Canada has recognized the Holocaust as a “unique and unprecedented tragedy in human history” and has affirmed its commitment to acknowledge, remember, and learn from the atrocity. According to the Canadian government, Canada is home to the fourth-largest Jewish population in the world and one of the largest populations of Holocaust survivors. After World War II, nearly 40,000 Holocaust survivors resettled in Canada. A number of private and nongovernmental organizations across Canada provide assistance specifically tailored to the needs of Holocaust survivors, including financial aid, counseling, restitution and compensation assistance, social activities, support groups, and social work services.
Canada played an important role in World War II. More than one million Canadians served in the Canadian Armed Forces during the war, and more than 43,000 Canadian soldiers lost their lives. During the period leading up to, during, and shortly after World War II, however, Canada refused entry to some European Jewish refugees, allowed immigration policies that discriminated against Jews, and engaged in the internment of German and Austrian Jewish refugees and Japanese Canadians. In 2018, Prime Minister Trudeau apologized for the country’s anti-Semitic immigration policy and to all who “paid the price of Canada’s inaction” during the Holocaust.
Politicians across the political spectrum have expressed public support for restitution and compensation to Holocaust survivors and their heirs for property seized during the Holocaust. Canada helped draft the Terezin Declaration and endorsed it in 2009. It also endorsed the Terezin Guidelines and Best Practices in 2010.