The government of Canada marked May as Jewish Heritage Month on Monday by honoring the “courage and resilience that members of Jewish communities have shown throughout history and beyond.”

“Today marks the beginning of Jewish Heritage Month, a time to celebrate and recognize Jewish culture, faith, history and the immense contributions the communities have made to the social, political and economic fabric across Canada,” said Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion Ahmed Hussen.

Noting that Canada is the “proud home” of 400,000 Jews, the fourth-largest community in the world, Hussen praised Jewish Canadians for playing “important roles in advancing medicine and the sciences, human rights, philanthropy, the media, the arts, and business.”

However, he stressed the importance of recognizing that Jewish communities in Canada and globally continue to face mounting antisemitism and hate.

“This is a lived reality for the communities, it is unacceptable, and it is our collective responsibility to denounce and combat hate whenever and wherever it occurs,” he said.

To help combat antisemitism at home and abroad, the Canadian government has allocated $5.6 million over five years to support the work of the Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism, Irwin Cotler. The government also doubled Canada's annual contribution to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

“Our government provided $20 million to support the construction of the new Holocaust Museum in Montréal and $2.5 million for the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre in Toronto,” Hussen said. “We also amended Canada's Criminal Code to make it a crime to wilfully promote antisemitism by condoning, denying or downplaying the Holocaust.”

He encouraged Canadians to “take this opportunity to reflect and learn more about the inspirational role Jewish Canadians have played and continue to play in our society.”

“Let us continue to educate ourselves and the next generation on the importance of building a safer, more diverse and inclusive society for all,” he added.