History books on the shelf (Image courtesy of Getty Images)History books on the shelf (Image courtesy of Getty Images)

Province mandating Holocaust education

Ontario is strengthening Holocaust education in the province's schools.

"Our government is decisively combatting the rise of antisemitism and hate in all its forms," said Minister of Education Stephen Lecce. "By including new mandatory learning in Holocaust education in elementary and secondary schools, we are ensuring students are never bystanders in the face of hate and division. We will ensure that 'Never Again' is our legacy to the next generation, as we safeguard and promote those fundamental Canadian values of democracy, freedom, civility, and respect."

The expanded learning will begin in September 2025.

Ontario's compulsory Grade 10 History course will now explicitly link the Holocaust to extreme political ideologies, including fascism and antisemitism in Canada in the 1930s and 1940s, and the contemporary impacts of rising antisemitism. This is meant to link to new mandatory learning about the significance of the Holocaust in the Grade 6 Social Studies course.

The province is also investing $650,000 in community partnerships to help learn about historical and present-day discrimination. These partnerships include:

  • Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies - to create an Antisemitism Classroom Toolkit curriculum resource for Grades 5 to 8 and a training workshop for teachers on how to teach students about the Holocaust.

  • the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs - to continue their work on a resource hub for educators and parents to learn about, identify, and take action to address antisemitism.

  • Liberation75 - to provide Holocaust and antisemitism education resources/supports for educators and students, as well as an online teacher resource to support Grade 6 Holocaust education.

  • the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem - to provide teaching materials related to the story of the MS St. Louis, a ship carrying Jewish Germans fleeing Nazi Germany to Cuba in 1939.

  • UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s Holocaust Museum - to create virtual and in-person tours for teachers and other Holocaust-related resources.

"Now, more than ever, our students need to learn about what happens when hate goes unchecked and we don’t stand up for each other," said Marilyn Sinclair, the Founder of Liberation75.

It's believed that these changes will help strengthen students' ongoing understanding of how to identify, respond to, and change harmful assumptions and stereotypes that can lead to tragic events like the Holocaust, including antisemitism and other forms of racism.

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