TORONTO —The Ontario government is introducing new and expanded mandatory learning about the Holocaust in the compulsory Grade 10 History course. In addition, the province is investing $650,000 in community partnerships that provide resources for students and educator training to expand learning on fundamental Canadian values, including the importance of safeguarding democracy from extreme and harmful ideologies.
“Our government is decisively combatting the rise of antisemitism and hate in all its forms,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “By including new mandatory learning in Holocaust education in elementary and secondary schools, we are ensuring students are never bystanders in the face of hate and division. We will ensure that ‘Never Again’ is our legacy to the next generation, as we safeguard and promote those fundamental Canadian values of democracy, freedom, civility and respect.”
“We are no longer alone”
Powerful words from Holocaust survivor Nate Leipciger who joined us as I announced the expansion of Holocaust education in all High Schools.
— Stephen Lecce (@Sflecce) November 2, 2023
Starting September 2025, new expanded learning about the Holocaust in the Grade 10 History course will explicitly link the Holocaust to extreme political ideologies, including fascism, antisemitism in Canada in the 1930s and 1940s, and the contemporary impacts of rising antisemitism.
This expanded learning will build on the current Grade 10 History curriculum about how the Holocaust impacted Canadian society and the attitudes of people in Canada toward human rights. The course complements new mandatory learning on the significance of the Holocaust included in Grade 6 Social Studies, strengthening students’ ongoing understanding of how to identify, respond to and change harmful assumptions and stereotypes that can lead to tragic events like the Holocaust, including antisemitism and other forms of racism.
To help students learn about historical and present-day discrimination, Ontario is investing $650,000 (2023-24) in community partnerships including:
- Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies to create an Antisemitism Classroom Toolkit curriculum resource for Grades 5 to 8 and a training workshop for teachers on how to teach students about the Holocaust
- the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs to continue their work on a resource hub for educators and parents to learn about, identify and take action to address antisemitism
- Liberation75 to provide Holocaust and antisemitism education resources/supports for educators and students, as well as an online teacher resource to support Grade 6 Holocaust education
- the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem to provide teaching materials related to the story of the MS St. Louis, a ship carrying Jewish Germans fleeing Nazi Germany to Cuba in 1939
- UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s Holocaust Museum to create virtual and in-person tours for teachers and other Holocaust-related resources
Ontario’s revisions to both the elementary and secondary school curriculum demonstrate its ongoing commitment to strengthening anti-hate training for Ontario students and educators. New course guidelines for teachers developed by the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) will be ready by 2025 so they can begin developing courses to help support their efforts to educate students on the Holocaust.
- According to a 2021 survey on antisemitism and Holocaust knowledge conducted by Liberation75, one in three teens in Canada and the United States think the Holocaust was fabricated, exaggerated or are unsure it actually happened.
- In its 2022 Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, B’nai Brith logged 2,769 incidents, among the highest rates of hate crimes ever recorded in Canada.
- Holocaust Education Week is recognized every year from November 1 to 9, and honours the survivors of the Holocaust and commemorates those murdered by the Nazis.
- Jewish Canadians remain the most targeted religious minority for hate crimes in Canada, according to Statistics Canada. While Jewish Canadians make up one per cent of the population, they were victims of 14 per cent of all reported hate crimes in 2021.
- In 2021, Statistics Canada found that police-reported hate crimes targeting the Jewish religion were up 47 per cent from the previous year.
- In 2021, Ontario launched the new Anti-Racism and Anti-Hate Grant Program, which focuses on increasing awareness on the impact of racism and hate. It is a two-year investment of $1.6 million.
“Hate has no place in Ontario. The recent rise in incidents of hate and intolerance are deeply concerning. The new mandatory courses and educational resources will help students learn about the Holocaust and how antisemitism manifests today. By learning from the atrocities of the past, we can stand up and stop antisemitism and hate in all its forms and build a stronger, safer and more inclusive Ontario for all people.”
– Michael Ford
Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism and MPP for York South—Weston
“Our Jewish Community is integral and important to the legacy of the quilt of Ontario, a quilt made up of different cultures and diversities. Mandatory Holocaust education sets a high bar and is an example of unprecedented government leadership so that we can teach our children the lessons of history, so mistakes of the past are not repeated again.”
– Michael Kerzner
Solicitor General and MPP for York Centre
“Sadly, as we enter Holocaust Education Month, we are witnessing one of the most significant rises of antisemitic incidents in recent history, both in Canada and around the world. Therefore, the efforts of Minister Lecce and Ontario’s Ministry to Education to create and implement new Holocaust curriculum and offer support for projects like FSWC’s Antisemitism Classroom Toolkit and the Toronto Holocaust Museum, are more important than ever. We are grateful for the Ontario government supporting the programming on the Holocaust and antisemitism that is offered to educators and students through FSWC and other like-minded organizations. We know that education is the best way to address antisemitism, racism and hatred in all of its forms.”
– Michael Levitt
President and CEO, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC)
“Now, more than ever, our students need to learn about what happens when hate goes unchecked and we don’t stand up for each other. We applaud Minister Lecce’s leadership in mandating Holocaust education in Grade 6 for the first time in Canada. As we witness increasing antisemitic incidents in classrooms across the province, we know the timing couldn’t be better – and our students will be better for it.”
– Marilyn Sinclair
Founder of Liberation75
“CIJA commends the Ontario government for its dedication to enhancing Holocaust education and implementing anti-hate and anti-racism initiatives and educational tools to combat racism in schools. The precedent-setting Holocaust education curriculum and investment in ‘Unlearn It’ ensures that history is preserved and that critical tools are available to educate students about the harrowing repercussions that hate being allowed to fester can have on society, especially in view of the increasing prevalence of antisemitism in Ontario.”
– Jaime Kirzner-Roberts
Vice President – GTA, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA)
“It is essential that we empower our youth to develop the critical thinking skills required to recognize and counter antisemitism and hatred in all forms. This requires expanding access to meaningful and modern Holocaust education. It also means introducing students to the story of our Toronto Jewish community—including our history, our values and our role in the development of Canada’s diverse society. As our community faces a growing rise in antisemitism, we are grateful to Minister Lecce for investing in the important mission of the Toronto Holocaust Museum—and ensuring that the difficult lessons of the past are made relevant today.”
– Dara Solomon
Executive Director, Toronto Holocaust Museum, UJA
“The International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem, The World Holocaust Remembrance Centre, is pleased to partner with the Ontario Ministry of Education on age-appropriate resources and training tools as part of the implementation of the new Holocaust Education Curriculum in Ontario.”
– Shael Rosenbaum
National Chair, Canadian Society for Yad Vashem
SOURCE Province of Ontario