Saskatchewan Parliament
Saskatchewan ParliamentiStock

The Canadian province of Saskatchewan announced on Monday it is adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, to enhance education and awareness about the Holocaust.

"During this spiritual holiday season, it's important to come together in peace," Saskatchewan’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General Bronwyn Eyre said.

"Antisemitism is on the rise and must be condemned, along with all forms of intolerance and hatred."

The IHRA working definition offers a comprehensive description of antisemitism in its various forms, including hatred and discrimination against Jews, Holocaust denial and, sometimes controversially, the way antisemitism relates to the ways criticism of Israel is expressed.

More than half the states in the US have adopted or endorsed the IHRA definition, plus the District of Columbia, either as legislation or as an educational standard.

In addition to the federal government of Canada, the IHRA definition has been adopted by the provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, New Brunswick and Manitoba.

Jewish groups in Canada welcomed Saskatchewan’s move.

“We are thrilled that the Government of Saskatchewan has decided to adopt the IHRA definition,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “By instituting this key definition, the province provides hope to Jewish Saskatchewanians and all concerned about the current state of antisemitism.

“B’nai Brith Canada has worked diligently with officials to bring about this day, and we thank Premier Scott Moe and Minister of Justice and Attorney General Bronwyn Eyre for their leadership. We are ready to work with Saskatchewan to promote the IHRA definition as a tool that will aid policy makers and institutions in effectively combating Jew hatred.”

“The announcement by Premier Moe of the adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism is greatly appreciated by Saskatoon B’nai Brith,” said David Katzman, president of Saskatoon B’nai Brith Lodge No. 739. “This definition will help all of us to appropriately respond to the ugly antisemitism that is growing more obvious and even mainstream.”

Marvin Rotrand, National Director of B’nai Brith’s League for Human Rights, is equally pleased.

"The Government of Saskatchewan has recognized that antisemitism is on the rise in Canada and has adopted the IHRA definition to aid decision makers, civil servants and law enforcement better recognize and react to hate aimed at Jews in the province," he said. "We are convinced that the adoption of the IHRA definition will reassure the Jewish population in Saskatchewan while bolstering the tools at the province's disposal to eradicate hate targeting Jews.”

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) commended the Government of Saskatchewan as well.

“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,” said FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt. “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.”

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) said on Twitter that it “applauds the adoption of this important framework to identify, understand, and combat antisemitism.”