Hate-motivated crimes up 22 per cent annually in Toronto, police say

A logo at the Toronto Police Services headquarters, in Toronto, on Friday, August 9, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Toronto police say there has been a 22 per cent increase in hate crimes in the city.

The force says there were 257 hate-motivated incidents in 2021, up from 210 such incidents the year before.

Police say the pandemic and geopolitical events are believed to be contributing factors in the increase.

The force says religion, ethnic or national origin were the dominant motivating factors in the incidents.

It says east and southeast Asian communities were the most targeted.

Toronto police say they are expanding their hate crime unit.

Police Chief James Ramer says hate crimes are increasing year over year.

"Hate crimes victimize not only the person, but also the communities they identify with and the negative effects can be long-lasting," Ramer said in a written statement.

"We know hate crimes often go unreported and we are committed to working alongside our community partners to break down barriers and develop relationships so that more people will feel comfortable coming forward to report these crimes."

East and southeast Asian communities were the predominant victims of assaults, followed by the Black community while Jewish and Black communities were the predominant groups targeted for mischief incidents, police said.

Black and LGBTQ communities were the dominant group for being threatened, the force said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 2, 2022.