Toronto (November 28, 2017) – Statistics Canada’s release today of police-reported hate crimes for 2016 shows a 3 per cent jump from 2015 due to increased targeting of specific groups, including the Jewish community. The Jewish community was the most targeted group in 2016, accounting for 16 per cent of all hate crimes across Canada.
The report reveals that 221 police-reported hate crimes – 148 of which took place in Ontario – were against the Jewish community in 2016, up from 178 hate crimes in 2015. The Black community was the second-most targeted, while the Muslim community saw a decrease in incidents.
“This is, unfortunately, not shocking to learn, as the Jewish community has always been the target of antisemitic and hateful attacks – often through vandalism, graffiti and hate speech – despite making up just over 1 per cent of the Canadian population,” said Avi Benlolo, President and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center. “It’s important to note that many incidents go unreported or are marked as mischief by police, meaning the number of hate crimes that take place is actually higher than what is reported.”
“Just this past month, we have witnessed swastikas being drawn on numerous buildings and even in front of a Jewish school north of Toronto, neo-Nazi posters found on university campuses, and the words ‘Heil Hitler’ drawn on a university chalkboard. With the increase in extremist activity on our streets, it is more important than ever that we commit to not allowing antisemitism to fester and not allow antisemitic groups to hide behind false narratives.”
FSWC continues to track and counter antisemitism across the country, ensuring incidents are reported to local police. Most recently, FSWC fielded complaints from the public about content found in the antisemitic and hate-ridden publication Your Ward News, which eventually led to hate crime charges against the editor and publisher. For a list of antisemitic incidents from the past year in each province, go to www.fswc.ca and click the antisemitism tab.
Through its educational programs – including Tour for Humanity, Freedom Day and the National Policy Conference on Holocaust Education – the Center works towards promoting tolerance and human rights in communities across Canada.