Eligibility Expansion a Start, but More Needed to Secure Jewish Community
Ottawa, ON – November 6, 2023 – Today, the Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Public Safety, announced an additional investment of $5 million in the Security Infrastructure Program (SIP) to help Canadian communities dealing with increased risk of hate-motivated crimes in the wake of the Israel-Hamas War to protect and strengthen the security of their community centres, places of worship, and other institutions.
For a limited time, eligibility for SIP funding has been expanded to cover new sites, such as office spaces and daycares, that are clearly linked to communities at risk of hate-motivated crime, as well as to cover costs associated with time-limited security guards.
“Jewish Canadians are both in mourning and feeling under threat,” said Shimon Koffler Fogel, President and CEO, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). “Anti-Israel rhetoric or calls for violence against Jews and the justification – indeed, celebration – of the barbaric acts of Hamas have not only manifested at street demonstrations but also on campus, in unions, and in the public school system. They have targeted Jewish-owned businesses and are rampant in social media. This disturbing and intimidating behaviour has left our community reeling, forced to confront a level of antisemitism not seen since the Holocaust.”
“Expanding the eligibility for SIP is a meaningful improvement that will allow us to better protect our community members and institutions. We are grateful that the government is listening and reacting to community needs; however, the fact that eligibility would need to be expanded to specifically cover daycares is unconscionable.”
Though today’s expansion announcement of resources allocated to community security is welcome, CIJA has been advocating for additional emergency policy expansions and improved support from federal security and anti-hate initiatives to address the surge in hate currently directed at the Jewish community. The most immediate of these is streamlining SIP with collective security resources to allow non-profit organizations like the network of Jewish Federations and CIJA to apply for SIP grants to provide security materials, training, and infrastructure to the hundreds of smaller institutions that do not have capacity to apply for grants.
Other immediate priorities include:
- Improving the collection and reporting of hate crime data, with more frequent, more consistent, and more detailed releases of statistics
- Creating a National Advisory Board on Community Security, with representatives from vulnerable communities
- Tabling the long-awaited legislation to fight online hate
- Launching a national social media literacy campaign
“The Jewish community has long taken responsibility for securing the safety and wellbeing of Jewish institutions and the communities they serve,” said Fogel. “In recent years, the federal government has begun to step up with support, understanding that we cannot do it alone, nor should an at-risk community be expected to do it alone. Today, we are at a precipice. The hate and anti-Jewish racism running rampant on our streets must be tackled on every front. We will continue to work with governments at all levels to implement constructive policies beyond reactively funding additional security, looking instead and additionally at how to proactively diminish hate in all its forms.
“No one should live in fear because of who they are. Our proposed policy changes will help all vulnerable groups in Canada, providing communities and law enforcement with better tools to prevent and fight hate.”
- CIJA policy asks related to fighting antisemitism:
- 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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