Press Release: CIJA Commends Universities Canada Policy Banning Discrimination Based on Place of Origin

For Immediate Release

October 26, 2016

Toronto, ON – Today, Canada’s university presidents voted to adopt a new criterion for member universities at a meeting of Universities Canada, which serves as the voice of 97 Canadian institutions of higher education. The new policy stipulates that “place of origin” must be included in university codes of conduct alongside other protected grounds, such as race, religion, gender, and physical and mental ability.

“We wholeheartedly commend Universities Canada and its membership for this ground-breaking decision,” said Judy Zelikovitz, Vice President of University and Local Partner Services at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). “The new criterion establishes that, by the end of the decade, all of Canada’s major universities will ensure their codes of conduct do not discriminate on the basis of national origin.

“This represents a crucial defeat for boycott-divestment-sanctions (BDS) activists, who openly call for discrimination against Israelis based on their country of origin,” Zelikovitz added. “Canada’s top academics are committed to building global partnerships, including with Israel’s world-class universities and scholars. This vote by Canada’s universities entrenches a zero-tolerance approach to bigotry based on nationality, and CIJA will be working hard to ensure that this policy is used to block BDS efforts.”

CIJA has had a long-standing, constructive relationship with Universities Canada. During a 2013 mission to Israel co-hosted by CIJA, Universities Canada signed a bilateral agreement with its Israeli counterpart to strengthen partnerships between universities in the two countries. For the past several months, CIJA has expressed support for greater protections against discrimination on the basis of nationality in conversations with Universities Canada.

To read more about the recent vote, please click here. 

This release has been slightly modified in light of new information, as of October 28, 2016.

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