This Week in Canadian Jewish Advocacy, May 5, 2024

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|May 05, 2024
This Week in Canadian Jewish Advocacy

This week, we reached out to leadership at major Canadian post-secondary institutions to provide guidance on building formal plans for security and enforcing policies, called on Ontarians to tell MPPs to make post-secondary campuses safer for all students, and celebrated the contributions of the Jewish community to Canadian society.  

Read on to learn more. 


Antisemitism and anti-Jewish hatred on university campuses has only escalated since October 7, becoming more virulent and pervasive. Confidence in our post-secondary institutions has been severely shaken by the challenges to effectively address the rising tide of overt antisemitism and hate on Ontario campuses.  

If passed, Bill 166 — introduced this spring by Jill Dunlop, Ontario’s Minister of Colleges and Universities — would make it mandatory for every post-secondary institution in Ontario to implement an anti-hate policy.  

We are facing a pivotal moment on campus. Condemnation from elected officials is not enough. It’s time for action. Help us tell all MPPs they need to support these initiatives. 

Please join us tomorrow, Monday, May 6, at 11 a.m. ET to commemorate Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. The event takes place at the National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa. This event is free and open to the public. You can also watch the livestream here.

Every person—students, faculty and staff— has the right to feel safe on campus. Since October 7, along with all Canadians of good conscience, we have been anxiously witnessing the sharp rise in antisemitic and anti-Israel demonstrations on campuses across Canada. In recent weeks, in addition to the regularly scheduled hateful rallies over the past six months, anti-Israel encampments were erected on several campuses, a dangerous trend taking hold across the continent that shows no sign of abating.

CIJA shares the Jewish community's grave concern about this movement and has been working closely with partners and allies to respond to the encampments.

Our team has taken many proactive steps with the objective of keeping our students, faculty, and staff safe at Canadian post-secondary institutions. They include warning administrators about the likelihood of encampments being established on their campuses and advising senior leadership to develop safety plans and enforce institutional policies in collaboration with campus security and local law enforcement. Many Presidents have confirmed that plans are in place to enforce their institutional policies should encampments be erected and/or convocation ceremonies be targeted. Disturbingly, as we have seen in the US and in Canada, even being fully prepared is not enough. In addition to and in collaboration with CIJA’s actions, local Hillels and Federations have messaged university administrations and campus security.

Below are highlights of relevant actions and developments:

  • British Columbia The CIJA Pacific Region team is providing support to local Hillels as the province deals with encampments at the University of Victoria, Vancouver Island University, and the University of British Columbia. We are working with administrations, campus security teams, and local law enforcement.
  • Alberta The encampment at the University of Alberta was dismantled on April 26, and we are not expecting encampments at the University of Calgary or Mount Royal University. Local Hillels and Federations are in close contact with administrations and campus security teams at universities in Edmonton and Calgary.
  • Manitoba Campus administrations and security teams have assured our Manitoba and Saskatchewan team that a plan is in place to address potential encampments. Although there are no encampments at this time, one is planned for next week at the University of Manitoba.
  • Ontario CIJA issued an action alert asking Ontarians to urge MPPs to support Bill 166, which will increase university accountability during these challenging times. With encampments at University of Toronto, Toronto Metropolitan University*, uOttawa, Western (currently dismantled), and more expected, CIJA has been in regular contact with Hillel Ottawa and Hillel Ontario. Hillel Ontario launched Stop the Hate, a petition for community members to send emails to administrators. They've also written to administrators and campus security warning of potential issues and asking for confirmation on four points related to putting plans in place for security and policy enforcement. Hillel Ottawa and the Jewish Federation of Ottawa have written administrators and campus security requesting immediate action be taken when the University of Ottawa encampment was announced. [*TMU UPDATE: Although the organizers called for an encampment, the resulting activity at TMU did not have tents but rather a solidarity sit-in, with involvement from Samidoun, a group with a direct affiliation and ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – an organization that has been placed on the list of terrorist entities under Canada’s Criminal Code since 2003.]
  • Quebec The CIJA QC team is actively engaged with university leadership, including at McGill University regarding the encampment there. McGill has publicly acknowledged the antisemitism at the encampments and has asked SPVM to remove protestors. CIJA has been working to support Federation CJA and the local Hillel, while engaging with all levels of government and media. Premier Legault reaffirmed that the encampment is illegal and that to preserve the peace in our city and on our campuses we can no longer tolerate the glorification of the October 7th Massacre, or calls for Jewish students to return to Europe as we are hearing on McGill campus. Mayor Plante was more ambivalent, and we have since called her out. In response to the escalating tensions on the McGill campus, a coalition of Jewish students, faculty, alumni and community members gathered on campus to affirm their unwavering support for Jewish and non-Jewish students' safety and academic freedom.

CIJA has also been in regular communication with Universities Canada on issues of importance to the Jewish community. They are sharing information and best practices nationwide, helping members combat antisemitism; protect students from violence, harassment, and hate speech; and create safe, respectful spaces that support learning and freedom of expression. We will continue to monitor the situation on Canadian campuses and will update you with any developments. If you know of any incidents or developments, please let us know! You can email us at [email protected] or fill out this form.

Campus Resources

  • GUIDANCE CIJA’s campus page on our website outlines guidance for parents and alumni that reflects the general concerns on campus.
  • REPORTING In any emergency situation, please call 911 right away. If you experience or witness an antisemitic incident, please report it here. We also recommend reporting the incident to your local Hillel (a list can be found here).
  • ENGAGEMENT We recognize that you may want to voice your concerns to the administration at the post-secondary institutions in your region. Please feel free to use the example template on our campus page and update it to include encampment details and anything else relevant to your concerns.
  • LEGAL  Students, faculty, and staff requiring legal help can contact CIJA’s Legal Task Force by emailing [email protected]
  • LEARN  CIJA’s Myths & Facts and Resource Hub sections have valuable resources to learn more about relevant terms and concepts as you navigate challenging conversations on and off campus.
  • FACULTY  We encourage faculty members to connect with support organizations such as NECA, DARA, and JMAO. Please contact us for additional assistance in connecting with relevant faculty organizations and affinity groups.

Community Calendar

Communities are gathering in cities across Canada in support of the people and land of Israel. Find an event near you.

May | Jewish Heritage Month
May 5-6 | Yom HaShoah
May 12-13 | Yom Hazikaron
May 13-14 | Yom Haatzmaut
May 20 | Victoria Day
Jun 12-13 | Shavuot

CIJA in the News 

Proposal to teach Palestinian history in schools faces backlash (CBC)

Vancouver police made an arrest based on a viral video of a woman praising terrorists-a few days before she was spotted at the encampment at UBC (Canadian Jewish News)

Montrealers rally at McGill against anti-Israel hate (The Suburban)

Terry Glavin: Group banned in Germany gets carte blanche in Canada to glorify Hamas massacre (National Post)

Toronto Metropolitan University Sued For Anti-Semitic Environment (Ottawa Life Magazine)

Protesters at McGill pro-Palestinian encampment are staying put despite warning for them to leave (CBC)

McGill University calls pro-Palestinian encampment illegal, campers vow to stay (Toronto Star)

KINSELLA: Charities linked to Hamas helping fund protests, report finds (Toronto Sun)

Community Careers

Associate Director, Communications & Marketing - CIJA
National senior professional, External Affairs - CIJA
Associate Director, University Relations - Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, CIJA
Associate Director Advocacy, Public and Independent Schools - Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, CIJA

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations across Canada

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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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About CIJA
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA, representing Jewish Federations across Canada.