Every year, our synagogues, day schools, and JCCs collectively spend millions on security, including hiring paid-duty police officers during the holidays. Frankly, I wish these measures weren’t necessary. No one should feel unsafe in their place of worship, school, or community centre.
But the sad reality is that, according to Statistics Canada, the Jewish community is the most frequently targeted religious minority when it comes to hate crimes. In 2016 – the most recent year for which data are available – an antisemitic hate crime took place roughly every 36 hours in Canada.
Many of these crimes target Jewish institutions, as well as those of other at-risk communities. While the federal government’s Security Infrastructure Program (SIP) provides vital support to help with the costs of physical security infrastructure, it does not fund security guards and training.
This is why we are urging the provinces to provide security funding to community institutions beginning with the Ontario Government in its upcoming budget. We are asking the province to consider funding for training staff and volunteers in security procedures as well as funding to cover 50% of the costs of hiring paid-duty police officers to protect institutions at key times – such as synagogues during the High Holidays or special events.
Shimon Koffler Fogel