Ontario, Canada invests $1.7 million in its war against hate crimes

"We must continue to work together to confront these real-life barriers that threaten and limit opportunities for too many Ontarians."

Toronto, Ontario, Canada (photo credit: REUTERS)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Canadian province of Onatrio will be investing $1.7 million over the next two years in community-based programs that aim to combat hate-motivated crimes, according a press release by Canada's Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA.)
The government of Ontario made the announcement on Wednesday, while noting that the grant will be available to non-profit organizations. Relevant applicants will be asked to partner with their local police station, and will be encouraged to partner with another organization as well, for the benefit of ensuring a broad range of community engagement.
"Our government has zero tolerance for hate, racism and discrimination in all forms. We must continue to work together to confront these real-life barriers that threaten and limit opportunities for too many Ontarians," said Sylvia Jones, solicitor general and the minister responsible for anti-racism in the Ontario government.
"Effective solutions cannot come from government alone and the Safer and Vital Communities Grant will allow community-based organizations to be full partners in the fight against hate in Ontario," Jones added.
With more than 40% of all hate crimes in Canada taking place in the Ontario province, the extra budget is a much awaited relief to residents of Ontario, which is home to some of the metropolitan areas with the highest crime rates in the country.
The Safer and Vital Communities Grant, through which the extra funding will flow to the relevant organizations, is a yearly grant that focuses on the collaboration between local police services and members of the community. It offers a unique approach to community safety and well-being by giving the communities more direct responsibilities and creating joint operations that bring together sectors that wouldn't otherwise meet. The theme of this year's grant program is Preventing Hate-Motivated Crime through Community Collaboration.
Organizations applying for this year's grant can include recreational programs that positively affect the development of children and youth, raising awareness of hate-motivated crimes, as well as the improvement of security infrastructure. The chosen applicants and projects will be announced in the winter of 2021.
Canada's Jewish population took notice of the announcement. While forming only 1% of Canada's population, the Jewish community in Canada is the target of nearly 20% of all hate crimes in the country, according to the CIJA.
Chair of CIJA Toronto, Barbara Bank, welcomed the government's announcement of the added budget. “The Jewish community and other vulnerable groups collectively spend millions of dollars annually protecting children and families from hate-motivated crime. CIJA welcomes this investment, which will make a meaningful difference in the lives of all Ontarians who visit their local houses of worship or community centers," Bank said in a statement.