- 21 October 2021
All persons must be able to live freely without fear of being intimidated, harassed, threatened or assaulted on account of their race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, or sexual orientation.
When an act is motivated by hate and intended to violate the rights and dignity of an individual or group due to one of the factors mentioned above, it may then constitute a hate crime or incident. As a community, it is important that we recognize the importance of fighting such attacks and provocations as they profoundly diminish the sense of security of targeted individuals and groups and shake the confidence of society as a whole.
By creating tensions in certain groups, hate crimes and incidents can be an important cause of radicalization leading to violence. Conversely, violent radicalization may itself spur the commission of hate acts.
Hate-motivated acts, which are unacceptable in our society, take two forms: ‘hate crimes’ and ‘hate incidents’. A hate crime is a criminal act punishable by law, while a hate incident cannot be considered a criminal offence under the Criminal Code, despite the fact that it also impacts the sense of security of the affected individual or group.
What is a hate crime?
A hate crime is a criminal act motivated by prejudice or hatred towards an individual or group based on factors such as race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or mental or physical disability.
Examples of actions or behaviours considered to be hate crimes include :
- Making threats on social media targeting one’s indigenous neighbour due to the latter’s ethnic origin.
- Drawing provocative graffiti (Ku Klux Klan images, swastikas, death’s head, etc.) on the windows or walls of a business or gathering place associated with a group that is the object of strong prejudices or stereotypes.
- Vandalizing a synagogue or Buddhist temple, or pouring pig’s blood on the door of a mosque.
- Violently pushing a physically disabled person on the stairs in the metro while uttering insults about the person’s disability.
Section 718.2 a) (i) of the Criminal Code provides for harsher sentences for criminal offences motivated by hate.
What is a hate incident?
A hate incident is any non criminal act that affects the sense of safety of a person or identifiable group of persons and that, due to the context, is seen to be an act targeting a specific person or group due to their race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or physical or mental disability.
Examples of actions or behaviours considered to be hate incidents include:
- Making hostile comments to two women embracing one another in the street about their sexual orientation
- Placing offensive and threatening flyers on the windshields of indigenous people’s cars in a mall parking lot
- Insulting a business owner because of the owner’s national or ethnic origin
- Making offensive remarks to a person about an intellectual disability they may have
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