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

by | Aug 5, 2022 | World

New statistics prompt calls by advocates for the government in Ottawa to pass anti-racism law.Canada has experienced a sharp rise in hate crimes targeting religion, sexual orientation and race since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data released this week by Statistic Canada.
Canada, which prides itself as a diverse and welcoming country for immigrants and refugees, has witnessed a 72 percent jump in its hate crime rate between 2019 and 2021, said Statistics Canada.
This increase was partly due to the pandemic, which exposed and exacerbated safety and discrimination issues. Chinese Canadians reported increased discrimination. Wuhan, China was the epicentre of the virus. The World Health Organization said in June that its latest investigation into the origins of COVID-19 was inconclusive, largely because data from China is missing.
In 2021, hate-motivated crimes targeting religion jumped 67 percent, those targeting sexual orientation climbed 64 percent and those targeting race or ethnicity rose 6 percent.
That has prompted minority groups to urge the government to pass an anti-racism law.
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“We simply cannot afford further delay in actions to stop anti-Asian hate and racism,” Amy Go, the president of the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice, told the Reuters news agency.
The council has asked the federal government to pass an Anti-Racism Act to collect specific information about the culprits, where the crime takes place and the circumstances under which it occurs to hold those responsible accountable.
Go said the government is reviewing the request. The Canadian government did not immediately respond to a request by Reuters for comment.
Migration is a crucial growth engine for the Canadian economy, with immigrant workers accounting for 84 percent of total labour force growth in the 2010s, according to Statistics Canada.
Canada welcomed a record 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021, and Ottawa has set an ambitious target …

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