Hate Crime

There is no such thing as a Hate Crime in the Criminal Code of Canada. There are four offences in the Code that specifically pertain to hate; Advocating Genocide, Public Incitement of Hatred, Wilful Promotion of Hatred  and Wilful Promotion of Antisemitism.

The number of hate/bias motivated crimes and hate/bias motivated incidents recorded varies from year to year.  Victims may be reluctant to report hate/bias motivated crimes and/or hate/bias motivated incidents for several reasons including, but not limited to:

  • Language barriers
  • The victim may not have recognized that the crime was motivated by bias or hate
  • Not being taken seriously
  • Not knowing where and how to report
  • Fear of retaliation
  • Normalization of hate

Durham Regional Police recognize the significance of collaborating with communities and media outlets to encourage and support victims in reporting hate crimes.

What is a Hate Motivated and Bias Motivated Crime?

A Hate/Bias Motivated Incident involves behaviours that are motivated by bias against a victims’ colour, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or mental or physical disability or similar factor which are not a criminal offence. For example, disrespectful, discriminatory or hostile speech.

A Hate/Bias Motivated Incident may be determined to be a Hate/Bias Motivated Crime upon further police investigation.

Incident Example: An individual creates a social media post promoting the boycott of companies that support the 2SLGBTQI+ community. 

A Hate/Bias Motivated Crime is a criminal offence, such as an assault, threat, or damage committed against a person or property, which is motivated solely or in part, by the offender’s hate, bias or prejudice based on colour, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or mental or physical disability or similar factor. 

A police investigation into the criminal offence will examine if the perceived motivation or motivation was based on hate/bias, and if so, will rely on the following section in the Criminal Code of Canada:

  1. Section 718.2 – A court that imposes a sentence shall also take into consideration the following principles:
    1. A sentence should be increased or reduced to account for any relevant aggravating or mitigating circumstances relating to the offence or the offender, and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing,
      1. Evidence that the offence was motivated by that the offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or any other similar factor.

This provision in the Criminal Code allows for increased sentences to be considered where there is evidence that hate/bias motivated the criminal offence committed.  

Essentially, if a person is convicted of a criminal offence and it’s proven to be motivated by hate, higher penalties may be imposed by the judge during sentencing.

Threat Example: An individual brandishing a weapon, and shouting racial slurs, specifically targeting individuals of a racialized community.

Mischief Example: An individual vandalizes a place of worship by spray-painting offensive symbols of hate on the walls. 

Assault Example: An individual runs towards the entrance of a place of worship while yelling offensive slurs and intentionally attempts to assault or actually assault worshipers as they exit.

Hate Propaganda is any writing, sign or visible representation that advocates or promotes genocide, or publicly communicates hatred against an identifiable group defined by race, colour, religion or sexual orientation found under section 318 and 319 of the Criminal Code.

There is no such thing as a Hate Crime in the Criminal Code of Canada. There are four offences in the Code that specifically pertain to hate, they fall under the Hate-Propaganda section and they are as follows:

  1. Section 318 (1) – Advocating Genocide
  2. Section 319 (1) – Public Incitement of Hatred
  3. Section 319(2) – Wilful Promotion of Hatred 
  4. Section 319(2.1) – Wilful Promotion of Antisemitism

A police investigation into an allegation regarding a criminal charge under Section 318(1) – Advocating Genocide or Section 319(2) – Wilful Promotion of Hatred, requires police officers to consult with the Crown Attorney’s Office and receive consent from the Attorney General’s Office before either one of these criminal charges can be laid.

Advocating Genocide Example: An individual spreads a message through various online platforms, advocating for the complete extermination of a particular ethnic group, calling for violence and the systematic eradication of its race.

Public Incitement of Hatred Example: During the Pride Parade, an individual is inciting hatred towards the participants.

Wilful Promotion of Hatred Example: An individual distributes flyers throughout a neighbourhood, promoting hatred towards all women from every race, with explicit messages urging others to hold animosity and prejudice against them.

Wilful Promotion of Antisemitism Example: An individual publicly asserts that the Holocaust is a conspiracy theory, denying its occurrence and spreading misinformation to undermine the historical reality of this tragic event.

The Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS) recognizes the impact that hate has on our community, and we are dedicated to investigating all occurrences of hate/bias motivated crimes and hate/bias motivated incidents. As Leaders in Community Safety, we want to have the safest community for people to live, work and play. If you see or experience hate, report it. By reporting it, we can investigate these matters, bring appropriate charges, and help support victims to create safer and more inclusive communities.

If you are a victim of a hate/bias motivated crime or hate/bias motivated incident, please call the non-emergency line at 905-579-1520. If this is an emergency, or the hate/bias motivated crime is in progress, call 9-1-1. To report a hate/bias motivated crime anonymously, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS

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