A new report released by Statistics Canada on Tuesday showed that 3,360 hate crimes were reported by police last year, representing a 27 per cent increase compared with 2020 and a 72 per cent jump over the span of two years.
Higher numbers of hate-motivated crimes targeting religion, sexual orientation, and race or ethnicity accounted for the majority of the increase, StatCan reported.
Ahman Hussein is the community chair at the Ummah Mosque in Halifax. In his 26 years of living in the province, he says he has “never seen such crimes perpetrated toward the Muslim community” as he has since the beginning of the pandemic.
The Ummah Mosque has been targeted an alarming amount of times since the beginning of the pandemic.
“We’ve gone from having not a single break-in to 26 break-ins and graffiti and vandalism in a single month,” he said.
Halifax Regional Police spokesperson Nicolas Gagnon told Global News that hate crime is one of the most under-reported types of crime.
“We expect that with the newly established Hate Crimes Unit, the reporting will be better reflective of the extent of the issue in future years and also provide a more accurate depiction of the issue,” said Gagnon.
For Hussein, it’s not surprising that many hate crimes go unreported.
“Some community members have a distrust of authorities. Some are too nervous and anxious to come out because it may hurt their reputation or ability to work in the country and others just don’t know how to acquire services for support against hate,” he said.
Following the release of the latest data, the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) is urging the federal government to do more to combat hate crime and support victims.
As part of its recommendations, the CRRF said Ottawa should invest $44 million to create a national fund for organizations that support victims of hate and a direct fund for survivors of hate crimes.
“We’re advocating right now to make sure that we’re turning the table from not thinking about how we look at public policy and legislature to how we look at what is actually helpful to people who are victims of hate, and how we help them in their lives,” Mohammed Hashim, CRRF’s executive director, told Global News.