Hate crimes directed towards Catholics showed the highest increase of any race, ethnicity, religious group, or sexual orientation.
The group of Canadians that saw the largest increase in hate crimes between 2020 and 2021 was found by Statistics Canada to be Catholics. In their August report, which was largely ignored by mainstream outlets, the statistics showed that while Catholics did not experience the most instances of hate crimes, crimes linked to anti-Catholic prejudice were shown to have increased the most.
Statistics Canada drew their figures from incidents that were documented by the police. According to the data, there were 155 crimes motivated by anti-Catholic prejudice in 2021, up from just 43 in the previous year. This 260% increase represents the largest increase in crimes perpetrated against any group, regardless of ethnicity, race, religion, and sexual orientation.
Still, the Jewish communities bear the brunt of hate crimes in Canada, with 487 recorded incidents. Hate crimes against Jewish people also saw an increase of 47% between 2020 and 2021. While this figure is troubling in its own right, the statistics suggest that anti-Catholic motivated crimes may surpass the quantity of anti-Jewish crimes in just a few years, if the numbers remain the same.
Overall, hate-based crimes in Canada were up nearly across the board in 2021. Only three racial groups – “White” people, “Black” people, and Indigenous groups – saw decreases in the amounts of crimes perpetrated against them. Among ethnic groups, Arabs and West Asians saw the largest increase in hate crimes, at 46%.
While Statistics Canada offers no explanation for their figures, B.C. Catholic speculates that reports of mass graves at residential schools may have fueled the increase of hate crimes targeted at Catholic churches, individuals, and properties. They write:
“… the figures correspond to an explosion of arson, vandalism, and threats directed at Catholic institutions last summer following inflammatory news reports about the existence of possible graves at an abandoned cemetery adjoining the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.”
Furthermore, B.C. Catholic found that mainstream media coverage of the Statistics Canada report has been scant. They noted that even outlets that did cover the numbers presented in the report – including Canadian Press, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the National Post, and the Globe and Mail – made no mention of this alarming surge in hate crimes directed at Catholics.