Bernie Farber
A proud fighter for human rights, Bernie Farber is one of Canada’s leading experts on minority and human rights, race relations and antisemitism.

For over a decade working for the Youth Services Bureau and the Children’s
Aid Society in Ottawa, Bernie specialized in assisting at-risk youth and battered women. After moving to Toronto, Bernie made his mark with the Canadian Jewish Congress, where he worked on human relations issues for over 25 years serving the last seven years as its CEO.

At Congress, he was able to take his passion for community and social work to a broader stage, becoming a champion of inter-ethnic cooperation and social justice. Always one to fulfill his local responsibilities, however, Bernie has served on several local and provincial boards including as Chair of the North York Committee for Community Race and Ethnic Relations, the York Region Community Safety Committee and the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police.

He was appointed by the Attorney-General of Ontario to serve on the Hate Crimes Community Working Group and was awarded an Ontario certificate of merit by the Premier of Ontario for his work in Race Relations.

Bernie has also been awarded the Canadian 125 Medal by the Governor-General of Canada for his work in race relations, and has recently received the prestigious Meir Medical Center’s Medal of Honour for his human rights work in Canada and internationally.

Bernie has led numerous workshops on anti-discrimination issues; has been involved in training police, defence and crown attorneys on matters of hate crime, bias and inter-ethnic/faith sensitivities. An accomplished speaker and author he has written for numerous Canadian and international publications on human and civil rights including the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, National Post and a host of magazines and other publications.

Bernie has also appeared on television and radio both as a spokesperson for the Jewish community as well as an expert on anti-discrimination issues.

Entries by Bernie Farber

Cleveland, It's Time To Drop Your Racist Logo

(16) Comments | Posted October 19, 2016 | 4:25 PM

So why is it important to speak out strongly against the use of a racist indigenous character as the logo for the ill-named "Cleveland Indians?" Simply because racism matters.

I vividly remember what it was like for me as a young boy growing up in Ottawa attending a...

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The Vision And Legacy Of Murray Sinclair

(1) Comments | Posted May 24, 2016 | 1:50 PM

In December 2015 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission handed down its final report in Ottawa. You could hear a pin drop in the cavernous Ottawa Congress Centre. The silence accentuated the muffled cries and spilling tears as Justice Murray Sinclair Chair of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)...

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It's Time To End The Stigma Of Immigration In Canada

(11) Comments | Posted April 21, 2016 | 2:27 PM

On Tuesday April 19, 2016, I was a witness on behalf of the Mosaic Institute to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration hearings regarding Bill C-6 "Bill C-6: An Act to Amend the Citizenship Act." This is an edited version of my remarks.

Today I hope to...

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Safe And Affordable Housing For Refugees Needs To Be A Priority

(17) Comments | Posted February 11, 2016 | 9:53 AM

Canada is now fully entrenched in its goal to rescue 25,000 Syrian refugees. And while the timelines may be a bit longer than anticipated, the commitment is real and ongoing.

Many issues confront government as they continue down the rescue path but possibly the most urgent is one of housing.

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Her Last Hanukkah Made Us Believe In Life's Little Miracles

(0) Comments | Posted December 11, 2015 | 2:20 PM

This article first ran in the Toronto Star on Dec. 30, 2003. Memory is a fleeting thing. In these days if there is not a digital presence keeping memory alive is difficult indeed. I re-submit this story 12 years later as a Hanukkah present to Joanne's son who recently turned...
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The Spirit of Stratford's Stone Maiden Inn

(0) Comments | Posted May 5, 2015 | 5:40 PM

Who would have guessed that a short weekend trip to Stratford Ontario to see Sound of Music would culminate in a story of spirits and ghost busting?

For middle spring it was a beautiful Saturday morning, sun shining brilliantly temperatures hovering at around 22°C Sunday threatened to be very similar....

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How This Immigrant Family Helped Mold Canada's Conscience

(0) Comments | Posted January 21, 2015 | 3:58 PM

The story of the MS St. Louis is at once filled with hope, drama, dashed dreams and in the end tragedy. It is the story set within the backdrop of the modern era's most catastrophic genocide, the Holocaust. As we approach International Holocaust Remembrance Day the Story of...

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James Keegstra: The Death of an Antisemite

(1) Comments | Posted June 15, 2014 | 5:09 PM

James Keegstra is dead. Some might ask who was James Keegstra?

