funds to synagogues, mosques and community hubs to help battle the reported rise in hate.
Grants of up to $20,000 are being offered and can be used to hire security staff, install surveillance cameras and make repairs to buildings. The money can also be used for cyber security and to help clean up after incidents of vandalism.
Police in Toronto have reported an increase in hate-motivated crimes since fighting between Hamas and Israel began in October.
Toronto police increased the size of its hate crimes unit and launched an online portal for reporting hate-motivated graffiti as the number of calls grew.
“We stand firm in our support of Ontario’s Muslim and Jewish communities and will continue to work with them, and all faith-based and cultural groups, to ensure their safety,” said Michael Ford, Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism.
The funding will be in addition to $12.5 million already given to more than 1,400 groups through the first round of the Anti-Hate Security and Prevention Grant.
Applications for the new grant open on Dec. 14, and groups that have already received money will be eligible to apply for top-ups.
“People of all faiths have the inherent right to feel safe in their communities and their places of worship deserve respect,” Solicitor General Michael Kerzner said. “This strategic investment will support these institutions in making facility enhancements to further protect their patrons and their property.”