Canadian Criminal Code Book

There is no such thing as a Hate Crime in the Criminal Code of Canada. There are only three offences in the Code that specifically pertain to hate, they fall under the Hate-Propaganda section and they are as follows:

  1. Section 318 - Advocating Genocide.
  2. Section 319 (1) - Public Incitement of Hatred.
  3. Section 319 (2) - Wilful Promotion of Hatred.

Besides these offences, there are many other offences the public often refer to as Hate Crimes, however police refer to these as Hate-Motivated or Bias-Motivated Crime.

Investigations involving these crimes are complex and it's important the public understands this difficult and sometimes confusing topic.

Hate-Motivated or Bias-Motivated Crime:

In order for police to lay a Hate-Motivated or Bias-Motivated criminal charge, there are two things that must first occur:

  1. A criminal offence must have occurred (e.g. an assault, damage to property, uttering threats etc.).
  2. Hate or Bias toward a victim must have motivated the criminal offence (e.g. because of the victim's race, nationality, ethnic original, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation etc.).

Consultation With Crown Attorney and Consent From The Attorney General

Police must balance Constitutional Rights with the Criminal Code of Canada which makes investigations very complicated.

Before laying some Hate-Motivated or Bias-Motivated criminal charges under the Criminal Code of Canada, police are required to conduct an investigation and then turn the file over to the local Crown Attorney's Office and get consent from the Attorney General's Office.

The following is a list of Criminal Code Charges that require consent before charges are laid:

  • Section 318 - Advocating Genocide.
  • Section 319 (2) - Wilful Promotion of Hatred.

Crime Reporting

Officer taking a report

Call 9-1-1 if you are in immediate danger.

If you are not in immediate danger report all crime to Police Communications.

For general information about Hate-Motivated or Bias-Motivated Crime call our Hotline. 

What is the difference between Hate-Motivated crime and other crime?

PenaltiesIf convicted of a criminal offence and it is proven to be motivated by hate or bias, higher penalties may be imposed by the judge during sentencing.

Freedom of Speech

In Canada, freedom of speech is protected as a fundamental freedom as guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Those who wish to peacefully protest or convey a point of view have the right to do so, even if their viewpoints are considered offensive to some and/or are different from the others.

The below definition is extracted from the Constitution of Canada under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms:

Fundamental Freedoms: Section 2 states:

Everyone has the following Fundamental Freedoms:
(a)   Freedom of conscience and religion.
(b)   Freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.
(c)   Freedom of Peaceful Assembly.
(d)   Freedom of Association.

Investigating Hate-Motivated or Bias-Motivated Crime

3 Officers looking computer

We want to assure the public that we take all reported crime very seriously and utilize the appropriate resources to ensure a thorough investigation is conducted. 

All of our officers are trained to deal with Hate-Motivated or Bias-Motivated criminal offences.  In addition to our front-line officers and investigators, each police division has a Hate-Motivated Crime Co-ordinator who monitors and assists with investigations. 

A Regional Hate-Motivated Crime Co-ordinator works in our Equity and Inclusion Bureau who tracks all Hate-Motivated and Bias-Motivated incidents and criminal offences. This officer is a resource and provides supports to investigators while analyzing trends and developing pro-active strategies aimed at reducing Hate-Motivated and Bias-Motivated Crime.

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