The Ontario government is investing $25.5 million over two years to help address the rise of hate incidents against religious and minority groups.
The new Anti-Hate Security and Prevention Grant is set to help faith-based and cultural organizations enhance or implement measures to ensure community spaces remain safe and secure.
“No Ontarian should live in fear that they will be targeted because of their background, who they love, or how they worship,” said Michael Ford, minister of citizenship and multiculturalism. “Building on our other investments to combat hate, the new Anti-Hate Security and Prevention Grant will help build stronger, safer and more inclusive communities and ensure everyone has a safe environment to practice their faith and express their culture and beliefs.”
The grant will provide up to $10,000 to help religious groups, Indigenous communities and cultural communities better protect and secure their facilities from hate-motivated incidents, graffiti, vandalism or other damage. Grant funding can be used for things such as building upgrades, enhancing locks, installing cameras, training staff, completing security assessments, introducing safer cybersecurity measures, hiring short-term professional security personnel and making repairs.
“Everyone in Ontario deserves to be safe in their communities,” said Solicitor General Michael Kerzner. “We have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to hate and these grants will help provide safe and secure areas so that people can worship in peace. We will continue to protect the people of this province.”
Indigenous, Black, Muslim, Jewish and 2SLGBTQQIA+ communities have been among the most targeted groups of hate crimes in recent years. There were more than 1,500 police-reported hate crimes in Ontario in 2021, according to a May 5 press release.
“The National Council of Canadian Muslims welcomes improvements to the Government of Ontario’s new Anti-Hate Security and Prevention Grant,” said CEO of National Council of Canadian Muslims Stephan Brown. “The changes to this grant provide dedicated funding that will provide more resources for Muslim Ontarians and other faith-based and cultural organizations across our province to take more effective measures to ensure our community spaces are safe and secure for everyone.”
Since 2021, the government has allocated $40 million through the Ontario Grant to Support Anti-Hate Security Measures for Faith-Based and Cultural Organizations. The redesigned Anti-Hate Security and Prevention Grant will now cover the cost of additional prevention and capacity building measures, and allows for more organizations to apply.
Eligible organizations include, religious and spiritual communities, First Nations, Inuit, Métis, and urban Indigenous organizations, and cultural groups such as 2SLGBTQQIA+ groups, Black, Asian and other diverse organizations. Applications for the Anti-Hate Security and Prevention Grant will open in summer 2023.