Hate Crimes Unit

Hate Crimes Logo

The nature of Hate Crime is continually evolving and the SPS has taken steps to improve its response to these types of situations.

The Hate Crimes Unit was created in January 2022. The Unit is part of the Interpersonal Conflict Division.

The Hate Crimes Unit currently consists of one dedicated sergeant who is responsible for a number of portfolios including:

  • Reviewing and investigating complaints that have been reported as being motivated by hate, bias or prejudice. This includes assisting other units in their investigations by providing specific hate/bias based knowledge if deemed necessary.
  • Collecting and collating data regarding hate/bias incidents and occurrences in order to be able to develop proactive strategies aimed at reducing hate/bias motivated crime.
  • Providing certain data that has been collected and collated to intelligence units in order to monitor and target persons or groups involved with extremist ideologies and or hatred that may lead to criminality.
  • Internal and external consultation on issues involving situations that are aggravated by hate bias or prejudice.
  • Education and relationship building both within the Service and in the community in order to help build trust between marginalized and diverse persons within the community and the police service.

The SPS has a multi-layered approach to Hate Crime investigations including: investigative, community outreach, intelligence gathering and analysis, education. This approach utilizes the expertise of many sections within the SPS to ensure that a proper response is given to any reported incident.

What are Hate Crimes?

The SPS is constantly looking for ways to improve our response to Hate Crimes in order to ensure community trust and security. This includes raising awareness of our approach to these types of occurrences both internally and externally.

Hate Crime is not defined in the Criminal Code of Canada however, there are a variety of offences that fall under the term Hate Crime.

Hate Propaganda and other specified offences, Hate/Bias Motivated Crimes, and Hate/Bias Motivated Incidents are motivated solely or in part because of the suspect's hate, bias, or prejudice against another person based on the victim's colour, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression or mental or physical disability. While there is no legal definition of a Hate Crime in the Criminal Code of Canada (CCC), here are some of the provisions:

Hate Propaganda

The Hate Propaganda section includes:

  1. Section 318 – Advocate Genocide
  2. Section 319(1) – Public Incitement of Hatred
  3. Section 319(2) – Wilful Promotion of Hatred

*Charges under Section 318 & 319(2) require approval by the Attorney General*

There is another specified section in the CCC that is well defined and has its own charge section:

Section 430(4.1) – Mischief to Religious (or Cultural) Institutions

Hate/Bias Motivated Crimes

Investigations involving these types of occurrences are complex and it’s important that the public understands this difficult topic.

Any Criminal Code offence committed against a person or property that is perceived to be motivated and/or is motivated, in whole or in part by the suspect’s hate, bias or prejudice based on the victim’s colour, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression or mental or physical disability.

If a person is convicted of any crime under the Criminal Code of Canada and hate, bias or prejudice has been proven to be an aggravating factor a provision has been made under Section 718.2 regarding sentencing.

Hate/Bias Motivated Incidents

A hate/bias motivated incident may be motivated by the same factors as a hate crime but does not reach the threshold of a criminal offence. These incidents may include racial insults, blasphemy, or malicious complaints.

These incidents are important to the police and need to be reported.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my incident is not criminal?

Incidents such as workplace or school harassment, refusal of service by certain companies or landlords because of who you are should not be dismissed. You may have recourse. Human rights commissions and internal policies in institutions are often overlooked and can help you resolve issues before they become criminal in nature. (See listed links below for more information)

What about graffiti?

Graffiti can be considered a hate crime if it:

Targets any identifiable community group or organization and is;

  • found in or near a religious institution or an affiliated community recreation area; or
  • found on commercial property that is affiliated with a community group; or
  • found on personal property.

All other forms of graffiti can be reported to the City of Saskatoon Graffiti Reduction Program.

Why Should I report a Hate Crime?

Victims are often reluctant to report because of:

  • Fear that it will cause a repeated attack, retaliation or re-victimization;
  • Mistrust of police and the judicial system;
  • Fear of having to reveal private information and the possibility of it being compromised;
  • Cultural and language barriers;
  • Fear of immigration services.

It is important that all Hate Crimes are reported so police can gather evidence, investigate and develop proactive strategies aimed at reducing hate/bias motivated crime, and to stop the cycle of hatred by preventing others from being victimized. It is also important for police to be aware of these types of crimes or incidents so that appropriate actions can be taken such as putting resources in place to make our communities safer.

What happens when I report a Hate Crime?

We take all hate/bias motivated incidents very seriously. All reports are investigated thoroughly and reviewed by the Saskatoon Police Service Hate Crime Unit.

  • If you do not want the incident investigated further, the information provided will be recorded for statistical purposes.
  • If you indicated that you would like an investigator to follow up, you will receive further contact by either email or telephone.

Visit the SPS Hate Crimes Reporting Page for more information

*Please note that some offences may have to be reported in person*

Anti-Hate Referrals and Information

For more information contact the Hate Crimes Unit directly by calling 306-975-8376 or emailing hatecrimeunit@police.saskatoon.sk.ca. Please note that these options are not monitored 24/7.