New classroom resources to promote diversity, combat racism, and address literacy of online hate
TORONTO, ON – April 24, 2023 – Today, the Ontario government announced their investment of $24 million to help reduce the risk of violence in schools and promote the safety of students and educators. Following years of antisemitic incidents becoming more frequent on school grounds, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs has been advocating for increased resources to support anti-hate initiatives and the development of educational tools in collaboration with community organizations to address evolving manifestations of racism, especially online.
The announced funding includes:
- “$1.5 million (2023-24) in anti-hate initiatives that include development of classroom resources to promote diversity and that better reflect the population of Canada, and to partner with community organizations to provide curriculum-linked educational resources on digital literacy to increase student awareness of online misinformation, critical thinking skills and awareness of online hate and threats.”
- “$1 million in 2023-24 to partner with community organizations to combat racism and dismantle systemic barriers faced by underserved and racialized students through youth hotlines, counselling services, youth support networks, lesson plans and classroom materials.”
In response to the announcement, Noah Shack, Vice President, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), said:
"The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs welcomes today's announcement by Minister Lecce of a $24 million investment to ensure the security and safety of students and educators, including $2.5 million for anti-hate and anti-racism initiatives. We have long pointed to digital literacy education as an essential tool to combat misinformation and online hate, which too often feed hate-motivated bullying and violence offline.
“With antisemitism on the rise in Canada and around the world, there has been a notable increase in antisemitic incidents where children spend their time – in the classroom, on the playground, at the rink, on social media. Though there are multiple places where youth may be exposed to hateful rhetoric, they are increasingly consuming information online – through social media, in chats groups, and on online gaming platforms – which has given rise to hate groups using the internet to spread misinformation, radicalize and recruit youth in generally unsupervised spaces. We applaud the Ontario government’s leadership in investing in digital literacy education. This will arm youth with information about how hate manifests online, so they are empowered to discern and address antisemitic, racist, or hate-filled content when they encounter it.
“We are encouraged that the announced funding specifies that the initiatives and resources will be created in collaboration with community organizations, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the government to ensure that the Jewish community and the issues we face are represented in newly created resources.”
- In 2022, CIJA partnered with the Toronto Holocaust Museum and Facing History & Ourselves Canada to create Unlearn It, a ground-breaking educational resource to support parents and educators in teaching youth how to identify, unlearn, and stand against antisemitism both in person and online. The development of the program was funded by an Ontario Ministry of Education grant.
- Statistics Canada police-reported hate crime data for 2021 revealed, once again, Jewish Canadians remain the most targeted religious minority for hate crime and second overall.
- There are ten times more hate crimes against Jews reported than any other religious group across the country.
- In Canada, according to Statistics Canada, more than one hate incident targeted Canada’s Jewish community every single day in 2021, on average. That’s more than nine per week or 40 per month.
- 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 stats do not accurately reflect total antisemitic incidents.
- Currently, no comprehensive hate incident data for schools are available nationally.
- Antisemitic events are on the rise in schools across Ontario, with over 50 incidents involving antisemitic hate symbols occurring in the Toronto District School Board alone in the 2021-22 school year. Overall, in GTA schools during the last school year, on average, more than two antisemitic incidents per week were reported.
About the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations across Canada. CIJA is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and protect Jewish life in Canada through advocacy and to advance the public policy interests of Canada’s organized Jewish community.
For more information or to coordinate interviews, please contact:
Director, Media Relations and GTA Communications
Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
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