The Government of Canada Concludes National Summit on Antisemitism

News release

OTTAWA, July 21, 2021

Antisemitism and hate, in any form, have no place in Canada. They run counter to the values and spirit of a diverse and inclusive society. In recent months, there has been a disturbing increase of community-reported hate crimes targeting Jewish communities, neighbourhoods, and synagogues.

The Government of Canada is committed to taking immediate steps to combat antisemitism and all forms of racism and discrimination. Today, the Honourable Irwin Cotler, Canada’s Special Envoy for Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism, and the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, convened a National Summit on Antisemitism to identify ways in which organizations, communities, individuals, and the federal government can work together to increase public awareness, enhance community security, combat misinformation and online hate, and identify new measures necessary to combat antisemitism.

Organized by the Federal Anti-Racism Secretariat, the summit brought together diverse Jewish community leaders, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, federal ministers, members of Parliament, and officials from provincial and municipal governments.

The summit provided the opportunity for ministers, policymakers, and program administrators to listen to the concerns of community leaders, better understand the pervasiveness of antisemitism in Canada, and identify concrete steps the government can take to address the issues facing Jewish communities.

Discussions also focussed on how the federal government should work with Jewish communities to implement or improve existing programs, as well as develop new proactive and responsive initiatives that address antisemitism and hate.

Following the summit, the Government of Canada committed to the following initial actions:

  • Engage with Jewish communities on the Government’s next anti-racism action plan, which will be launched when the 2019–2022 Anti-Racism Strategy comes to an end;
  • Explore potential adjustments to the Security Infrastructure Program (SIP), Anti-Racism Action Program (ARAP), Community Support, Multiculturalism, and Anti-Racism Initiatives Program (CSMARI) and other relevant/related programs to enhance effectiveness and to be more responsive to community needs. These programs will continue to dismantle white supremacist groups, monitor hate groups, and take action to combat hate everywhere, including online;
  • Building on lessons learned to improve digital literacy and tackling misinformation;
  • A renewed focus on dedicated resources to support the work within government to combat antisemitism and all forms of hate, including the work of Special Envoy, Irwin Cotler;
  • Take a whole of government approach by working with departments across the government to take further action on these priorities.

Minister Chagger also announced today support for two projects through the Anti-Racism Action Program that address antisemitism and hate. These projects aim to tackle online hate and employment-related barriers facing religious minorities, as well as support inter-community outreach and cultural sensitivity training.

Additionally, earlier today, the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade and Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, announced funding for 150 projects representing over $6 million to support communities at risk of hate-motivated crime through the Communities at Risk: Security Infrastructure Program (SIP). The announcement was delivered from Chabad Lubavitch in Markham, Ontario, which is among the 150 projects recommended for development.

Today’s summit is another important step in combatting systemic racism and discrimination. It reminds us of our collective responsibility to continue acknowledging combating antisemitism and all forms of hate and discrimination to build a consciously more inclusive society for all.

Quotes

“Antisemitism has no place in Canada—or anywhere else. It is unacceptable that Jewish communities and people still face violence, hate, and discrimination in our country. Today, we reaffirm our commitment to continue to take concrete action to combat antisemitism in all its forms. Only together can we build a Canada where we celebrate diversity, compassion, and inclusion as our strengths.”

—The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

“Racism and hate, including antisemitism, have no place in Canada. Nothing can justify the spread of hate online or in any form. While the Government of Canada continues to stand against all forms of hate, systemic racism, and intolerance, we know that Canada is not immune to hate-motivated violence and antisemitism. I would like to extend my gratitude to the Jewish organizations and individuals who shared their intersectional lived experiences, and their recommendations on how the government can further identify and combat antisemitism, build upon and improve existing programs, and empower and enable the diverse Jewish communities in Canada. Today’s summit was another important and productive step to building a consciously more inclusive society.”

—The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth

“Jewish communities across Canada are threatened and targeted in their neighborhoods, in the streets, on campuses, and in their communities. We have seen torched synagogues, memorials defaced, institutions vandalized, and cemeteries desecrated. Historically, and still today, Jewish people remain one of the most targeted minorities with respect to hate crimes—globally and in Canada. This is further provoked by the incendiary antisemitic hate we see on social media platforms, which incentivize offline violence. This national summit is not be a one-time conversation, but an ongoing commitment to the combatting of the scourge of antisemitism which affects us all.”

—The Honourable Irwin Cotler, Canada’s Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism

“Anti-Jewish hatred is a growing and constantly mutating scourge that must be combatted with determination by all Canadians. We are pleased that the Government of Canada has demonstrated leadership and has organized this National Summit on Antisemitism. We will continue to work with our elected officials on advancing the concrete and constructive policy proposals we are presenting related to community security, education, and combating Holocaust denial. While today’s summit focused on antisemitism and Jewish lived experience, the lessons learned and measures that will be implemented as a result will be instructive and of value to all at-risk minorities. All Canadians—Jewish and non-Jewish alike—have a role to play in creating the Canada we aspire to live in, one free from hate, racism, and bigotry.”

—Shimon Koffler Fogel, President and CEO, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA)

“To counter antisemitism and all forms of hatred, we need to ensure protection by strengthening and implementing laws and policies; ensure prevention by effective education and training; and by increasing meaningful partnerships, both within our own community and between other racialized communities. I would like to thank the Government of Canada for convening this summit and I look forward to continuing our collaboration, reflecting both the Canadian and Jewish values of human rights, justice, equity, and inclusion in our fight against all forms of discrimination and hate, including antisemitism.” 

—Dr. Karen R. Mock, CM; Human Rights Consultant; President, JSpaceCanada

Quick facts

  • As noted by Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, antisemitic hate speech has increased alarmingly since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The Government of Canada is committed to combating all forms of antisemitism through important measures, including by adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism in Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2019–2022 to help combat antisemitic attitudes and behaviours, including Holocaust denial and distortion.

  • Building a Foundation for Change: Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy, unveiled on June 25, 2019, after extensive cross-country consultations, is a $45-million investment to build long-term changes in supporting communities and improving policies, initiatives, and practices in our federal institutions.

  • In the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, the Government of Canada provided $50 million over two years, starting in 2021–22, to expand the Community Support, Multiculturalism, and Anti-Racism Initiatives Program and the Anti-Racism Action Program to deliver on the government’s anti-racism objectives, including by expanding the Federal Anti-Racism Secretariat.

  • The Anti-Racism Action Program is another important step by which the Government of Canada implements Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy, by supporting projects that help address barriers to employment, justice, and social participation among Indigenous peoples, racialized communities, and religious minorities.

  • Budget 2021 outlines the government’s plan to build a healthier, more inclusive and more equal Canada and provides new funding to empower racialized Canadians and help community groups combat racism in all its forms.

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Contacts

For more information (media only), please contact:

Aidan Strickland
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth
aidan.strickland@canada.ca

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage
819-994-9101
1-866-569-6155
pch.media-media.pch@canada.ca

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