What is a hate crime?

In Canada, a hate crime is defined as any criminal offense against a person, group or property that is motivated by hatred or prejudice towards an identifiable group. The following are the identifiable groups outlined in the Criminal Code of Canada:

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RACE, COLOUR, ETHNICITY AND LANGUAGE

Although it’s considered an outdated concept, “race” is often used to refer to a group of people of common ancestry, distinguished by physical characteristics such as colour of skin, shape of eyes, hair texture and facial features and to designate social categories based on such characteristics. Whereas “ethnicity” is a concept that is perceived in terms of common culture, history, language or nationhood.

In 2011, approximately 52 percent of reported hate crimes in Canada were motivated by race or ethnicity.

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RELIGION

Hate crimes against religious groups are often targeted against a communities or individuals on their perceived or misinterpreted religious attire or affiliation.

In 2011, approximately 25 percent of reported hate crimes in Canada were motivated by religion. Among religious hate crimes, 75 percent of incidents involved mischief, such as vandalism, graffiti or other destruction of property.

AGE, MENTAL OR PHYSICAL DISABILITY

It is important that people are not harmed and that property is respected for youth, elderly and individuals with a mental or physical disability. That may include developmental challenges, intelligence and physical and mental health disorders.

In 2011, approximately 4 percent of reported hate crimes involved age, mental and physical disability.

Hate crimes are under-reported. Many more incidents remain undocumented.

SEX OR SEXUAL ORIENTATION

When reporting a hate crime motivated by sexual orientation and identity, the victim’s gender identity, orientation or status does not need to be disclosed to officers and information disclosed will not be shared publicly.

In 2011, approximately 18 percent of hate crimes in Canada were motivated by perceived sexual orientation, however were the most likely to involve violent offences.

ANY OTHER SIMILAR FACTOR

Hate crimes and incidents are any crime or incident which is targeted at a victim because of the offender's hostility or prejudice against an identifiable group of people.



As society evolves, new identifiable groups emerge. Please contact the BC Hate Crimes Team with any questions related to what may constitute for an identifiable group.


  • It scars the victim far more deeply... you are beaten or hurt because of who you are. It is a direct and deliberate crime – it is a violation of a person's essence, a person's soul...- Anonymous Victim