In response to the troubling rise in antisemitism and hate crimes targeting Jewish people, the Ontario government has announced a comprehensive overhaul of Holocaust education in the curriculum. 

Starting September 2025, the Ontario government is set to implement an expansion of the mandatory grade 10 history curriculum. This expansion will involve a comprehensive exploration of the Holocaust. 

The course will be designed to link the Holocaust to extreme political ideologies such as fascism, the historical context of antisemitism in Canada during the 1930s and 1940s, and the ongoing repercussions of rising antisemitism in contemporary times.

Ontario’s Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, emphasized the province’s commitment to combating the rise of antisemitism and hate.

 “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,” he said. 

In conjunction with the curriculum expansion, Ontario is investing $650,000 in community partnerships to develop educational resources and training for teachers on the topic.

Groups to be consulted on the curriculum will include the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Liberation75, the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, and the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s Holocaust Museum. 

Together they will be developing educational resources, teacher training workshops, and online support materials to enhance Holocaust education for various grade levels and assist teachers in effectively delivering the content.

The initiative arrives against a backdrop of disturbing statistics. 

According to a 2021 survey by Liberation75, one in three teens in Canada and the United States think the Holocaust was fabricated, exaggerated or were unsure it happened.

In 2022, B’nai Brith’s Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents recorded 2,769 antisemitic incidents, marking one of the highest rates of hate crimes ever recorded in Canada. 

Jewish Canadians, who constitute only 1% of the population, were victims of 14% of all reported hate crimes in 2021, according to Statistics Canada. 

In 2021, police-reported hate crimes targeting Jewish people rose by 47% from the previous year.

The expansion of Holocaust education also complements mandatory learning introduced in the Grade 6 elementary curriculum last year. 

Ontario’s Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism, Michael Ford, highlighted the significance of the reform. 

“The new mandatory courses and educational resources will help students learn about the Holocaust and how antisemitism manifests today,” he said. 

British Columbia is also set to expand Holocaust education by 2025.