Reading Hate
Hate Crime Research and Scholarship in Canada

Canadian Hate Crime Literature

Canadian Hate Crime Literature

Conference Proceedings

Alphabetically by author's lastname



B’Nai Brith. (1997). International symposium on hate on the internet: Executive summary and recommendations. In B’Nai Brith’s 1997 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents. Canada: B’Nai Brith.

This document is a brief summary of the International Symposium on Hate on the Internet hosted by B’Nai Brith and the Institute for International Affairs from September 7 to 9, 1997. It is a compilation of the discussions of one hundred invited government and police officials, academia, human rights, education, and community action groups who came together to debate the best practices to combat hate on the internet. The summary briefly reviews the workshops and working sessions where participants shared their knowledge and experience with hate crime on the internet. The workshops resulted in four categories of recommendations including legal/legislative regulatory measure, voluntary non-regulatory measures, the role of the police, and educational proactive initiatives. The recommendations were forwarded to all levels of government, departments, and jurisdictions in all participating countries including Canada, the United States, England, Germany, Israel, and Australia.

B’Nai Brith. (1999). Second international symposium on hate on the internet: Executive summary and recommendations. In B’Nai Brith’s 1999 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents. Canada: B’Nai Brith.

The executive summary of the 1999 Second International Symposium on Hate on the Internet examines the progress that has been made since the first Symposium in 1997. Furthermore, the Symposium was an opportunity to establish guidelines and priorities for global planning and co-operation in the future. Similar to the first, the second Symposium attracted a wide-range of individuals, organizations, and groups from several countries. The document reviews the proceedings which consisted of lectures, workshops, and discussions whose focus was on promoting effective community, legal, legislative, and industry responses to hate on the internet. The underlying theme of the Symposium was the importance of public education campaigns, specifically in the context of community action and coalition building. As such, a public forum was held at City Hall to engage the community and promote awareness and understanding. Mirroring the first Symposium, the second closed with four categories of recommendations: (1) legal/legislative, (2) technical, (3)educational, and (4) policing.

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Charles C. Smith Consulting. (2006). Hate crimes, the Criminal Code, and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Report on the October 23, 2005 symposium. National Secretariat Against Hate and Racism Canada.

In this report Charles C. Smith Consulting provides a summary of the discussions that took place at a symposium on hate crime. Organized by the National Secretariat Against Hate and Racism Canada (NSAHRC), the purposes of the symposium were to address the current status of hate crimes; assess the effectiveness of legislation meant to deal with hate crimes, and discuss the relationship between the Criminal Code of Canada and its provisions on hate crimes and Section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. To address and analyze these issues, the NSAHRC commissioned papers from three legal scholars, namely Donald Worme, Amina Sherazee, and David Matas, who would also serve as the panelists of the symposium among other lawyers, academics, policy makers, and community activists.  This report outlines the many objectives of the symposium, including the ultimate goal of the NSAHRC to use the discussions of the conference to inform and develop a position paper. Concluding sections of the report detail the key issues that were addressed at the conference by each of the panelists. According to the report, David Matas’ presentation focused on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, its guarantee of equality, and its implications for hate crime; Donald E. Worme provided a critical analysis of public expressions of anti-Semitism; and Amina Sherazee discussed the role of the state in committing hate crimes through, among other things, racial profiling, colonialism, and inconsistent legislation. (The appendices of this report feature the complete presentation of these scholars).  The final section of the report provides a list of recommendations for the NSAHRC, including (but not limited to), providing education on the Criminal Code’s hate crime provisions, ensuring that anti-racist criteria exist to guide those who prosecute hate crimes, and providing legal and community-based services to support victims of hate crimes.

Colter, I. (2005, May 9). Towards a National Justice Initiative Against Racism & Hate. Ottawa: Saint Paul University.

