Statistics Canada says hate crimes in Canada rose by five per cent in 2015, with the rise is largely due to an increase in incidents targeting the Muslim population and Arabs or West Asians.
Police reported 1,362 criminal incidents across Canada motivated by hate, a 5% increase from the previous year. That year, there were 62 such incidents reported in the region.
Of them, 48 per cent were motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity, 35 per cent were motivated by hatred of a religion, and 11 per cent were hate crimes targeting sexual orientation.
The increase was most pronounced in Alberta, which the agency notes reported an overall increase in their 2015 crime statistics.
Shimon Koffler Fogel, with the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, called the data "disturbing and clear".
The agency did note, however, that in 2015, police services increased outreach to ethnic groups and, in addition, the National Council of Canadian Muslims made efforts to encourage reporting of hate crimes to police.
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Although Jewish Canadians still experience the highest incidence of religion-related hate crimes, the number declined to 178 in 2015 from 213 the previous year, whereas crimes again Muslim Canadians increased.
Waterloo Region led Canada in reported hate crimes per capita in 2011.
Nearly 40% of all reported hate crimes were considered violent incidents, which could include assault and uttering threats.
Statistics Canada noted that the numbers presented Tuesday likely undercount "the true extent of hate crime in Canada, as not all crimes are reported to police".
The report suggests that the high hate crime rate in Thunder Bay was influenced by the introduction of a hate crime awareness campaign in 2012.
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