The Crime Rate in Canada: Everything You Need to Know

March 22, 2024


  • Sinethemba Phongolo

Canada is a growing immigration destination for many international immigrants. If you’re curious about moving to the country, one of your concerns about moving to the country is how safe it will be for you or your family. With our guide to everything you need to know about Canada’s crime rate, you may put these concerns to rest.

By providing a thorough breakdown of Canadian crime trends, from violent to white-collar crimes, you can make a well-informed decision that relieves your safety concerns about settling in the Great White North.

Let’s uncover the complexities of Canada's crime landscape, delving into statistics, trends, prevention strategies, and societal impacts.

What is Canada’s Crime Rate?

Canada is known for its peaceful reputation, but a clear understanding of crime rates is essential. Let's delve into various crime categories and see how Canada stacks up.

Overall Crime Rate in Canada

Statistics Canada, the national statistical agency, uses the Crime Severity Index (CSI) to measure overall crime. The CSI considers both the volume and seriousness of reported crimes. In 2022, Canada's CSI stood at 78.1, indicating a slight increase from recent years, though significantly lower than its peak in the 1990s. This suggests a generally stable crime landscape, with fluctuations potentially influenced by economic conditions and social programs.

The following table outlines Canada's overall crime rate index by province or territory.

Canadian Province or Territories Total Crime Severity Index
Northwest Territories 436.8
Nunavut 379.7
Yukon 207.6
Saskatchewan 152.5
Manitoba 146.5
Alberta  103.2
British Columbia 100.4
New Brunswick 86.2
Newfoundland and Labrador 82.2
Nova Scotia 74.7
Quebec 59.7
Prince Edward Island 59.3
Ontario 58.5

Furthermore, according to the Institute for Economics & Peace and World Population Review, Canada is ranked the 11th safest country in the world out of 163 countries.

Understanding Crime Rate Disparities

It's crucial to remember that the national crime rate doesn't represent the entire picture. Crime rates can vary significantly across provinces and territories. For example, with its vast and sparsely populated landscape, Nunavut has a higher CSI than Quebec due to social issues and limited police resources. Conversely, Prince Edward Island consistently boasts some of the lowest crime rates in Canada due to its tight-knit communities and strong social fabric.

Violent Crime Rate

Violent crime encompasses offenses like assault, robbery, and homicide. While Canada's violent crime rate has seen a slight uptick in 2022 (2.08 incidents per 100,000 population), it remains considerably lower compared to historic highs in the 1990s and the highest rate of 3.02 in 1975, according to Statistics Canada.

Understanding the nuances of violent crime is essential. For instance, some violent crime increases might be attributed to a rise in domestic violence incidents, requiring a targeted approach to prevention and support services.

Property Crime Rate in Canada

Theft-related offenses like break-ins, auto theft, and fraud fall under property crime. This category has significantly and consistently declined over the past few decades. Statistics Canada reports a rate of 3,314.2 incidents per 100,000 population in 2022.

This positive trend is likely attributed to improved security measures in homes and businesses, increased public awareness campaigns, and advancements in law enforcement techniques.

Homicide Rate in Canada

Homicide, a critical indicator of violent crime severity, paints a reassuring picture for Canada. The country's homicide rate is significantly lower than the United States. According to Statista, Canada reported a rate of 2.25 homicides per 100,000 population, compared to the US rate hovering around 6.3 per 100,000.

However, it's important to acknowledge that some urban areas within Canada might have higher homicide rates than the national average. Additionally, factors like gang violence and organized crime can contribute to localized spikes in homicides, requiring focused police intervention and community engagement strategies.

Cybercrime Rate in Canada

The digital age has ushered in a new type of criminal activity: cybercrime. The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (CCCS) reports a consistent rise in cybercrime incidents, which amounted to 74,073 police-reported cases as of recent data from Statista. While obtaining a definitive national cybercrime rate is challenging due to underreporting, the CCCS highlights phishing scams, malware attacks, and ransomware as significant threats.

These cybercrimes can have devastating consequences, causing financial losses, data breaches, and disruption to critical infrastructure. Public education initiatives, robust cybersecurity measures by businesses and individuals, and strong law enforcement collaboration are crucial to combatting cybercrime effectively.

White-Collar Crime in Canada

Despite the challenges in measuring white-collar crime, estimates suggest it costs the Canadian economy billions annually. The Fraser Institute, a Canadian think tank, estimates that fraud costs Canadians upwards of 25.8 billion CAD annually. These costs trickle down from businesses to consumers, impacting everything from insurance premiums to goods and services. Proposed measures to combat white-collar crime in Canada include:

  1. Strengthening Law Enforcement: providing law enforcement agencies with specialized training and resources to investigate complex financial crimes,
  2. Enhancing Regulatory Frameworks: implementing stricter regulations and penalties for white-collar offenses,
  3. Public Awareness Campaigns: educating businesses and individuals on how to identify and prevent white-collar crime, and
  4. International Cooperation: collaborating with international law enforcement agencies to track and prosecute transnational white-collar criminals.

Some of Canada's most prominent white-collar crimes involve fraudulent scams. This includes banking scams, fake job offers, immigration visa scams, and Social Insurance Number (SIN) scams.

