FSWC Strongly Welcomes Ontario’s Expansion of Holocaust Education in High Schools

November 1, 2023

News Release

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Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce announced the expansion of Holocaust education in high schools at the Toronto Holocaust Museum (Nov. 1, 2023)

Toronto (November 1, 2023) – Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) applauds the Government of Ontario’s just-announced expansion of Holocaust education in high schools and additional investments in resources and teacher training to support learning about the Holocaust and antisemitism in schools across the province.

According to a statement issued by the Ontario Ministry of Education today, the province will introduce expanded mandatory learning about the Holocaust in the compulsory Grade 10 History course. It 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.”

The Ontario government is also investing $650,000 in community partnerships, including FSWC’s Antisemitism Classroom Toolkit curriculum resource for Grades 5 to 8 and training workshop for teachers on how to teach students about the Holocaust.

“The Ontario government’s decision to expand and strengthen the Holocaust education students receive in Grade 10, in addition to the new mandatory learning about the Holocaust that launched for Grade 6 students at the start of this school year, is a critical and welcomed move,” said FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt. “As we witness a significant rise in antisemitism across the province and country, this enhanced Holocaust education will help ensure young people understand the dangers and impact of antisemitism and hate and the importance of standing up against it. We are thankful to Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Education Stephen Lecce for their steadfast commitment to ensuring Canadian youth learn the history and lessons of the Holocaust and the message of Never Again.”

This announcement comes nearly a year after the Ontario Ministry of Education announced its decision to become the first province in Canada to mandate Holocaust education in elementary schools. The Grade 6 social studies curriculum has since been revised to include lessons on the Canadian government’s response to the Holocaust, acts of hate and human rights violations, experiences and contributions of Jewish communities and the impact of antisemitism.

On Monday, following the lead of Ontario, the Government of British Columbia announced its plans to make Holocaust education mandatory in Grade 10.

Ontario Minister of Long-Term Care Stan Cho, Rabbi Yoseph Zaltzman, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce, Holocaust survivor Nate Leipciger, FSWC Board Chair Fred Waks and FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt