Queen’s Park has expanded a program to give grants of $10,000 to religious and minority programs to combat hate crimes.
The revamped project, first announced in 2022, seeks to help protect churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, urban Indigenous organizations and cultural groups representing minority communities.
Hate has no place in our province, and this government will not stand for it.
Honoured to join @MichaelFordTO , @BramptonGraham, and my #Brampton caucus colleagues to announce $25.5 million over two years to help faith organizations ensure their community spaces remain safe. pic.twitter.com/15XoTfzjC0
— Michael Kerzner (@MPPKerzner) May 5, 2023
“Hate has no home in Ontario. Hate is toxic to our democracy and the fabric of who we are — and today we are taking steps to stamp it out,” Solicitor General Michael Kerzner said Friday in Brampton, The Star reported.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter who you love or how you worship or where you came from or how you got here,” said Kerzner as he and Citizenship and Multiculturalism Minister Michael Ford unveiled the two-year, $25.5-million program.
“What matters is that we’re here together — our diversity is our greatest strength,” he said.
The new project will allow more organizations to apply for the funding, originally focused mostly on protecting places of worship.
“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,” added Ford.
Since the original program was launched in February 2022, more than 1,200 groups have received grants.
The Muslim Association of Canada’s president-executive Abdullatif Bakbak called the grants “a significant step towards combating hate in Ontario.”
“Our mosques and community members have unfortunately been subjected to Islamophobic attacks, and this funding will help provide a safer environment for all to practice their faith without fear,” said Bakbak.
Islamophobic attacks across Canada have risen at alarming levels. The attacks have increased in frequency, many are targeting visibly Muslim women and girls.
Hate crimes targeting Muslims have significantly increased last year according to a report released by Statistics Canada in August 2022.