According to the Department of Justice, Canada, the federal government is in the process of proposing a federal hate crimes definition, using the model set by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Federal laws currently exist that place acts against religion (eg. harassment, genocide) under the criminal code.
In addition, protection from discrimination on the grounds of religion is specifically covered under the Canadian Human Rights Act
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) do not use the category “hate crime” in any formal way, although clearly such crimes are within the scope of the National Security Investigation Sections of the RCMP. Some Provincial and Municipal police forces provide a clear definition in response to the Department of Justice Canada request.
Toronto and Montreal Municipal Police
Toronto and Montreal Municipal Police for example use the following definition:
A hate crime is a criminal offence committed against a person or property that is based solely upon the victim’s race, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender or disability.
The Ontario Provincial Police
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) define a hate crime as a criminal act against a person(s) or property that is based solely, or in part, upon the victim’s race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability.
Source: Nizkor Project
The British Columbia Ministry of the Attorney General
The British Columbia Ministry of the Attorney General has the following to say about these crimes:
“Hate crimes are offences that strike at the very cohesiveness of society. While all crimes are abhorrent, a hate crime is specifically committed to harm and terrify not only a particular victim, but the entire group of which the victim is a member. A unique characteristic of hate crimes is that often individuals and groups are targeted solely on the basis of who they are, not because of anything they have done. Implementing normal crime prevention measures is often not an effective tool, because victims of hate crime cannot prevent or change who they are.”