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HomeNewsOntario Strengthening Holocaust Education In High Schools

Ontario Strengthening Holocaust Education In High Schools

KAWARTHA LAKES-Holocaust Education Week is recognized every year from November 1 to 9, and honours the survivors of the Holocaust and commemorates those murdered by the Nazis.

The Ontario government says it is introducing new and expanded mandatory learning about the Holocaust in the compulsory Grade 10 History course. In addition, the province is investing $650,000 in community partnerships that provide resources for students and educator training to expand learning on fundamental Canadian values, including the importance of safeguarding democracy from extreme and harmful ideologies.

“Our government is decisively combatting the rise of antisemitism and hate in all its forms,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “By including new mandatory learning in Holocaust education in elementary and secondary schools, we are ensuring students are never bystanders in the face of hate and division. We will ensure that ‘Never Again’ is our legacy to the next generation, as we safeguard and promote those fundamental Canadian values of democracy, freedom, civility and respect.”

Starting September 2025, new expanded learning about the Holocaust in the Grade 10 History course will explicitly link the Holocaust to extreme political ideologies, including fascism, antisemitism in Canada in the 1930s and 1940s, and the contemporary impacts of rising antisemitism.

This expanded learning will build on the current Grade 10 History curriculum about how the Holocaust impacted Canadian society and the attitudes of people in Canada toward human rights. The course complements new mandatory learning on the significance of the Holocaust included in Grade 6 Social Studies, strengthening students’ ongoing understanding of how to identify, respond to and change harmful assumptions and stereotypes that can lead to tragic events like the Holocaust, including antisemitism and other forms of racism.

To help students learn about historical and present-day discrimination, Ontario is investing $650,000 (2023-24) in community partnerships including:

  • Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies to create an Antisemitism Classroom Toolkit curriculum resource for Grades 5 to 8 and a training workshop for teachers on how to teach students about the Holocaust
  • the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs to continue their work on a resource hub for educators and parents to learn about, identify and take action to address antisemitism
  • Liberation75 to provide Holocaust and antisemitism education resources/supports for educators and students, as well as an online teacher resource to support Grade 6 Holocaust education
  • the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem to provide teaching materials related to the story of the MS St. Louis, a ship carrying Jewish Germans fleeing Nazi Germany to Cuba in 1939
  • UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s Holocaust Museum to create virtual and in-person tours for teachers and other Holocaust-related resources

According to a 2021 survey on antisemitism and Holocaust knowledge conducted by Liberation75, one in three teens in Canada and the United States think the Holocaust was fabricated, exaggerated or are unsure it actually happened.

In its 2022 Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, B’nai Brith logged 2,769 incidents, among the highest rates of hate crimes ever recorded in Canada. Jewish Canadians remain the most targeted religious minority for hate crimes in Canada, according to Statistics Canada. While Jewish Canadians make up one per cent of the population, they were victims of 14 per cent of all reported hate crimes in 2021.

 

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