OTTAWA — A new Statistics Canada report says the national homicide rate was its highest in a decade last year thanks to a spike in the number of deaths from guns and gang violence.
The report comes weeks after the federal Liberals and Conservatives rolled out competing plans for tackling the rise in gun and gang violence ahead of next year’s election.
Statistics Canada says police reported 660 killings across the country last year, which was 48 more than in 2016, while the overall homicide rate rose to 1.8 for every 100,000 people.
That was the highest level since 2009.
The agency blames gangs for a steady increase in gun-related killings, which accounted for about 40 per cent of all homicides last year and which reached their highest rate in 25 years.
Statistics Canada also says the gradual shift towards more handgun-related deaths continued last year as the weapons accounted for 60 per cent of firearm-related homicides.
The Canadian Press