Incident or Crime?

How do police determine if an incident that is fueled by hate or discrimination is a crime?

In the following chart, we will map out the considerations police have to make when deciding the route to go.

First, an incident happens.
Next, the police need to determine if the incident or event is a specific offence under the Criminal Code of Canada.

If it is not a criminal offence, the event is relegated to an incident motivated by hate or discrimination.

If the event is an offence under the criminal code, then it can be charged and prosecuted as a crime, and during sentencing, consideration of the motivating factors of hate or bias will inform the final verdict and sentencing, and the crime may be labeled as a hate-based offence.

A Hate-Motivated Crime requires two components:

  1. There has to be an actual crime committed against a person or property.
  2. There must be evidence that the crime was motivated in whole or part by the suspect’s hate, bias or prejudice towards an identifiable group based on real or perceived colour, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual identity, gender identity or expression, or mental or physical disability, or any other similar factor.

While the definition of crime might not be applied to your incident, it does not mean that what happened to you was not wrong! Not having your incident considered criminal can be one of the most frustrating parts of the experience. If the incident you experienced does not meet the category of crime, it does not mean that the impacts are not harmful. There are options available to you to support your healing and regain your sense of security, confidence, and personal power.

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