CIJA and UJA welcome proposed safe access bylaw in Vaughan

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CIJA
|March 18, 2024
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Toronto, ON – March 18, 2024 – Today, Vaughan Mayor Steven Del Duca announced his intention to bring forward a Members Resolution to protect Vaughan’s places of worship, schools, childcare facilities, and its hospital from demonstrations and protests. This would include a maximum fine of $100,000 for anyone who violates the bylaw.

The Jewish community has long advocated for the creation of safe access legislation to protect vital community institutions from being targeted by protest.

In response to today’s announcement, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and UJA Federation of Greater Toronto issued the following joint statement:

CIJA and UJA Federation of Greater Toronto welcome the announcement by Vaughan Mayor Steven Del Duca requesting City Council create a bylaw prohibiting protests that intimidate, incite hatred, violence or discrimination within 100 metres of religious institutions, schools, childcare centres, and hospitals.

Freedom of expression is deeply rooted in our values, but not without limits. CIJA has been advocating for strengthened measures, including Safe Access legislation, to curtail months of targeted demonstrations marked by antisemitic chants, hateful signs, and physically intimidating behaviour impacting Jewish residents at community institutions, including recent protests at two Thornhill synagogues. Whether at a house of worship, a community centre, or a school, people should never have to walk through hateful demonstrations simply to participate in community life.

Mayor Del Duca has shown great leadership in recognizing that community institutions are not appropriate targets for protest and should be protected. We urge Vaughan City Council to swiftly pass this motion.

Further, we join Mayor Del Duca's call that provincial and municipal governments amend or introduce legislation and bylaws to restrict protests from taking place in close proximity to community institutions across the province.

To be clear, this is not solely a Jewish issue. Every Canadian has a right to be safe in their community spaces and while accessing vital services.

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Additional Background

  • According to the Toronto Police Service press release, since October 7, 2023, hate crimes are up 93 per cent in the city compared to the same period last year.
    • Of the 84 hate crimes so far in 2024, 56 per cent are antisemitic. Last month saw the highest number of antisemitic occurrences in the last three years.
    • In 2023, 380 hate crimes were reported in Toronto, a 53 per cent increase compared to 2022 at 248.
    • Since October 1, 2023, there have been 203 confirmed hate crimes. This is a 93 per cent increase from the same time period the year prior.
    • This year, there have been 84 confirmed hate crimes. This is a notable increase compared to this time in 2023 (83 per cent).
    • Antisemitism accounts for more hate crimes than any other bias category this year and in years prior. This year, there has been 47 antisemitic hate crimes, 56 per cent of this year’s total.
  • Statistics Canada: Police-reported crime statistics in Canada, 2022
    • Press Release: In 2022, Jews remain most targeted religious group for hate crime in Canada, second overall
    • Jews in Canada represent only one percent of the population yet are victims of 67 percent of all religiously motivated hate incidents and 14 percent of overall reported hate crimes.
    • The Jewish community was targeted in 502 reported hate crime incidents – that’s more than one incident of Jew-hatred per day in 2022.
    • The Jewish community was the most targeted religious minority, accounting for 67 percent of religiously motivated hate.
    • While religiously motivated hate crimes overall were down 15 percent year over year, hate crime targeting the Jewish community increased 2 percent between 2021 and 2022.
    • Anti-Jewish hate crime has increased 52 percent since 2020.
  • Press Release: Top Jewish Advocacy Organizations Form J7 Global Task Force to Fight Antisemitism
  • Press Release: 2021 - Jews Remain Most Targeted Religious Group for Hate Crime in Canada
  • Press Release: 2020 Hate Crime Data Reveals Jews Most Targeted Religious Group
  • Not all hate crimes or incidents of antisemitism are reported or recorded. Not all incidents meet the threshold of a crime, especially in schools, so national hate crime statistics do not accurately reflect the total number of antisemitic incidents.

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The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA, representing Jewish Federations across Canada. By clicking "Sign up," you consent to receive periodic updates from CIJA. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Le Centre consultatif des relations juives et israéliennes (CIJA) est l'agence de représentation de Fédérations juives du Canada - UIA, représentant les fédérations juives à travers le Canada. En cliquant sur  «  Sign up , »  vous acceptez de recevoir des mises à jour périodiques de CIJA. Vous pouvez vous désabonner à tout moment.
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The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA, representing Jewish Federations across Canada.
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