In 2021, Canada saw a concerning 260% increase in hate crimes against Catholics, making them the most targeted religious group in the country.

The report, published by Statistics Canada (StatCan), showed a total of 3,360 hate crimes reported to the police in 2021, a 27% increase from 2020.

The largest rate of reported hate crimes involved race or ethnicity (+6%; 1,723 incidents), followed by sexual orientation (+64%; 423 incidents) and religious affiliation (+67%; 884 incidents).

Religious hate crimes jumped from 530 in 2020 to 884 in 2021. The Catholic community experienced a disproportionate 260% surge in reported incidents, while Jewish individuals reported a 47% increase and Muslims a 71% increase.

The study highlighted the highest number of hate crimes targeting a religion since comparable data was recorded and noted a consistent annual rise in hate crime rates since the pandemic began.

Religiously-motivated hate crimes primarily targeted men and boys, while women and girls were the focus of nearly three-quarters of hate crimes driven by sexual orientation or gender. Ethnic minority Canadians were over twice as likely to experience discrimination since the pandemic began.

StatCan’s data only includes crimes reported to the police, excluding unreported incidents.

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