Race, Crime and Criminal Justice in Canada

  • Clayton J. Mosher
  • Taj Mahon-Haft


Certain racial/ethnic minority groups are greatly over-represented in Canada’s criminal justice system. While scholars examining this over-representation have pointed to issues of bias in the system, historically there has been a decided tendency on the part of several criminal justice system officials, legislators, some academics and media commentators to deny that such bias exists. Unfortunately, it is difficult to disentangle the causes of this over-representation, due to an informal ban on the release of race-based crime statistics in Canada. As Hagan (1998: xii) comments with respect to this issue,

The reluctance to enumerate crime in racial terms is an unexpected product of an odd coalition of forces that, for a variety of dubious reasons, bans the necessary data collection. An unfortunate and little-recognized result of this ostrich-like behavior is complacent support for a posture of denial that pervades our justice system.

An additional feature of the discourse on race and crime issues in Canada has been the tendency on the part of the media, both historically and in the current context, to engage in the racialization of crime, ‘part of a broader process that inferiorizes or excludes groups in the population’ (Tator and Henry, 2006: 8) — a topic to which we devote considerable attention in subsequent sections of this chapter.


Criminal Justice System Aboriginal People Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Hate Crime Visible Minority 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Clayton J. Mosher and Taj Mahon-Haft 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clayton J. Mosher
    • 1
  • Taj Mahon-Haft
    • 1
  1. 1.Washington State UniversityVancouverUSA

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