Fact Sheet: Key Facts and Statistics about the Overrepresentation of Black People in the Criminal Justice System
Black people are overrepresented in Canada’s criminal justice system, as victims and survivors as well as accused or convicted people. The limited data, the unavailability of some data, or current data gaps, does not allow us to fully understand the extent and underlying causes of this overrepresentation.
This webpage provides an overview of key facts concerning the overrepresentation of Black people in the criminal justice system. The information found on this webpage was collected from the available disaggregated data.
Canada’s Black Justice Strategy will examine existing recommendations concerning the necessity of collecting more disaggregated data, to advance our understanding of the criminal justice system and properly address the needs of Black people in Canada.
Discrimination and Hate Crimes
- According to the 2019 General Social Survey, 46% of Black people aged 15 years and older reported experiencing discrimination in the past 5 years, compared to 16% of the non-Indigenous, non-racialized population. (Statistics Canada, 2019)
- In 2022, police-reported hate crimes motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity increased by 12%, whereas the percentage of hate crimes specifically targeting the Black community increased by 28% (more than twice as much). These crimes accounted for 43% of all police-reported crimes motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity. (Statistics Canada, 2022)
Victims and Survivors of Crime
- The proportion of homicide victims identified as Black increased by 27% between 2020 and 2022. Black people are overrepresented as victims of homicide, accounting for 13% of all homicide victims in 2022, which is three times higher than their representation of 4% of the Canadian population. Black male homicide victims accounted for 15% of all male victims, and Black female homicide victims accounted for 5% of all female victims. (Statistics Canada, 2023)
- In 2015/2016, Black people (adults and youth) were twice as likely to be accused in comparison to the general population; Black people accounted for 6% of all accused, while representing only 3% of the Canadian population at the time. (Justice Canada, 2023)
- In 2020/2021, despite representing about 4% of adults in Canada, Black people accounted for 9% of the total offender population in federal corrections. (Justice Canada, 2022)
- Black people have overall lower rates of reoffending and lower returns to custody. The majority of Black offenders (85.8%) are not re-admitted to federal custody within 5 years following the expiration of their sentence. (Correctional Service Canada, 2022)
- Despite the lower rates of reoffending and returning to custody, Black people are more likely to be assessed as higher risk, low motivation, and low reintegration potential. (Office of the Correctional Investigator, 2022)
Confidence in the Justice System
- According to the 2019 General Social Survey on victimization, 18% of Black people reported having “not very much” or “no” confidence in the police, which is more than double the proportion among the white population (8%). (Statistics Canada, 2019)
- The 2022 National Justice Survey found that Black respondents (19%) were less confident than white respondents (24%) that the Canadian criminal justice system is fair to all people. (Justice Canada, 2022)
For more information and data about Black people in the criminal justice system, please visit:
- Overrepresentation of Black People in the Canadian Criminal Justice System (Justice Canada, 2022)
- State of the Criminal Justice System Dashboard (Justice Canada)
- Police-reported hate crime, 2021 (Statistics Canada, 2023)
- Perception of and experiences with police and the justice system among Black and Indigenous populations in Canada (Statistics Canada, 2022)
- Black Youth and the Criminal Justice System: Summary Report of an Engagement Process in Canada (Justice Canada, 2021)
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