The Honourable Irwin Colter, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, addressed an audience at Saint Paul University in May 2005 to speak about the development of a national justice initiative against racism and hate. The initiative was created under the National Action Plan Against Racism which follows and 13-point anti-racism and anti-hate agenda. Of the 13 points, there are several that are particularly relevant to hate crime in Canada. Colter looks to history, specifically the Holocaust, to describe the disastrous effects of racism that stems from something as simple as the verbal incitement of hate. Colter also touches on the importance of taking action, comparing a silent observer to those who actively persecute others based on their race, gender, ability, sexual orientation, etc. His speech also addresses the need for legal remedies including hate specific offences for vandalization of religious property and the criminalization of hate speech. Colter also suggests that the healing nature of restorative justice would be particularly relevant to hate crimes, where victims, offenders, and their communities could work together to establish a relationship that has been barricaded by hate and misunderstanding. Moreover, his speech touches on the growing world of technology and the threat it poses to acceptance and tolerance. Colter believes that internet hate should be criminalized and that internet service providers should be held responsible for any hate websites hosted under their name. Colter concludes his speech looking into the future, by suggesting the power of a positive role model may be able to curb racism and hate for the coming generations. 

Crichlow, W. (October 17-21, 2005). Is the justice system accessible to victims of hate crimes? Presented at the Metropolis Conference, Toronto, ON.

At the 2005 Metropolis Conference in Toronto, Dr. Wesley Crichlow presents on behalf of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations. Crichlow briefly explains the mission of the organization which conducts research and public education initiatives in order to encourage the full participation of minority groups and aboriginal peoples in Canada. He presents four concerns regarding hate crimes, victims, and the justice system. First, he addresses the need for a national, uniform legislative guideline for hate crime. The absence of this definition often results in reporting issues and provides an incomplete assessment of the extent and scope of hate crime in Canada. Crichlow suggests that the Canadian governments work together to establish a Hate Crime Statistics Act similar to legislation in the United States. The second issue Crichlow touches on is the need for community information and support. He believes that minorities are inadequately informed about what constitutes a hate crime and what protections they are afforded by the Canadian government. Furthermore, Crichlow speaks to the need for training other criminal justice officials besides the police. Because training is usually focused on police officers, Crown attorneys, judges, court counselors, and other victims’ assistance professionals are often neglected. Finally, Crichlow addresses the role of the media. Their coverage places more emphasis on the perpetrators than on the victims. He suggests that it is imperative that the media present a more balanced story when it comes to hate crime in order to educate the public on its effects. 

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Khouri, R. (2002). What does hate look like? Toronto: Canadian Arab Federation.

National President of the Canadian Arab Federation, Raja Khouri, describes what hate looks to the Arab community in a speech delivered during a one-day seminar on hate crime in Toronto. Khouri describes the Arab world as one filled with hate, especially since the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States. Khouri offers statistics and analogies to support this assertion. He insists that the Arab and Muslim communities are faced with hate speech and hate crime frequently and in differing degrees. Institutionalized racism is also addressed in this speech, citing Canada’s government agencies and their contribution to the spread of hate. Several statistics are used to illustrate perceptions and incidents of hate in the community. Khouri does not close his speech with recommendations for the future, but rather with a question to his audience: how can we curb this hate into tolerance and support for the Arab community?

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Matas, D. (2006). Equality and hate crimes: The Jewish community perspective. In Charles C. Smith (Ed.). Hate crimes, the Criminal Code, and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Report on the October 23, 2005 symposium.

This document represents the text version of panelist David Matas’ presentation at the symposium of the National Secretariat Against Hate and Racism Canada (NSAHRC).  In his paper, Matas discusses the impact of hate crime on Jewish communities and the insufficiency of existing legislative provisions on hate crime. In the context of Canada, the subject of hate crime is juxtaposed to human rights legislation, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Of all these, Matas singles out the Charter, particularly its guarantee of equality in Section 15, as an instrument that can counter the limitations of existing anti-hate laws. Building on the assertion that Canada’s anti-hate laws are ineffective, Matas identifies a number of areas of concern with respect to the following: requiring the consent of the Attorney-General for the prosecution of hate crimes; diplomatic and consular immunities from Canadian laws for incitement to hatred; technical interpretations that undermine the purposes of anti-hate legislation; the availability and use of a truth defence against the charge of willful promotion of hatred; the severity of sentences; and the procedural issues for victims’ groups, relating to constitutional challenges, victim impact statements, and appeals to the Attorney-General.  Throughout his paper, references are made to key hate crime cases, involving Ernst Zundel, James Keegstra, and Malcolm Ross, among others.  These cases are drawn upon as examples where Canadian anti-hate laws have been ineffective.

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Sherazee, A. (2006). The challenge of systemic racism in government and hate crimes.  In Charles C. Smith (Ed). Hate crimes, the Criminal Code, and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Report on the October 23, 2005 symposium.

