OTTAWA - Statistics Canada says police report there were 598 homicides in Canada in 2011, 44 more than the year before and the first increase in homicide in three years.
The agency says the homicide rate was 1.73 per 100,000 population in 2011, seven per cent higher than in 2010, although the rate of firearms homicides fell to the lowest level in almost 50 years.
Despite annual fluctuations, the homicide rate has remained relatively stable over the past decade, after a steady decline from the mid-1970s.
Most of the 2011 increase was accounted for by Alberta, which had 32 additional homicides, and Quebec, which had 21 more.
The homicide rate in Ontario, in contrast, hit its lowest point since 1966, with 28 fewer killings than in 2010.
Among the provinces, Manitoba reported the highest homicide rate for the fifth year in a row, followed by Saskatchewan and Alberta.