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Submission to the Engagement Process on a New National Anti-Racism Strategy

Introduction

Racism leads to violence and victimization. Hate crimes based on race or ethnicity remind us of that reality. While hate crimes comprise a very small proportion of all crime reported by police, it is important to remember that:

  • Police data likely underestimate the prevalence of hate crime, as they take into account only the incidents that come to the attention of police.

  • In 2017, the number of police-reported hate crimes was 47% higher than in 2016, the fourth consecutive annual increase.

  • Hate crimes cause significant harms, not only to the direct victims but also to their communities.

On February 27, 2018, through Budget 2018, the Government of Canada announced funding for public engagement on a new national anti-racism strategy. Launched in October 2018, the engagement process is providing Canadians the opportunity to help inform the new anti-racism strategy in three overarching policy areas:

  • employment and income supports;

  • social participation; and

  • justice.

The recommendations submitted by the Office of the Federal Ombudsman of Victims of Crime focus on Justice.

A new national anti-racism strategy should include initiatives to prevent hate crimes towards racialized groups and Indigenous people and to provide culturally-relevant supports for victims. These measures should be developed in collaboration with Indigenous and racialized communities across Canada. Federal leadership in this area could also include things like providing funds to enhance existing victim support services to train and build awareness of the extensive impacts of hate-motivated crime, and capacity to respond. Collectively, my recommendations focus on ensuring that the federal government brings a victim’s lens to the new anti-racism strategy.

Summary of Recommendations

Prevent and address racially-motivated hate crimes, and provide support for individuals and communities impacted by them.

  • Recommendation 1: Provide targeted federal funding for measures aimed at preventing and addressing racially-motivated hate crime, and enhancing victim supports.

  • Recommendation 2: Amend the Criminal Code to better reflect the issues of racism and intolerance underlying hate-motivated crime.

  • Recommendation 3: Promote third party reporting as an alternative for hate crime victims.

  • Recommendation 4: Explore options for ensuring that restorative justice processes are responsive to victims and survivors of race-based hate crime.

Enhance the experiences of Indigenous and racialized victims and survivors in the criminal justice system, more broadly.

  • Recommendation 5: Support opportunities for criminal justice system professionals to engage in cultural humility training.

  • Recommendation 6: Ensure that the national anti-racism strategy commits to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, and the interim and forthcoming final recommendations of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

The Ombudsman’s complete submission is available from the OFOVC on request.