According to the Canadian Criminal Code, a hate crime is defined as a crime motivated by hate based on race, ethnic origin, language, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, etc. A hate incident however is a non-criminal action committed against a person or property, the motive for which is based in whole or in part upon the same characteristics mentioned above. Because hate incidents are non-criminal in nature, police are limited in their ability to be involved. However, the harm caused by such incidents is both palpable and clearly pervasive.
Our national race-based hate data, provided by Statistics Canada, merely consists of police reported crimes. Even though most racialized and Indigenous peoples experiences are actually of hate incidents, not crimes. According to our five years study, only 4% of reports were actually deemed a crime, the rest were all incidents. The incidents are what happens day to day and what most people refer to when they say systemic racism.
We cannot reform our systems or mitigate racism without collecting data on hate incidents in order to better understand the issues.
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