How safe are Canada’s Jewish institutions from attacks?

Congregation Shaar Hashomayim in Montreal, was vandalized by antisemitic graffiti. (Photo courtesy Rabbi Adam Scheier/Facebook)

In July 2021, the Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair attended an event at a Chabad Lubavitch centre in Markham, Ont., where he announced the government would spend $8 million to help non-profit faith community groups update their buildings’ security. The money is meant to go towards projects like fortifying doors, installing cameras, erecting fences, training security guards and improving lighting. Recipients can include places of worship, private schools and community centres—anywhere that might be the target of a hate crime.

In the last week, the ministry in charge of dispensing these funds extended the deadline for a new round of grants, and issued a reminder to organizations to submit their applications by Oct. 6.

Vancouver’s Jewish community has been taking advantage of the funding over the years, including for the JCC of Greater Vancouver, which is undergoing a multimillion-dollar rebuilding campaign. Blair visited the site in August to see firsthand how the money was being used.

One of the men accompanying Blair was Bernard Pinsky, a lawyer and longtime volunteer who heads up the security advisory committee for Jewish Vancouver. He joins to give some advice about security plans and strategies, and what fears keep him up at night.

What we talked about:

  • Read: “Toronto is getting pop-up sites to help report antisemitic incidents during High Holidays” (
  • Watch Bill Blair’s announcement for a new round of security grants at the Chabad center in Markham on Public Safety Canada’s Twitter page


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