Ontario’s Education Minister has condemned a video showing a group of students chanting “Heil Hitler” as deeply disturbing.
Police in North Bay, Ontario, have launched an investigation into the video, which features students of Ecole Secondaire Catholique Algonquin.
The students were filmed on school property, according to CBC News.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce was asked about the video on Wednesday morning, and in response called anti-Semitism “a great scourge” and pointed to the prevalence of hate crimes committed against the Jewish community, as quoted by the North Bay Nugget.
Lecce, said anti-Semitism is a “very real issue” affecting all regions of Ontario, adding he believes this requires “collective energies” to change the hearts and minds of young people.
“And I think we really need to continue to emphasize the need for Holocaust education,” he said.
Lecce referenced a partnership announced over the summer that will see $327,000 committed for training and resources for educators and students to combat anti-Semitism. The funds are being provided to the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies.
Canada has seen a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in recent years.
In late March, Statistics Canada released its annual survey of police-reported hate crimes which found that Jews have remained by far the most targeted religious group for hate crimes in Canada.
The Statistics Canada report found that there were 1,946 police-reported hate crimes in Canada in 2019, up 7 percent from a year earlier.
In April, B’nai Brith Canada released its Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, which found that anti-Semitic incidents in Canada have increased 18 percent since 2019.
The study affirms that Canadian Jews remain the most targeted religious group in the country.