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Saturday , 24 July 2021

Emergency protection for communities targeted by hate

Emergency grant applications for the Alberta Security Infrastructure Program are now open to reduce the risk of hate and bias-motivated crimes targeting facilities used by groups of vulnerable Albertans.

In light of recent multiple acts of vandalism at places of worship and the suspected arson that burned a church to the ground, emergency funding will be immediately available to facilities at risk of hate or bias-related crimes. The funding is for cases where an immediate threat is identified and there is evidence to support that threat.

“We must all condemn hate-motivated acts of violence and vandalism,” Jason Kenney, Premier said. “All Albertans must be able to exercise their religious freedom in peace and security. That’s why we introduced the Security Infrastructure Program, why we’ve doubled the available funding, and why we are making help available immediately for those at risk of hate-motivated crimes.”

Up to $12,000 per applicant is immediately available for not-for-profit agencies serving individuals at risk of hate or bias-motivated crimes. Eligible organizations include not-for-profit associations serving people who, by virtue of their colour, race, ethnic and/or national origins, sexual orientation, religious affiliation or some other attribute, are at risk of being the victims of hate, bias or prejudice-motivated crimes.

“Albertans from all backgrounds deserve the freedom and protection they need to worship as they please with their families, free from threats of violence and destruction,” Kaycee Madu, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General said. “While we work towards the ultimate goal of eliminating hate crimes in Alberta and bringing those guilty to justice, this fast-tracked grant program will help protect those most at risk.”

The Alberta Security Infrastructure Program was announced in June to help vulnerable groups implement security improvements to increase protection from potential vandalism and violence. While the regular grant call will accept applications later this year, funding is now available for not-for-profit organizations and groups associated with facilities facing an immediate threat.

Emergency one-time funding for facility security needs related to specific, immediate crime threats to a facility and/or the individuals who use the facility will be considered. This emergency funding may provide a bridge between immediate needs and the regular Alberta Security Infrastructure Program grants, which will focus on longer term, structural facility enhancements.

Eligible expenses include those necessary to help protect both individuals and property from vandalism and other criminal acts, such as upgrades to facility infrastructure including security and monitoring systems, and other security enhancements.

The province also recently announced the creation of a new community liaison on hate crimes to connect directly with ethnic and religious groups and sexual minority communities most targeted by hate-motivated crimes. As well, a provincial Hate Crimes Coordination Unit will be set up to work with law enforcement to improve and harmonize hate crime mitigation efforts across Alberta.

Application information is available on Alberta’s crime prevention page.

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About Arthur C. Green

Arthur C. Green is from Whitbourne Newfoundland and graduated from the CNA Journalism Program. Arthur also studied Business Marketing and Political Science at Memorial University in Essex England and St. John's Newfoundland. Green has worked for such organizations as CBC, CBC Radio, NTV, Saltwire, Great West Media, CKLB Radio, Vista Radio, and Postmedia. He also loves Jiggs Dinner!