Hate crimes in Canada shot up by 47 per cent in 2017, according to Statistics Canada figures released Thursday.
Police recorded 2,073 hate crimes last year – 664 more than the year prior – largely because of graffiti and vandalism, and incidents targeting Muslim, Jewish, and black people in Ontario and Quebec.
Hate crimes are classified as those motivated by hatred towards an identifiable group, such as those of a particular race, gender identity, sexual orientation or age.
Figures show 2017 is the worst year since the federal government began tracking hate crime-related data in 2009.
Hate crimes have gone up as the country’s population has become more diverse.
In 2016, one-fifth of Canadians were born outside of the country. By 2036, that figure is projected to rise to nearly one-third.
The biggest spikes were in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and B.C.
The groups worst hit were Muslims, with a 207-per-cent increase, black people with an 84-per-cent rise, and Jews at 41-per-cent.
Hate crimes against Muslims peaked in February, the month after a mass shooting at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Québec, in which six worshippers were killed.
Overall, hate crimes against religion rose by more than 80 per cent. Hate crimes against Jews made up 18 per cent of all hate crimes in the country. In B.C., hate crimes against Jewish groups climbed a whopping 337 per cent.
Although violent incidents made up a smaller proportion of hate crimes than in years prior, they still rose by 25 per cent.
Hate crimes targeting sexual orientation tended to be more violent, with more than half of the incidents being physically aggressive, compared to 38 per cent overall.