Vancouver, BC – October 30, 2023 – Tonight, flanked by members of British Columbia’s Jewish community, including Holocaust Survivors and their descendants, and representatives of the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre (VHEC), the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), and the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, Premier David Eby announced that, beginning in 2025, B.C. will mandate Holocaust education as part of B.C.’s K-12 curriculum.
“When left unchecked, antisemitism culminates in some of the darkest chapters in human history. By learning from the Holocaust, we honour the memories of its victims and, we hope, contribute to preventing future tragedies,” said Ezra Shanken, CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver. “Whether it’s distortion of Holocaust history or misinformation about Hamas’ terrorist attacks, both are rooted in antisemitism, and today’s announcement shows the B.C. government’s commitment to creating a safer society for all.”
The Ministry of Education and Childcare will soon begin consultations with B.C.’s Jewish community and other stakeholders to develop the Holocaust education curriculum, which will be rolled out for students in Grade 10 in the 2025-26 school year.
“The introduction of mandatory Holocaust education in B.C.’s K-12 curriculum builds on more than 30 years of work by VHEC, which is dedicated to supporting teaching and learning about the Holocaust and its relevance today,” says Nina Krieger, Executive Director, VHEC. “The Second World War ended 78 years ago and, each year, there are fewer Holocaust Survivors who can share their first-hand experiences and insights with students. At a time when antisemitism is once again spiking, Holocaust education is more important than ever. It is now up to us to honour Survivors’ legacies and share their lessons with future generations.”
This decision makes B.C. the second province in Canada to introduce mandatory Holocaust education. In September, Ontario’s Ministry of Education implemented a mandatory learning requirement of Holocaust education in their Grade 6 curriculum. The Ontario ministry also supported the development of Unlearn It, a free, bilingual online resource hub for educators and parents to support children in grades 6- 8 in learning about antisemitism, how to identify it, and take action to address it.
“Education is key to ensuring that our children learn to combat hate and that the Jewish community can live in a safer province,” said Nico Slobinsky, Vice President – Pacific Region, CIJA. “Our community has always stood with other racialized and ethnocultural groups, because we know that an attack on one compromises the safety of all. This announcement allows us to share the experiences of Survivors and, by doing so, learn how to create a safe British Columbia. We look forward to working with the B.C. government on implementing mandatory Holocaust education in our province’s K-12 curriculum.”
- The Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre was opened in 1994 and reaches more than 25,000 students per year.
- In B.C., hate incidents targeting Jewish people rose by 59% between 2019 and 2021.
- 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.
About the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA, representing 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.
About Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver
Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver is the central planning, convening, facilitating, and fundraising organization for the local Jewish community. Through the Federation Annual Campaign, special project funding, and the Jewish Community Foundation, the Jewish Federation generates the funds needed to meet community needs today, tomorrow and for years to come. Jewish Federation works collaboratively with more than three dozen partner organizations, unifying their work. Together, we touch the lives of thousands of community members locally, in our partnership region in Israel, and around the world.
About the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre
The Vancouver Holocaust Centre Society for Education and Remembrance was founded in 1983 by survivors of the Holocaust. The founders’ goal, realized in 1994, was to leave a permanent legacy in the form of the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre devoted to Holocaust-based anti-racism education. Typically reaching more than 25,000 students each year, the VHEC is Western Canada’s leading Holocaust teaching museum, dedicated to the promotion of human rights, social justice and genocide awareness through education and remembrance of the Holocaust.
For more information or to coordinate interviews, please contact:
Associate Director, Policy and Communications, Pacific Region
Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
Director, Media Relations and GTA Communications
Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
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