Hate crimes reported to Ottawa police rise in 2022

Ottawa police headquarters on Elgin Street in April 2021. The force said 174 criminal charges were laid in 2022 against 51 people following 377 hate incident reports. (Olivier Plante/CBC - image credit)
Ottawa police headquarters on Elgin Street in April 2021. The force said 174 criminal charges were laid in 2022 against 51 people following 377 hate incident reports. (Olivier Plante/CBC - image credit)

Ottawa police say investigators received reports of, on average, more than one hate crime per day in 2022, which led to another rise in the annual total.

A news release Thursday said the force's hate and bias crime unit looked at 377 incidents last year that resulted in 174 criminal charges laid against 51 people.

That was an increase from 26 people facing 92 charges in 2021.

The groups most victimized were identical in 2021 and 2022 (using Statistics Canada terms): Jewish, Black, Muslim, LGBTQ, Arab, West Asian, East Asian and South Asian people.

The most serious violations of 2022, according to Ottawa police, were assault, assault with a weapon, mischief to property and threats.

Police still say hate crimes remain "extremely underreported." Last year an officer with the unit told CBC police estimate they only learn about 35 to 40 per cent of hate-motivated incidents that occur.

Stu Mills/CBC
Stu Mills/CBC

"These numbers, while they represent an increase, they don't tell the full story," said Amira Elghawaby, spokesperson for the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. She explained how many people are uncomfortable coming forward and reporting hate crimes to police.

Elghawaby says various communities have shared in the past year that they're worried about the rise in hate.

"Numbers that we're seeing today will give us a hint that things are not getting better," she said.

Annual rise since 2017

After some confusion noted in CBC Ottawa coverage in 2019, Ottawa police "reintroduced" a hate crime section early in 2020.

In that news release it also mentioned changes in 2017 to report hate incidents online to make the reporting process easier.

The number of reported hate crimes to Ottawa police, according to various news releases, has been:

  • 104 in 2018.

  • 110 in 2019.

  • 377 in 2022.

Numbers from previous years can increase slightly if more charges are laid after the year ends.

Nationally, Statistics Canada says the number of police-reported hate crimes generally rose from 2014 to 2020, its most recent year of data.