Waterloo Region is edging back to the level of hate crimes that saw it dubbed Canada’s capital of such incidents earlier this decade.

New data from Statistics Canada shows that 51 hate crimes were reported in the region in 2015 – an 82 per cent increase over 2014, and nearly triple the number seen in 2013.

The 2015 number translates into 9.4 hate crimes per 100,000 residents of Waterloo Region. The region’s per capita number of hate crimes is the second-highest among Canada’s 33 metropolitan areas, behind only Thunder Bay’s 22.3 hate crime reports per 100,000 residents.

Waterloo Region led Canada in reported hate crimes per capita in 2011. That year, there were 62 such incidents reported in the region.

Police leaders have suggested that Waterloo Region’s comparatively high rate might be indicative of hate crime victims feeling more comfortable reporting such incidents here, instead of more hate crimes actually taking place than in other communities.

There were five hate crimes reported in Brantford in 2015, up from three in 2014. Guelph, which also saw three hate crime reports in 2014, fell to zero in 2015.

Statistics Canada defines a hate crime as any criminal activity “motivated by hatred” toward people based on their “race, colour, national or ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, language, sex, age, mental or physical disability, among other factors.”

In total, there were 1,362 hate crimes reported across Canada in 2015, up from 1,295 in 2014.

According to the data, Muslim people, Arabs and West Asians were more likely to be targeted than in the past.


Number of hate crimes reported in Waterloo Region, by year

2011: 62

2012: 30

2013: 14

2014: 28

2015: 51