Toronto Police Service and the Regional Municipality of York Police Services Board this week released their annual hate crime reports which found that in 2020, reported hate crimes in Toronto increased by more than 50%, while reported hate crimes in York Region increased by 20%.

In Toronto, the Jewish community, constituting a tiny fraction of the city's population, remained the most frequently-targeted group for hate crime, followed by the Black and LGBTQ communities.

Reported hate crimes against Jewish Torontonians increased by more than 40% compared to 2019. More than one in third of all hate crimes in Toronto were antisemitic in nature.

In York Region, the Jewish community was the victim of 79% of reported hate crimes motivated by religion, and more than 18% of hate crimes overall. Hate crimes targeting the Jewish community in York Region decreased 25% from 2019.

Noah Shack, Vice President, Greater Toronto Area of the the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), said in response, “The most recent hate crime data should raise alarm bells for Canadian leaders at all levels of government. The deleterious impact of hate crimes extends far beyond the immediate targets and their communities. These heinous crimes tear at the very fabric of Canadian society, and we must be steadfast and preventing and opposing them.”

"In addition to the unique challenges of a global pandemic, the Jewish community faced a disproportionate wave of hate crime in 2020. More than ever, we are witnessing the insidious spread of online hate. Too often, what starts with online radicalization can turn into real-world violence. These reports highlight the need for urgent action against online hate and radicalization," added Shack.

Anti-Semitic incidents have been on the rise in Canada in recent years. In 2019, the League for Human Rights, part of B’nai Brith Canada, recorded 2,207 anti-Semitic incidents.

In late March, Statistics Canada released its annual survey of police-reported hate crimes which found that Jews have remained by far the most targeted religious group for hate crimes in Canada.

The Statistics Canada report found that there were 1,946 police-reported hate crimes in Canada in 2019, up 7 percent from a year earlier.

Toronto has seen a spate of anti-Semitic graffiti and vandalism in recent weeks, including two brazen incidents of vandalism in the North York district of the city over the Passover holiday.

This week, anti-Semitic graffiti reading “Boycott Israel’s zionazi apartheid” was discovered in Toronto’s Kensington Market neighborhood.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)