Alberta Becomes Fifth Canadian Province to Adopt IHRA Antisemitism Definition

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announces the province's adoption of the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. Photo: Screenshot.

September 28, 2022

Alberta last week became the fifth Canadian province to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism.

“Remembering the Holocaust is a moral obligation — and antisemitism, like all forms of racism and prejudice, has no place in Alberta,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney declared. “In endorsing this internationally recognized definition, Alberta is doing its part to make sure we continue to learn from this painful history and promise never to repeat it.”

Nearly 1,000 entities — including more than three dozen countries — worldwide have adopted the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism since 2016, according to a study published by the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) and the Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University earlier this year.

The non-legally binding definition includes 11 explanatory examples detailing specific discriminatory behaviors targeting Jews and the State of Israel.

Alberta’s move was welcomed by Canada’s Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism and CAM Advisory Board Member Irwin Cotler, who called the IHRA antisemitism definition the “gold standard for understanding, recognizing, and thereby being better able to effectively combat antisemitism.”

Ontario,  British Columbia, Quebec, and New Brunswick are the other Canadian provinces that preceded Alberta in adopting the IHRA antisemitism definition, as did Canada’s federal government.

Michael Mostyn — CEO of B’nai Brith Canada — commented, “We thank the province for working with us over the past year to make this major development happen — its importance cannot be overstated.”

Shimon Koffler Fogel — President and CEO for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) — stated, “The Alberta government’s adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism is a clear affirmation of our elected officials’ recognition of the upsurge in hate targeting Jews and the need to counter this rise. Identifying antisemitism is the first step in recognizing its manifestations, which is key to standing against it. Today, Alberta joins governments across the country to say that enough is enough.”

According to new police-reported crime data published by Statistics Canada last month, the number of antisemitic hate crimes in Canada rose 47% in 2021 from the previous year, and Jews remained the country’s most-targeted religious group.

An annual audit conducted by B’nai Brith Canada showed an increase in antisemitic incidents for a sixth consecutive year in Canada in 2021.