OTTAWA — The federal government is making it easier for religious and cultural groups at risk of hate crimes to improve security in and around their buildings.
The Liberals are easing application requirements and expanding the range of projects available to schools, community centres and places of worship.
The $1-million-a-year program funds items such as security assessments, modest construction costs, equipment, hardware and anti-graffiti sealant. It covers up to half of project costs, to a maximum of $100,000.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale speaks at RCMP headquarters in Regina on May 7, 2016. (Photo: Mark Taylor/CP)
The program has provided money to 189 projects since it began nine years ago.
Under the renewed program, which will accept applications as of Thursday, institutions can apply for security enhancements to the interior of a building, not just the exterior.
In addition, applicants who can make a case they are at risk of an attack will be eligible, while in the past only those that had experienced an incident could apply.
"There is no social licence for hate, not in this country," Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told a news conference. "And I want to be very clear — hate-motivated crimes in Canada will not be tolerated."
"There is no social licence for hate, not in this country."
Goodale said the changes are a result of concerns raised to MPs and a recent spate of hate crimes in Canada. In Ottawa, several Jewish, Muslim and Christian places of worship were targeted with hateful graffiti.
Goodale said discussions about broadening the program predated the extreme rhetoric during the recent American election. He declined to comment on whether the recent incidents in Canada had anything to do with the U.S. ballot.