It was James Keegstra that defined for Canada the limits of our tolerance for intolerance. It was an epic battle that that began in a small Alberta town ending in the Supreme Court of Canada.

Keegstra was a high...

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How Canadian Jewry Got a Holocaust Monument

(0) Comments | Posted May 20, 2014 | 2:25 PM

Last week a design was confirmed for the remarkable Holocaust Monument to be erected in Ottawa in 2015.

In March 2011 Executive Director of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, Yoram Ashkenazi and I on behalf of Canadian Jewish Congress had the great honour of representing...

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What's the Real Truth About Canada's Refugee System?

(1) Comments | Posted March 10, 2014 | 1:10 AM

Peter Kent's article "The Truth About Canada's Immigration System" published in the Huffington Post March 6, 2014, has left me quite shocked, beginning with the headline itself.

We have two very different systems according to the Canadian laws that persist even under the Harper government. One for...

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Canada Fails the Test of a Good Society

(6) Comments | Posted March 2, 2014 | 11:58 PM

In a recent press release, Citizenship and Immigration Canada made several troubling assertions about federal policies towards refugees.

First, the government claims "In 2011, there were approximately 6,300 asylum claims from EU countries -- more than from Africa or Asia."

So what? Human rights reports document

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Don't Be Too Quick To Praise John A. Macdonald

(41) Comments | Posted February 22, 2014 | 9:01 AM

Canadians love their heroes. Be it Guy Lafleur, Terry Fox, Tim Horton, or even Whipper Billy Watson (am I dating myself?) we have a strong need to pay tribute to those among us who have brought honour to this country. However when...

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Christmas by Any Other Name

(0) Comments | Posted December 27, 2013 | 11:06 AM

As the cold winter wind blows in from the north there are a few things that are inevitable. Snow has to be shovelled and the predictable war of words regarding the depiction of Christmas will be played out in newspapers across the country.

Who can forget the monumental foolishness of...

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Two Jews Reflect on the Meaning of Christmas in Canada

(6) Comments | Posted December 24, 2013 | 8:12 AM

Nothing more than Christmas speaks to a time when we all want to feel good about the world and ourselves. Brotherly/sisterly love, peace on earth, goodwill towards all is a refrain that moves us, Jew and non-Jew alike.

As Canadian Jews we have both embraced this time of the year...

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Even Today, Refugees in Canada Seek Sanctuary in Churches

(0) Comments | Posted December 11, 2013 | 4:25 PM

How is it possible that in Canada in 2013 "sanctuary," a medieval concept of Church protection, is still necessary? As we reflect on International Human Rights Day, commemorated on December 10, we must also contemplate the fact that desperate, stateless people have come here with a...

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I Will Never Forget What Nelson Mandela Said to Me

(2) Comments | Posted December 7, 2013 | 10:40 PM

It was June 1990, a hot summer day and one I have never forgotten. Only a few months earlier the iconic leader of the anti-apartheid movement, Nelson Mandela had been released from serving a 27-year jail sentence and was in the midst of a tour to Europe and...

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JFK Was Killed on My 12th Birthday, November 22, 1963

(0) Comments | Posted November 22, 2013 | 7:02 AM

It was an unusually warm day for late November, over 55F (we hadn't yet started using Celsius), sun was shining and I was anticipating a pretty good party to celebrate my 12th birthday. Yes no doubt about it, November 22, 1963 would be a good day.

It began like all...

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On Remembrance Day: Honouring a Hero of Juno Beach

(3) Comments | Posted November 10, 2013 | 9:59 PM

Soldiers were not alone in ensuring victory over the Nazis during the Second World War. Many unsung heroes instead of rifles carried stethoscopes, surgical equipment and medical supplies. Without the pluck of those doctors, medical aids, nurses and others, all part of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps...

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How Canada Committed Genocide Against the First Nations People

(160) Comments | Posted October 18, 2013 | 12:31 PM

On Monday October 14th Former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Phil Fontaine, Elder Fred Kelly a survivor of the genocide that was designed 'to kill the Indian in the child' and a living specimen of the nutritional experiments conducted in at least six residential schools between 1947-1952,...
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Reject Quebec's Charter of Intolerance

(8) Comments | Posted September 17, 2013 | 3:24 PM

How is it possible that in the 21st-century the largest province in Canada seems to have regressed to a point where its PQ government openly taunts us with laws that are on its face anti-democratic, discriminatory and reek of intolerance?

Quebec Premier, Pauline Marois, and the Partie Quebecois have put...

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