Evaluation of Canada’s Membership in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance

1. Introduction

1.1 Evaluation Purpose

The evaluation of Canada’s membership in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)Footnote 3 was conducted in fulfilment of Section 42.1 of the Financial Administration Act which mandates that all federal departments review the relevance and performance of grants and contributions once every five years. The evaluation was undertaken by Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s (CIC) Research and Evaluation Branch between June and December 2014.

This report presents the results of the evaluation and is organized into four main sections:Footnote 4

  • Section 1 presents a profile of Canada's IHRA membership;
  • Section 2 presents the methodology for the evaluation and related limitations;
  • Section 3 presents the findings of the evaluation; and
  • Section 4 presents conclusions and recommendations.

1.2 Membership profile

Overview of the IHRA

Created in 1998, the purpose of the IHRA is to ensure government support for Holocaust education, remembrance and research both nationally and internationally. In joining the IHRAFootnote 5, member states commit to the Stockholm DeclarationFootnote 6 and to the implementation of national policies and programs in support of Holocaust education, remembrance and research.

The IHRA is governed by a rotating Chair and supported by a Permanent Office in Berlin. National delegations convene twice a year at the IHRA Plenary meetings in the chairing country. The IHRA has four Working Groups (Academic, Education, Memorials and Museums, and Communications) as well as Committees that bring together experts from all Working Groups to address topics such as Anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial. Member states are expected to appoint one or two expert representatives to each of the IHRA’s Working Groups and Committees. In addition, one of the IHRA’s key roles is to fund relevant projects through its grant strategyFootnote 7. At the December 2011 Plenary, the IHRA established multi-year objectives in four areas:

  1. research on killing sites;
  2. education research;
  3. Holocaust memorial days; and
  4. access to archives and educational research.Footnote 8

In November 2006, the Prime Minister asked the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to take the lead on an initiative to join the IHRA.Footnote 9 Canada’s formal application for membership was presented at the June 2007 Plenary. As part of its membership application, Canada completed its Baseline Study in April 2008, which describes the country’s Holocaust experience and the current state of Holocaust education, remembrance and research in Canada. On June 24, 2009, Canada became the 27th member of the IHRA. In 2011, Canada sought and was granted the chairmanship of the IHRA for 2013.

As part of its commitment to the IHRA, Canada has funded a number of domestic initiatives, known as Liaison Projects,Footnote 10 through CIC’s Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP). While the funding was not solely specific to Jewish-Canadian Community Projects, CHRP had the purpose of acknowledging and educating Canadians about the historical experiences of ethno-communities affected by wartime discriminatory measures and immigration restrictions applied in Canada.Footnote 11 The Liaison Projects focused on the M.S. St. Louis incident, the most conspicuous example of the consequences of Canada’s restrictive World War II era immigration policies.

In addition to undertaking domestic Holocaust-related educational initiatives, Canada participates in biannual IHRA meetings. The Canadian Head of Delegation participates in plenaries at biannual IHRA meetings and representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) appointed to the Canadian delegation lead and/or participate in the IHRA Working Groups. Canada’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom, was appointed by the Minister of Multiculturalism as Canada’s Head of Delegation to the IHRA in February 2014.Footnote 12 Prior to this date, the Canadian Head of Delegation was a CIC senior official.

The Chairmanship of the IHRA rotates annually on a voluntary basis and Canada was awarded the IHRA Chair between March 5, 2013 and February 25, 2014. It is customary for Chairs to set goals for the period of their term. As Chair, it was Canada’s intention to demonstrate national and international leadership in Holocaust education, remembrance and research,Footnote 13 advancing the collective work of the IHRA, and continuing to build on the IHRA organization changes.

1.3 Stakeholders

While other government departments (OGD) play a role in other holocaust-related initiatives (e.g. Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development and Canadian Heritage in the creation of the Holocaust Memorial), the IHRA stakeholders include the following groups:

  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada
  • Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD)
  • Experts from across Canada including academics, museum directors, CEOs and leaders from within the Jewish community.

Canada's current delegation to the IHRA is headed by Dr. Andrew Bennett, Canada's Ambassador for Religious Freedom at DFATD, who has been head of delegation since 2014. In addition to CIC, other current members of Canada's delegation include individuals from Canadian Romani Alliance, Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada, Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, Azreili Foundation, and universities.Footnote 14

1.4 Resources

Membership in the IHRA requires that each country pay a yearly contribution of €30,000 (approximately $45,000 CAD). Payments are due by March 31 and cover the calendar year. Fees are used by the organization to cover administrative costs which include:

  1. costs of the IHRA website;
  2. communication needs as approved by the plenary;
  3. annual audit of the IHRA fund and Permanent Office; and
  4. expenses incurred by the Funding Review Committee."Footnote 15

Terms and Conditions for an Assessed Contribution to the IHRA were approved by the Treasury Board in February 2010 and Canada's first payment was for the 2009-10 fiscal year (FY). In addition to the annual contribution, an estimated additional $35,000Footnote 16 per year is allocated for travel to the IHRA meetings.

Table 1: Annual contribution to the IHRA (CAD $)
  FY 2009/10 FY 2010/11 FY 2011/12 FY 2012/13 FY 2013/14
Expenditures $40,677 $40,230 $39,240 $39,753 $ 45,114

Note: Fluctuation in cost is due to exchange rates.

Source: Public Accounts.

The salary resources dedicated to membership in IHRA are not reported specifically, as the IHRA membership falls under CIC’s Program 3.3: Multiculturalism for Newcomers and All Canadians, and activities and effort were not disaggregated to that level. However, CIC salary expenditures specifically in support of the Chair Year are reported in Table 2.

Table 2: CIC IHRA salary costs (FY 2011/12 - FY 2014/15)
  FY 2011/12 FY 2012/13 FY 2013/14 FY 2014/15
Chair $10,403.50 -- $154,962.77 $5,285.86
Chair Office Support $0.00 -- $74,539.35 $0.00
Total $10,403.50 $191,308.38 $229,502.12 $5,285.86

Note: Salary costs include only those associated with the Chair Year activities. Chair and Chair Office Support could not be separated for FY 2012/13.

Source: CIC financial data.

Additional information on expenditures associated with Canada’s membership in the IHRA can be found in Section 3.3.

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