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In Canada, crimes committed against individuals or groups because of hatred of their race, ethnicity, language, skin colour, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation or disability are not tolerated under the law. Nevertheless, 928 hate-motivated crimes were reported in a pilot survey of 12 major police forces from 2001 to 2002.
The most common reason presented in these hate-motivated crime cases was race or ethnic origin, with religion and sexual orientation ranking second and third. Blacks and South Asians were the principal victims of hate crimes based on race or ethnic origin. A majority of the religion-related hate crimes were anti-Jewish, followed by crimes targeting Muslims.
Among the leading hate crimes were mischief or vandalism, assault, threats and hate propaganda. These offences varied with the reasons for hatred. For example, crimes motivated by race, ethnic origin or sexual orientation were mostly offences against people, while most religious crimes were acts of vandalism, arson, other property offences or hate propaganda.
Victims were identified in more than 80% of these police-reported incidents. In cases where the relationship of the accused was identified, about 83% of victims did not know the perpetrator. An additional 15% of victims said that the accused was a casual acquaintance or had a business relationship with them.
According to the pilot survey data, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States had a significant, though short-term, impact on the number of hate-motivated crimes reported to police. Some 15% of the cases recorded by police services after the attacks were hate-related, and three-quarters of them occurred in the two months following the attacks.