Province addresses mounting hate crimes with education and assistance

The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) and Statistics Canada co-developed a series of landmark workshops on hate to address hate crimes across the country, starting in British Columbia.

“In British Columbia alone, hate crime rose 62% from 2019 to 2022. Communities disproportionately impacted by hate have flagged rising rates as cause for serious concern,” the CRRF says in a statement regarding the workshops.

The organisation says the two-day Building Bridges workshops aim to educate communities on how hate is understood and addressed through the criminal justice system, provide support for victims through community support or going to the police, as well as increase awareness and education of hate crimes to police forces across Canada.

A representative from the CRRF says the workshops will be the first two events in a larger cross-Canada initiative, offering a total of 24 workshops across 12 cities in Canada.

The workshop also aims to provide a foundation for attendees on understanding the existing legal framework on hate crimes.

“The event is intended for community members and practitioners (e.g., mental health, settlement) who work with communities experiencing hate,” says the CRFF statement.

Meanwhile, Statistics Canada will be in charge of providing a technical briefing to community members and civil sector practitioners on hate crime data trends by pinpointing said data trends and identifying hate crime and non-criminal hate incidents online and in real life.

The workshops come in the midst of other action being taken within the province addressing the rise of hate crimes happening in British Columbia.

The CRRF and Statistics Canada have co-developed and are presenting workshops aimed to address hate both in B.C. and throughout Canada.

In November of last year, Premier David Eby announced a new fund and a helpline for groups that have been targeted. These targeted incidents include an increased number of antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents, a spike in anti-Asian racism, and the mounting acts against the LGBTQ2S+ community in the province and throughout Canada.

The B.C. Prosecution Service has also recently updated its hate crime policy in February to include more prohibited acts, such as promoting genocide, public incitement of hatred, the promotion of conversion therapy, and wilful promotion of antisemitism, as hate crimes.

Commenting on the CRRF workshops series, Executive Director of Ending Violence Association of BC (EVA BC) Ninu Kang said that the effort of programs like this can begin to create meaningful changes, particularly for those who have intersecting identities that are targeted.

“We commend the Canadian Race Relations Foundation for their work in building stronger bridges to support individuals and organizations and healing through education. We believe that more emphasis and funding should be placed on efforts to continue building safer communities,” says Kang. “We recognize that some systems have not been a safe space for many and the efforts of programming like the CRRF’s can begin to create changes in the way that individuals are supported and cared for.”

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