FSWC Applauds Ontario Government for Mandating Holocaust Education in Elementary Schools

November 9, 2022

News Release

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MPP Patrice Barnes, MPP Robin Martin, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce, FSWC Chair Fred Waks, FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt, MPP Will Bouma, Solicitor General Michael Kerzner, Liberation75 Founder Marilyn Sinclair, Holocaust survivors Andy Reti and Nate Leipciger, MPP Andrea Khanjin and MPP Graham McGregor with students from St. Andrew's Middle School

Toronto (November 9, 2022) – Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) commends the Government of Ontario for making Holocaust education mandatory in elementary schools for the first time.

Minister of Education Stephen Lecce made the announcement this morning during a news conference at Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue in Toronto, where he unveiled a series of actions the government is taking to combat rising antisemitism in schools across the province.

The Ontario government will be revising the Grade 6 Social Studies curriculum to include mandatory learning about the Holocaust. Currently, students are only required to undergo Holocaust education in Grade 10.

The revised curriculum will be implemented in the new school year starting in September 2023.

The Ontario government has also outlined community resources it is investing in to further help students learn about antisemitism and how to address it, including FSWC’s Antisemitism Classroom Toolkit (ACT). ACT is a resource guide that provides parents and educators the content and learning strategies necessary to guide young learners through a curriculum-compatible introduction to the often complex and difficult topic of antisemitism.

“Recent studies amongst Canadian youth have revealed an overwhelming lack of knowledge about the history of the Holocaust, the ultimate example of what happens when hate is left unchecked,” said Michael Levitt, FSWC President and CEO. “We commend the Ontario Ministry of Education for taking this monumental step in ensuring that the lessons from the Holocaust and the legacy of survivors are never forgotten.”

Read the Government of Ontario’s media release here

FSWC will continue to bring additional Holocaust, antisemitism and human rights education to students and professionals across Canada, including with its Tour for Humanity mobile education centres. Every year, FSWC educates tens of thousands of Canadians through both in-person and virtual programs, inspiring them to stand up against antisemitism and all forms of hate.

FSWC Chair Fred Waks, Holocaust survivors Andy Reti and Nate Leipciger and FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt

FSWC Chair Fred Waks, Solicitor General Michael Kerzner and FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt

Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce announcing mandatory Holocaust education in elementary schools during a press conference at Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue in Toronto.