City of Waterloo develops a new hate incident reporting guide

Julie Legg, and Paulina Rodriguez, both with the City of Waterloo spoke about the new guide that the city developed with community partners for reporting and responding to hate motivated incidents in the region. Image: City of Waterloo
Dan Kellar - CKMS - KitchenerON | 10-11-2023
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print

Waterloo region has not been immune to the surge of hate crimes and incidents of discriminatory hate that have occurred in Canada over the past several years. The Region has seen the highest ever level of incidents in 2021 and then 2022. 

As part of a response to these increases, the City of  Waterloo has developed a new guide to "support residents in navigating and reporting local incidents of hate and discrimination."  The goal of the new resource is to offer instructions about how to file a report and the process once a report has been filed.  

CKMS spoke with Julie Legg, the Supervisor of Neighbourhood Services for the City of Waterloo; and Paulina Rodriguez, the Anti-Racism and Social Justice Advocate, also for the City of Waterloo.  The interview explores the development of the hate incident reporting guide and the importance of reporting hate incidents, exploring how this guide helps further the City of Waterloo's inclusion and diversity initiatives, creating a city where, as Julie Legg says, "Hate isn't welcome".  

This new guide from the City of Waterloo was a collaboration which included community partners Community Justice Initiatives, and Coalition of Muslim Women of Kitchener Waterloo, as well as the regional police services.

In 2022, according to Statistic Canada, police-reported hate crime incidents in Waterloo Region doubled to 144 events  This represents  22.7 incidents per 100,000 of population compared to 6.7 per 100,000 in 2017 and 2.5 per 100,000 in 2018.

In Canada overall, hate crimes rose 38% in 2021 from 2020, reaching 3358 incidents, and in 2022 surged even higher, with 3,576 hate crime incidents being reported.  That is on average 9.2 hate crime incidents per year per 100,000 of the population.

As the Coalition of Muslim Women of Kitchener-Waterloo reported in its 2022 Snap Shot of Hate in Waterloo Region, only 10 of 97 incidents that were reported to them were ever reported to the police, suggesting that the police-reported numbers of hate incidents and hate crimes may be significantly lower than the actual number of these incidents that take place in the region.  

The new guide from the city includes details on alternatives to reporting hate motivated incidents to the police, such as the website run by the Coalition of Muslim women of Kitchener-Waterloo.  According to Paulina Rodriguez from the City of Waterloo, these reporting alternatives are highlighted in an effort to support community members, and "meet people where they are at, where they feel most comfortable".