B’nai Brith Canada began a series of roundtables on Thursday promoting the importance of adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism aimed at government bodies and jurisdictions.

The first B’nai Brith IHRA Symposium series was held in Vancouver, British Columbia where the advocacy organization shared its message with provincial community leaders concerned about antisemitism.

At the symposium, B’nai Brith shared with participants the history of antisemitism, the ability of the IHRA definition to combat and identify hate and the definition’s practical applications. Participants were encouraged to ask questions, make recommendations and to collaborate in pursuit of constructive solutions.

Similar processes will take place at B’nai Brith symposia in coming weeks and months across Canada, B’nai Brith said.

According to B’nai Brith’s League for Human Rights, antisemitic incidents have decreased in some jurisdictions that have adopted the IHRA definition.

B’nai Brith noted that antisemitism may be criminal, depending on the circumstances, but the IHRA definition can help define both criminal and non-criminal forms of antisemitism. For Canadian domestic purposes, B’nai Brith explained that the definition should be viewed as a practical tool for institutions to use in fulfilling their mandates as they pertain to antisemitism.

“Our IHRA symposia represent important opportunities to establish a national dialogue, rooted in the latest research, on practical tools to effectively combat antisemitism,” B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn said.

The event was partly funded by the government of Canada.

“We appreciate the government of Canada’s support of this project and consider it a prime example of non-profits collaborating with governments to effect positive change,” Mostyn said.

“We look forward to our planned visits across the country and meeting with Canadians of all backgrounds. These meetings can only help us accumulate the necessary feedback to bring about vital action.”