Factors Influencing Crime in Canada

Canada's reputation for safety is well-deserved, but crime is a complex issue with numerous contributing factors. Let's delve into some of the critical influences on crime rates in Canada:

Socioeconomic Disparities in Canada

A strong correlation exists between poverty, unemployment, and crime rates, according to the Canadian government’s justice department. Research suggests that individuals with limited economic opportunities are more likely to turn to crime to meet basic needs or support themselves and their families. Additionally, social factors like lack of access to education, affordable housing, and quality healthcare can contribute to a cycle of poverty and crime.

Substance Abuse in Canada

The misuse of alcohol and drugs can significantly impact a person's judgment and behavior, increasing the risk of criminal activity. Substance abuse can also lead to financial difficulties, strained relationships, and mental health issues, further contributing to the crime cycle. Statistics Canada reports a correlation between areas with higher rates of substance abuse and higher crime rates.

Mental Health Issues in Canada

Mental health challenges can play a significant role in criminal behavior. Individuals struggling with untreated mental illness may be more prone to impulsive acts or cannot understand the consequences of their actions.

Additionally, mental health issues can lead to social isolation and substance abuse, further increasing the risk of criminal activity. Investing in mental health resources and promoting access to treatment can be crucial in crime prevention.

Learn about Canada’s newcomer’s mental health and well-being program.

Geographical Location in Canada

Crime rates can vary significantly across provinces and territories. Densely populated urban areas often have higher crime rates compared to rural regions. This can be attributed to social anonymity, greater economic disparity, and a higher concentration of criminal opportunities in urban environments. Additionally, remote areas with limited police resources face crime prevention and enforcement challenges.

Find out which is the best province to immigrate to in Canada.

Urbanization in Canada

The rise of urban centers brings both benefits and challenges. While urbanization can foster economic growth and innovation, it can also lead to social problems like poverty, unemployment, and social isolation, contributing to crime rates. Effective urban planning strategies that promote social cohesion, economic opportunities, and resource access can be crucial in mitigating these issues.

Cultural Influences in Canada

Canada's diverse cultural landscape presents strengths and complexities when considering crime. Strong social bonds and community support systems within cultural groups can deter crime.

However, cultural norms around violence, conflict resolution, and respect for authority can vary, and integration challenges faced by newcomers might contribute to crime in some cases. Fostering intercultural understanding and promoting social inclusion are important steps in addressing crime within a multicultural society.

Safest Provinces or Territories to Move to in Canada

While crime rates can be a helpful indicator, they don't paint the whole picture when choosing a safe place to live in Canada. Here's a table breakdown of some factors to consider for Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon:

Safest Canadian Provinces or Territories Pros Cons
Prince Edward Island Consistently boasts some of the lowest crime rates in Canada. Strong sense of community and social cohesion. Generally peaceful and quiet atmosphere. Limited job opportunities in some sectors. Fewer cultural amenities compared to larger cities. Higher cost of living than some other provinces.
New Brunswick Breathtaking natural beauty and unique cultural experiences. Strong focus on community and traditional values. Lower crime rates compared to national averages. Extremely remote location with limited access to amenities and services. Harsh winters can be challenging for some. Higher cost of living due to reliance on imported goods.
Nunavut Unique Inuit culture and rich traditions. Stunning Arctic landscapes. Strong sense of community spirit. Highest crime rates in Canada, though mostly non-violent property crimes. It is an extremely remote location with minimal infrastructure and services. The harsh climate and high cost of living.
Yukon Beautiful wilderness scenery and abundant outdoor activities. Lower crime rates compared to national averages. Friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Limited job opportunities, particularly in specialized fields. Higher cost of living due to remote location. Long, harsh winters can be isolating for some.
Northwest Territories Breathtaking natural beauty and unique cultural experiences. Strong focus on community and traditional values. Lower crime rates compared to national averages. Extremely remote location with limited access to amenities and services. Harsh winters can be challenging for some. Higher cost of living due to reliance on imported goods.

Building your life in a brand-new country can feel like diving into the unknown. Along with the logistical challenges associated with immigrating from one country to the next, many immigrants may feel concerned about their safety in their new home.

To receive guidance and advice that’ll help ease your transition to moving to Canada, we recommend you consult with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) certified by the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultant (CICC).

Find out more about how an RCIC can help you immigrate to Canada.


What Measures are in Place to Support Victims of Crime?

Canada prioritizes supporting victims of crime through various support services and resources. These include victim advocacy programs, counseling services, and legal assistance to ensure that individuals affected by crime receive the necessary support and guidance throughout the legal process.

How Does Canada Address Crime Prevention and Law Enforcement?

Canada employs a multi-faceted approach to crime prevention and law enforcement, incorporating strategies ranging from community policing initiatives to legislative measures. Law enforcement agencies work collaboratively with communities to identify and address underlying factors contributing to crime, focusing on proactive measures rather than solely reactive responses.

How Do Canadians Perceive Crime in Their Communities?

While Canadians generally feel safe, there's a perception among some that crime, particularly property crime like theft, is on the rise within their neighborhoods. This perception might not always reflect actual crime statistics.