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Ontario earmarks cash to respond to hate crimes

New money will train recruits

POLICE CASH. Liberal MPP Yasir Naqvi says new money will go toward training officers on how to handle gaybashings and hate crimes. Credit: xtra.ca file

Ontario Provincial Police will soon be getting extra college training on the subject of hate crimes.

The province announced a $50,000 program Jul 18 aimed at preparing frontline officers to identify and sensitively handle cases where bigotry was a motivation for violence. That money is destined for the Ontario Police College in Aylmer, near London, Ontario.

Liberal MPP Yasir Naqvi represents Ottawa’s gay village. He says that the curriculum includes issues related to the queer community. Material will include primers on subjects “from gaybashing to anti-Semitism” says Naqvi, and will help “sensitize” new recruits to race- and sexuality-based violence.

“Prevention of hate crimes of any kind are always a priority,” Naqvi says.

The announcement came with another $200,000 for the provincial group that coordinates response to hate crimes. Ottawa is one of a dozen cities earmarked to receive cash, according to a Jul 18 press release.

“The funding will also support intelligence gathering and front-line training of police officers and public education on hate crimes in Ottawa,” it reads.

According to the Ottawa Police Service, Ottawa’s share is about $4,000 in reimbursements. Geoff Simpson is the police’s director of finance.

“The renewal is obviously good news, but it doesn’t become very significant funding for us,” he says.

About one in 10 hate crimes is motivated by sexual orientation in Canada, although most hate-related incidents go unreported.