Hate Crime

A hate crime is a criminal offence committed against a person or property which is motivated by hate/bias or prejudice based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or any other similar factor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we have hate crime laws?

"The impact of such crimes is far reaching, extending beyond the physical and emotional trauma to the victim, to encompass other members of the groups and broader community. Such crimes can heighten the isolation and vulnerability of the victim's group and cause stress for all members of the community. If unchecked, these crimes can result in an escalation in social tensions between different groups that can destroy communities, thereby furthering the aims and objectives of those in our society who promote hatred and intolerance."

- Policing Standards of Ontario

What if my incident is not criminal?

Incidents such as workplace or school harassment, refusal of service by certain companies or landlords because of who you are should not be dismissed. You may have recourse. Human rights commissions and internal policies in institutions are often overlooked and can help you resolve issues before they become criminal in nature.

What about graffiti?

Motivated graffiti can be considered a hate crime if it is:

  • found in or near a religious insitution or an affiliated community recreation area; or
  • on commercial property that is affiliated with a community group; or
  • on personal property.

Find out about our Graffiti Management Project.

If the graffiti you are inquiring about does not meet the above-mentioned criteria, you may contact the  Graffiti Management Program with the City of Ottawa to have it reported or removed.

If the graffiti is found on a Bell pay phone, (this is not City property), you may call 1-800-268-5933 to report it. Bell will require the 10-digit phone number associated with that pay phone, which is marked on each individual pay phone.

To report hate crime graffiti as it pertains to the above-mentioned criteria, you may contact the Ottawa Police Call Centre at 613-236-1222 ext 7300.

Why should I bother to report a hate crime?

Victims are often reluctant to report because of:

  • fear of re-victimization or retaliation;
  • fear of having privacy compromised;
  • fear of law enforcement and its response;
  • cultural and language barriers; or
  • fear of immigration services.

Reporting hate crimes is an important step in stopping the cycle of hatred and preventing others from being victimized. It is also important for police to be aware of hate crimes so that analysis can be done to ensure appropriate actions are taken, including putting into place the resources to make our community safer.

What happens when I talk to the police?

The call taker will ask you for basic information about yourself, such as your name, address, date of birth and best way to contact you. A report will be completed and forwarded to a police officer to follow up. If suspects can be identified, a resolution will be sought. This can vary from criminal charges to mediation depending on the offence and persons involved.

Police officers and civilian call takers are professionals. Your complaint will be taken seriously. Officers and civilians receive training on victim issues and in identifying hate crimes so they can help you.

Can my report be kept secret?

Information collected by the police is protected under freedom of information laws - your report is confidential. If charges are laid, some information becomes public. However, the investigator can discuss your concerns and explore options pertaining to resolution while balancing your needs for confidentiality.

Where can I get more information?

Ottawa Police Resources

Diversity and Race Relations Section  613-236-1222, ext. 5014

Victim Crisis Unit 613-236-1222, ext. 5822 (TTY 613-760-8009)

Provincial Resources

Provincial Victim Support Line  1-888-579-2888

Ontario Human Rights Commission  1-800-387-9080

Ontario Rental Housing Tenant Protection Act  1-888-332-3234

Federal Resources

Canadian Human Rights Commission  613-995-1151

Related Info:

Find out about the Graffiti Management Project.




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