Canada sees surge in hate crimes during pandemic, new data shows

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The new figures prompt calls by advocates for the government in Ottawa to pass anti-racism laws.

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Canada has experienced a sharp increase in hate crimes targeting religion, sexual orientation and race since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data released this week by Statistics Canada.


Canada, which prides itself as a diverse and welcoming country for immigrants and refugees, has seen its hate crime rate increase by 72 percent between 2019 and 2021, Statistics Canada said.

This increase was partly due to the pandemic, which exposed and exacerbated issues of security and discrimination. Sino-Canadians reported increased discrimination. Wuhan, China was the epicenter of the virus. The World Health Organization said in June that its latest investigation into the origins of COVID-19 was inconclusive, mainly because data from China is missing.

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In 2021, there was a 67 percent increase in hate crimes targeting religion, a 64 percent increase in those targeting sexual orientation, and a 6 percent increase in those targeting race or ethnicity.

This has prompted minority groups to urge the government to pass anti-racism laws.

“We can no longer delay action to stop anti-Asian hate and racism,” Amy Go, president of the Chinese-Canadian National Council for Social Justice, told Reuters news agency.

The council has asked the federal government to pass an anti-racism act to collect specific information about the perpetrators, where the crime occurs and the circumstances under which it is held responsible.

Go said the government was reviewing the request. The Canadian government did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

According to Statistics Canada, migration is an important growth engine for the Canadian economy, with migrant workers accounting for 84 percent of total labor force growth in the 2010s.

Canada welcomed a record 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021, and Ottawa has set an ambitious target of 432,000 new people this year.

Several incidents targeting Asians have put Manan Doshi, an international student who recently arrived in Canada, in doubt about staying in the country.

Doshi said his family asked him to return to India after witnessing some fatal incidents at Toronto Metro stations, which scared him.

Mohamed Hashim, executive director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, has recommended the federal government invest $15 million ($11.6 US) to help hate crime victims.

“This is unacceptable because hatred can permanently damage people’s ability to participate in society,” Hashim said.

New data documented 71 percent Hate crimes against Muslims increased with 144 incidents in 2021 as compared to 2020.

“This year, according to Stats Canada numbers, there was a dramatic spike of anti-Muslim hatred,” the National Council of Muslims of Canada said in a tweet earlier this week.

“We lost Canadian Muslims to hate in 2021. Even these numbers don’t tell the whole story – we know the number of hate crimes is much higher than the hate crime statistics.”

Muslims in Canada have been the target of major hate attacks in recent years, including mass shootings claimed six worshipers At a mosque in Quebec City in 2017. Last year, an attacker in London, Ontario, crushed a Muslim family with his truck, killing four in what police described as an Islamophobic attack.

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