This is the third consecutive year that the homicide rate has increased in Canada.
According to data compiled by Statistics Canada, the increase in homicides in the country is mainly attributable to a notable increase in homicides last year in Ontario (277 homicides; +37) and British Columbia (125 homicides; +25).
In Quebec, 88 homicides were reported in 2021, 1 more than in 2020.
Although Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia have the highest number of homicides, when the population size of the provinces is taken into account, it is in Saskatchewan has the highest homicide rate.
With 70 homicides recorded in 2021, up 6 from a year earlier, Saskatchewan has a homicide rate of 5.93 per 100,000 population, up 9 percent from 2020. That’s more than double the national rate, which is 2.06 homicides per 100,000 population.
The provinces with the largest declines in the number of homicides committed in their territory were Alberta, with 118 homicides, down 23 from 2020 data, and Nova Scotia, whose toll decreased by 14 homicides in 2021 due to a total of 23. It should be noted, however, that the homicide toll in this province was abnormally high in 2020 due to Portapique mass shooting.
In major urban centers, Toronto had the most homicides in 2021, with 117 homicides, compared to 60 in Vancouver, 48 in Montreal and 45 in Winnipeg.
In large cities, the highest homicide rates were found in Regina (5.67/100,000 population), Thunder Bay (5.63/100,000 population), and Winnipeg (5.39/100,000 population).
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The homicide rate was 1.3 times higher in rural areas than in urban areas in 2021, with homicide rates of 2.58 and 1.97 per 100,000 population, respectively.
Six times more Aboriginal killings
Of great concern, the murder rate is six times higher in Aboriginal communities than in the non-Aboriginal population. According to Statistics Canada, the homicide rate reached 9.17 per 100,000 population in Canada in 2021, compared to 1.55 in the non-Indigenous population.
%) étaient des membres des Premières Nations, 6% étaient des Métis et 5% étaient des Inuit”,”text”:”Parmi les victimes autochtones, près des deux tiers (65%) étaient des membres des Premières Nations, 6% étaient des Métis et 5% étaient des Inuit”}}”>Among Indigenous victims, nearly two-thirds (65%) were First Nations, 6% were Métis, and 5% were Inuitsays Statistics Canada.
Furthermore, according to data reported by the country’s police forces, 247 homicide victims were racialised, or a third of the victims in the country. This translates into a homicide rate of 2.51 per 100,000 population for this part of the population.
Nationwide, 40% of homicides in 2021 were committed with firearms. About two out of five homicides in Canada last year were attributed to firearms. This represents a 6% increase over the 2020 data.
The rate of homicides committed with firearms fell from 0.73 in 2020 to 0.78 per 100,000 population in 2021.
Highest gun homicide rates in 2021
(per 100,000 inhabitants)
- Saskatchewan: (1.86)
- Nova Scotia: (1.21)
- MB: (1.01)
- British Columbia: (1.00)
- AB: (0.95)
The use of a handgun was reported in 57% of cases, against 26% for hunting weapons, while the remaining 17% was committed with firearms of unknown type.
By comparison, 32% of other homicides were committed with edged weapons or sharp objects and 17% with blows.
Toronto had the most people killed by firearms last year, with 61 shooting homicides, followed by Vancouver (30), Montreal (25) and Edmonton (20).
Adjusted for population, Regina had the highest firearm homicide rate at 2.65 per 100,000 population, up 40 percent from 2020.
According to police data, 46% of homicides with firearms in 2021 are also attributable to the activity of criminal gangs.
Gang violence is becoming a concern in the country. Almost a quarter of the homicides committed in 2021, or 184, were linked to the activity of criminal gangs. Gangs committed 33 more homicides in 2021 than the previous year. This pushes the gang-related homicide rate (0.48 per 100,000 population) to its highest level since 2005.
It is above all in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec that homicides attributable to criminal gangs have increased most.
In Ontario, there were 65 homicides attributable to criminal gangs in 2021, up 13 from 2020. In British Columbia, there were 39 homicides (+13), compared to 21 homicides in Quebec (+6).
Citywide, Vancouver and Montreal saw the largest increases in gang-related homicides in 2021, recording +13 and +11 homicide increases, respectively, over their 2020 data.
Again, when population size is taken into account, Regina has the highest gang-related homicide rate among major cities in the country, at a rate of 3.03 per 100,000 population, three times higher than in 2020 ( 1.14), observes Statistics Canada.