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Preserving Holocaust remembrance and combatting antisemitism

The Government of Canada is committed to reinforcing and strengthening Canada’s efforts to advance Holocaust education, remembrance and research, and to combat antisemitism. These are key elements of the promotion and protection of human rights at home and abroad. Canada’s Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism plays a critical role in advancing efforts to combat antisemitism here in Canada and internationally and to preserve Holocaust remembrance. This includes leading the Government of Canada’s delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

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The Holocaust, or “Shoah” in Hebrew, was an unprecedented genocide perpetrated by the Nazi regime with the aim of annihilating all Jewish people. During the Holocaust, more than 6 million Jews – or approximately two-thirds of Europe’s Jewish population – were murdered. The total death toll of all groups targeted by the Nazi regime is 11 million people. This includes ethnic Poles, Roma and Sinti populations, Soviet citizens, LGBTI persons, people with disabilities, and political and religious dissidents.

The history of the Holocaust highlights the mass atrocity and genocide that can happen when any form of hatred and discrimination is normalized. This is why Canada is unwavering in its commitment to combat antisemitism, hatred, and racism here and around the world. Holocaust remembrance, education and awareness are needed to stop the rise of discrimination and authoritarianism worldwide. With the alarming surge of Holocaust denial and distortion both online and offline, it is essential to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and to educate younger generations. This duty is particularly important now as we are losing the last generation of Holocaust survivors – the primary witnesses of the atrocities of World War II.

Canada’s efforts to combat antisemitism and preserve the memory of the Holocaust are rooted in our commitment to:

The Government of Canada is committed to stand against antisemitism and all forms of hatred and discrimination as we promote and protect human rights globally. One way we act on this commitment is through our bilateral relationships and multilateral engagement at the:

We know that antisemitism is not a problem for Jewish communities to solve alone – it is a global challenge that all of us must take on.

Canada’s membership in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance

Canada’s commitment to human rights and combatting antisemitism at home and abroad is anchored in our membership and work with the IHRA.

The IHRA is an international institution composed of 35 member countries and 8 observer countries. They are devoted to Holocaust education, remembrance and research, and united through a shared commitment to the Stockholm Declaration (2000), the outcome of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust in 2000. As the only international institution mandated to focus on issues related to the Holocaust, the IHRA promotes awareness about the far-reaching negative impacts of antisemitism around the world and seeks ways to end it. Canada has been a proud member of the IHRA since 2009 and served as its chair from March 2013 to February 2014.

Canada strongly supports and encourages the wide adoption and implementation of the IHRA’s non‑legally binding working definition on antisemitism (PDF) and illustrative examples, which the IHRA adopted by consensus in May 2016. The Government of Canada adopted the IHRA definition on antisemitism domestically through Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2019 to 2022.

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

- IHRA definition of antisemitism

We are proud of the distinctly Canadian connection to this IHRA antisemitism definition, which is drawn verbatim from the 2010 Ottawa Protocol on Combatting Antisemitism. The Ottawa Protocol was unanimously adopted by Parliament in 2011 and is anchored in the equality rights and anti-discrimination provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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Canada's Special Envoy


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