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Hate crimes against Catholics in Canada rose 260% in 2021

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Przemyslaw Zielinski | Shutterstock

J-P Mauro - published on 03/31/23

While Catholics were not the only group that experienced an increase in reported hate crimes, they were by far the most targeted religious group in 2021.

Hate crimes aimed towards Canadian Catholics are on the rise, with new data showing an increase of 260% in 2021. While the majority of these are non-violent acts of aggression, the sharp increase in occurrences in comparison to the previous year has raised concerns that anti-Catholic sentiment is on the rise in Canada. 

The report was released by Statistics Canada (StatCan), which produces statistical data and insights to help Canadians better understand their country. According to their numbers, the total number of hate crimes reported to the police rose from 2,646 incidents in 2020 to 3,360 in 2021, a 27% increase.

When broken down by areas of discrimination, the highest rate of reported hate crimes was seen targeting race or ethnicity (+6%; 1,723 incidents), followed by sexual orientation (+64%; 423 incidents) and religious affiliation (+67%; 884 incidents).

The reports note that rates of hate crimes have consistently risen annually since the pandemic began. 

Religious groups

In the area of religious hate crimes, incidents have risen from 530 in 2020 to 884 in 2021. When broken down further to individual religions, this 67% increase was disproportionately experienced by Canada’s Catholics, with a 260% increase in reported incidents. Other religions also saw increases, although not at the same level, with Jewish people reporting 47% more incidents and Muslims reporting an increase of 71%. 

The study noted that its findings “marked the highest number of hate crimes targeting a religion since comparable data have been recorded, and followed three consecutive years of decreases.”

The report went on to explain that the most frequent targets of hate crimes motivated by religion were aimed at “men and boys.” Meanwhile nearly three-quarters of hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation or gender were focused on “women and girls.” Canadians who identify as part of an ethnic minority were more than twice as likely to experience discrimination since the pandemic began. 

StatCan notes that their findings are based on offenses which were reported to the police, and cannot account for additional crimes that went unreported. Click here to read the full report.

Tags:
CanadaCatholicPersecution of Christians
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