Hate Motivated Incidents

The nature of hate-motivated incidents is continually evolving and the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) has taken steps to constantly improve our response to these incidents.

The OPS has zero tolerance for any incident of hate or bias, and we encourage residents to contact us so that we can assign officers to investigate.

You can report hate-motivated incidents using our online service at ottawapolice.ca/onlinereporting;
or you can call (613) 236-1222. Press 1 for English, then 2 to connect with our Communications Centre.

The OPS has a three-pronged approach to hate crimes: investigative, community outreach, and intelligence gathering. This approach leverages the expertise of many sections of the OPS, not just a single unit, to ensure the proper response is given to any reported incident.

This includes:

  • Investigative: The expertise of investigating hate-motivated incidents rests with criminal investigators within the General Assignment Units in our East, Central and West locations. These trained and professional investigators will fully review crimes flagged as hate-motivated and ensure those indicators are included in evidence for court process.
  • Community Outreach: While an investigation is underway a community outreach effort is also made. This can include assistance to victims, a response by Community Police Officers, Diversity Race Relations/Community Development personnel, and often senior leadership. Support in terms of security planning, information about the investigation, and emotional support are also often offered. At all times, various units and personnel are working with the community to encourage reporting and explaining the process to community groups. 
  • Intelligence: Our Security Intelligence Section has the responsibility for monitoring trends and issues that can lead to local incidents of hate and extremism in Ottawa. The section has individual officers who specialize in hate issues. This group works with our law enforcement and security partners on a provincial, national and international level, to identify troubling trends and ensure our frontline and investigative units have the information they need on issues of hate and extremism. They are also instrumental in providing investigative support to our General Assignment Units for all reported cases.

We are constantly looking for ways to improve our response to hate-motivated incidents and to ensure community awareness. That includes raising awareness of our approach to hate crime investigations both externally and internally.

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.

We want you to know that the OPS has zero tolerance for hate-motivated incidents, and will fully investigate any report that is filed. We appreciate your cooperation in helping to eliminate these types of incidents from our communities.

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?

Graffiti can be considered a hate crime if it:

  • Targets any identifiable community group or organization;
  • Is found in or near a religious institution or an affiliated community recreation area; or
  • Is found on commercial property that is affiliated with a community group; or
  • Is found 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.

If you witness any hate-motivated graffiti, we have recently amended our policy that anyone can report it online at ottawapolice.ca/onlinereporting. An officer will be assigned to investigate.

Why should I bother to report a hate motivated incident?

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-motivated incidents 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  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

Department of Justice

Related Info:

Find out about the Graffiti Management Project.



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