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Bernie Farber

Human Rights Advocate, Executive Director Mosaic Institute

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.
How an Israeli Entrepreneur Sailed into Canadian

How an Israeli Entrepreneur Sailed into Canadian History

Gil Blutrich, an Israeli born entrepreneur moved to Canada after many successful business ventures. However the one project of which he is so very proud is his purchase of the grand old lady of the Great lakes; the last remaining ship of its kind, the SS Keewatin. Thanks to a Canadian Israeli with a true sense of history, a relic of our past will now remind Canadians of a proud maritime era.
07/22/2012 12:11 EDT
Will Bill C-31 Reject More

Will Bill C-31 Reject More Romas?

One of the more pernicious elements of the new Immigration and Refugee Bill C-31 is the so-called "Designated Safe Country" (DSO) rule. This would designate certain countries as "safe" more or less assuring that refugee claims from any such countries would be quickly rejected. The Romas are a prime target.
07/16/2012 11:15 EDT
Jacob's Ladder: A Story of Community

Jacob's Ladder: A Story of Community Building

Jacob Schwartz is a lucky 15-year-old boy. Though he was diagnosed at birth with Canavan disease, a usually fatal illness that targets the central nervous system virtually robbing its victims of most basic human functions such as sight, speech, cognitive abilities and mobility, Jacob is still a lucky boy.
07/06/2012 11:40 EDT
The Evolution From Bathhouse Raids to Pride

The Evolution From Bathhouse Raids to Pride Parades

Another Canada Day, another successful Pride Parade along the streets of downtown Toronto. As in previous years one of the largest parades of its kind saw hundreds of thousands of people lining the streets. The Parade itself covers less than a mile or two of Toronto's streets but the geography is far less important than the message it sends. It was only 30 years ago this February that Toronto Police raided the city's gay bathhouses, arresting more than 300 innocent men.
07/04/2012 10:40 EDT

The "Mensch" I Hope Wins the Nobel Peace Prize

Jean Vanier has been nominated to receive the 2012 Nobel Prize for Peace. If there's one man who truly understands the importance of kindness, compassion, understanding, and, it's Jean Vanier, the Founder of L'Arche.
06/29/2012 05:48 EDT
The Doctor Who Risked His Reputation to Oppose Bill

The Doctor Who Risked His Reputation to Oppose Bill C-31

On Monday, Cabinet Minister Joe Oliver made a federal funding announcement at Toronto General Hospital. However, within minutes of Minister Oliver taking the podium, something truly exceptional occurred; emergency room doctor Chris Keefer walked boldly up to the front of the room. Despite attempts by a hospital administrator to shut down Keefer's interruption, he nonetheless persisted.
06/26/2012 03:25 EDT
Without Section 13, All Hate Crimes Are the

Without Section 13, All Hate Crimes Are the Same

As a result of MP Brian Storseth's private member's bill to repeal Section 13, consequences and remedies we once had under a civil rule of procedure to deal appropriately with the promulgation of hatred is no longer. Where a complaint under Section 13 could result in cease and desist orders or at most a fine, today the only tool left to guard against hate promotion targeting Jews, LGBTQ, First Nations, Muslims and other faith and ethnic groups are two hate laws.
06/22/2012 05:32 EDT
Why Our Family Spent Father's Day With the

Why Our Family Spent Father's Day With the Homeless

This past Father's Day our family chose to spend Sunday as volunteers with the Jewish humanitarian relief organization Evangel Hall in downtown Toronto serving meals to the homeless. It was an experience we will not soon forget.
06/18/2012 05:42 EDT
Peter Lewin: The Canadian Indiana

Peter Lewin: The Canadian Indiana Jones

On June 7, 2005, Peter Lewin, a little known doctor and scientist, died all-too-young.Though a pediatrician by trade, he was a pioneer in the field of paleopathology, a field that employs modern medical investigative techniques to unlock secrets within human remains. A pediatrician trusted by his patients, few knew that this kind and genteel man with an old world charm hid an Indiana Jones persona...
06/15/2012 05:25 EDT
The Eaton Centre Shooting Doesn't Make Toronto

The Eaton Centre Shooting Doesn't Make Toronto Dangerous

The Eaton Centre shooting this past weekend is not the first time Toronto has been faced with such angst. Yet despite the latest violent outburst, our city remains a safe place. We're very lucky to live in Toronto; in comparison to many other urban centres in North America, crime and violence rarely touch us.
06/07/2012 05:12 EDT
Niagara's (Very, Very) Haunted

Niagara's (Very, Very) Haunted Past

The story of "Sobbing Sophia," a ghost in Niagara-on-the-lake, cannot help but touch your heart. I heard it for the first time when my wife and I decided to take a couple of days and travel there. The town is rich with haunted history, and if you take a look around you might just see something not of this world...
06/05/2012 07:56 EDT
Let the Bully Bloggers Talk Amongst

Let the Bully Bloggers Talk Amongst Themselves

It was difficult for bullies to gain a public pulpit. Letters to newspapers were closely monitored to ensure that slander and intimidation were not published. Magazines and television likewise; the professional mainstream media for the most part undertook the responsibility to self-regulate. Today anyone can publish virtually anything, and personal attacks are de rigueure.
05/28/2012 12:13 EDT
This 22-Year-Old's Battle for

This 22-Year-Old's Battle for Life

Courtney's story is one of struggle and hope. While she was attending McGill University in 2009 she fell ill and simply couldn't shake it. Doctors finally diagnosed Courtney with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Courtney's life came tumbling down around her.
05/23/2012 03:10 EDT
Human Rights Museum Plans to Bring New Meaning to

Human Rights Museum Plans to Bring New Meaning to "Never Again"

After the Holocaust, we said "never again." After the Vietnam War, we said "never again." After Cambodia, we said "never again." But time and time again, we've gone back on our word. When will we, as a nation, and a people, stand up and say, "enough is enough?"
05/18/2012 08:25 EDT
No Dogs and Jews

No Dogs and Jews Allowed

In cottage country, and even on Toronto's beaches up to the mid 1950s, it was common to see signs that read "No Dogs or Jews Allowed." Though we, as a nation, have made great strides in the name of human rights for all, we cannot be complacent. There cannot be justice for Jews if there is not justice for everyone.
05/13/2012 12:37 EDT
Bullies Know no

Bullies Know no Politics

I am pleased to see the need to finally address bullying in law is before the Ontario legislature, but sadly, there have been some who for political purposes want to delay Bill 13. This is not a bill with which to play politics.
05/07/2012 05:13 EDT
War Criminals -- At Any Age -- Should Be

War Criminals -- At Any Age -- Should Be Punished

This week Canadian and international media reported on new evidence against an alleged Nazi war criminal living in Ormstown, Quebec. For the sake of the victims, we must demand continued justice with no get-out-of-jail- free card for perpetrators who have reached old age.
05/02/2012 05:25 EDT