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Saskatchewan Becomes Seventh Canadian Province to Adopt IHRA Antisemitism Definition

Saskatchewan’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General Bronwyn Eyre. Photo: Brian Zinchuk.

December 21, 2022

Saskatchewan on Monday became the seventh Canadian province to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism.

“During this spiritual holiday season, it’s important to come together in peace,” Saskatchewan’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General Bronwyn Eyre stated. “Antisemitism is on the rise and must be condemned, along with all forms of intolerance and hatred.”

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.

Michael Mostyn — CEO of B’nai Brith Canada — said he was “thrilled” by the Saskatchewan government’s decision.

“By instituting this key definition, the province provides hope to Jewish Saskatchewanians and all concerned about the current state of antisemitism,” Mostyn commented.

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center President and CEO Michael Levitt said, “This is a welcomed move by the Government of Saskatchewan, which joins a growing list of Canadian provinces that are choosing to take a strong stand against the rising tide of antisemitism. By adopting the IHRA definition, a critical tool that helps institutions recognize and confront antisemitism, the government sends a message to the Jewish community in Saskatchewan and across Canada that it is a committed ally in the fight against Jew-hatred.”

Saskatchewan’s move was also praised 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 “most authoritative, comprehensive, and internationally-representative definition that we have.”

“Antisemitism knows no borders, and it is critical that governments across Canada work together to combat it,” Cotler added.

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

According to police-reported data published by Statistics Canada, 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.