by: dan kellar
Waterloo – As hate crimes and incidents of discriminatory hate have surged in Canada over the past several years, Waterloo Region has not been immune to the ugly trend, seeing the highest ever level of incidents in 2021 and then 2022. As part of a response to these increases, the City of Waterloo has developed a new guide to “support residents in navigating and reporting local incidents of hate and discrimination.” The new resource “offers clear instructions on where to file a report and outlines what to expect throughout the process.”
In this show, we speak with Julie Legg, the Supervisor of Neighbourhood Services for the City of Waterloo, and Paulina Rodriguez, the Anti-Racism and Social Justice Advocate, also for the City of Waterloo. The interview explores the development of the hate incident reporting guide, the importance of reporting hate incidents, and how this guide helps further the City of Waterloo’s inclusion and diversity initiatives, and create a city where as Julie Legg says “Hate isn’t welcome”.
This new guide from the City of Waterloo was a collaboration which included community partners Community Justice Initiatives, and Coalition of Muslim Women of Kitchener Waterloo, as well as the regional police services.
In 2022, according to Statistic Canada, police-reported hate crime incidents in Waterloo Region doubled to 144 events This represents 22.7 incidents per 100,000 of population compared to 6.7 per 100,000 in 2017 or 2.5 per 100,000 in 2018. In Canada, hate crimes rose 38% in 2021 from 2020, reaching 3358 incidents, and in 2022 surged even higher, with 3,576 hate crime incidents being reported. That is on average 9.2 hate crime incidents per year per 100,000 of population.
As the Coalition of Muslim Women of Kitchener-Waterloo reported in their 2022 Snap Shot of Hate in Waterloo Region, only 10 of 97 incidents that were reported to them were ever reported to the police, suggesting that the police-reported numbers of hate incidents and hate crimes may be significantly lower than the actual number of these incidents that take place in the region.
The new guide from the city, includes details on alternatives to reporting hate motivated incidents to the police, such as the reportinghate.ca website run by the Coalition of Muslim women of Kitchener-Waterloo. According to Paulina Rodriguez from the City of Waterloo, these reporting alternatives are highlighted in an effort to support community members, and “meet people where they are at, where they feel most comfortable”.