Toronto's Jewish Community Sees Increase in Hate Crimes, Remains Most Victimized Group: 2020 Police Report

April 22, 2021

Media Release

Toronto (April 22, 2021) - Toronto's Jewish community experienced a significant increase in hate-motivated crimes and remained the most victimized group in 2020, as the city saw an unprecedented rise in hate crimes overall.

According to the Toronto Police Service Annual Hate Crime Statistical Report released today, 63 of the 210 hate-motivated crimes reported in 2020 targeted the Jewish community, a 43 per cent increase since 2019.

There were an additional 14 multi-bias hate crimes in which the Jewish community was targeted, as well as two incidents that specifically targeted Israelis.

Overall, there was a 51 per cent increase in hate crimes last year. According to the report, 10 per cent of all reported hate crimes occurred online, increasing from eight incidents in 2019 to 21 in 2020.

"It is extremely concerning to see that not only does the Jewish community remain the most targeted group when it comes to hate crimes in Toronto, but there has also been a dramatic increase in the number of antisemitic crimes," said Michael Levitt, president and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC). "Amid the pandemic, we have witnessed an alarming rise in hate crimes targeting all communities. Especially worrying is the rise of online hate, as individuals have turned to various platforms to organize attacks and spread vile rhetoric, including antisemitism."

"This increase points to the importance of training and providing tools to police, as well as additional efforts by government officials and schools, to combat antisemitism and hate and deter individuals from spreading hate in the city," Levitt added.

FSWC hosted a conference earlier this year, attended by some 1,100 law enforcement personnel, that provided insights and tools to help police better handle hate crime and extremism cases. Every day, FSWC delivers educational workshops to young people and engages with educators, police and government officials on behalf of the Jewish community to ensure measures are taken to counter antisemitism and protect the community against hate crimes.

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