This document represents a text version of panelist Amina Sherazee’s presentation at the symposium of the National Secretariat Against Hate and Racism Canada (NSAHRC). Sherazee lays the foundation for her presentation with two core assumptions: first, that racism is a systemic reality in Canada, and second, that if racism exists, then the guarantee of equality in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms under Section 15 will not be realized.  Given these general assertions, Sherazee focuses her analysis on the disjunction between section 15 of the Charter and its guarantee of equality and hate crime provisions in the Criminal Code. Specifically, it is stated that grounds for hate, such as national origin, sex, age, mental or physical disability are excluded from anti-hate crime legislation, resulting in a narrow interpretation of section 15 as respecting equality without discrimination based on race, ethnic origin, colour, and religion, with the consent of the attorney-general.  Indeed, of foremost concern to Sherazee is that the decision of whether or not to prosecute hate crimes lies at the discretion of the Attorney General.  As she reminds us, if the Canada is plagued by systemic racism, then it is not so far fetched to assume that the Attorney General is also “tainted” by this type of racism. 

Given this critique, Sherazee suggests that hate crime legislation actually perpetuates hate crime that is practiced by privileged social groups, by threatening criminal prosecution against marginalized groups.  Notable examples of the misuse of anti-hate crime legislation include the prohibition against student groups in colleges/universities from disseminating information that is critical of certain political entities.  In this example, Sherazee notes the irony in using anti-hate policy to silence those who are fighting for greater tolerance, justice, and human rights.  Contrastingly, Sherazee suggests that more overt forms of hatred that are not even categorized as hate crime and are instead labeled with euphemistic terms such as “racial profiling”. In reference to these examples, among many others, Sherazee’s recommendation is that the attorney-general’s jurisdiction over the prosecution of hate crimes is removed and that trust be invested in the judiciary to apply the hate crime provisions in accordance with constitutionally entrenched equality rights.

Status of Women Canada & Pearson-Shoyama Institute. (1997). Report of the national
planning meeting on hate crime and bias activity, April 16 & 17, Ottawa: Department of Canadian Heritage. 

The Pearson-Shoyama Institute prepared this repot for the Honourable Hedy Fry (Secretary of State Multiculturalism and Status of Women) as a summary of the proceedings of the National Planning Meeting on Hate Crime and Bias Activity. The meeting addressed hate crime priority issues and the best processes for addressing these issues. The meeting covered three broad subject areas including (1) legislative and policy issues, (2) community development and social justice issues, and (3) technology and international issues. The report lists recommendations under each heading as well as a list of general recommendations. One of the most notable recommendations is a national hate crime strategy which would entail a nation-wide definition of hate crime as well as a uniform method for gathering statistics in order to understand the extent of hate crime and develop strategies to reduce its frequency. 

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Worme, D.E. & Hensel, K. (2006). The face of hatred: Hate crimes and Aboriginal peoples in Canada. In Charles C. Smith (Ed.) Hate crimes, the Criminal Code, and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Report on the October 23, 2005 symposium.

This paper was presented by Donald E. Worme’s at the symposium of the National Secretariat Against Hate and Racism Canada (NSAHRC). In this paper, Worme and Hensel focus on hate crime in the context of the discrimination experienced by Aboriginal communities. They begin with a discussion of key instances of hatred expressed against Aboriginal peoples, including the shooting death of Leo Lachance in 1991, the reaction to the 1999 R. v. Marshall decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, the inflammatory remarks of MP Jim Pankiw, and the Starlight Tours. In highlighting these events, Worme and Hensel express dissent towards the reluctance of actors in the criminal justice system (the Crown, police, and the courts) to characterize the actions of the perpetrators as hate crimes or to acknowledge the hate motivation behind their actions. Following a discussion of these events, the authors provide detailed descriptions of Canadian legislation on hate crime, explaining provisions which relate to advocating genocide, the public incitement of hatred, willful promotion of hate and mischief to religious structures. These explanations are supplemented by a review of jurisprudence on the willful promotion of hatred, with cases such as R. v. Keegstra, R. v. Andrews, and R. v. Safadi. Worme and Hensel conclude the paper with a discussion of the promotion of hatred against Aboriginal people and the relationship between section 15 of the Charter and the hate provisions in the Criminal Code.

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