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Shaar Hashomayim receives federal security funding

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Congregation Shaar Hashomayim in Montreal.

Congregation Shaar Hashomayim has received a federal grant of over $26,000, under the government’s Security Infrastructure Program (SIP).

In making the March 11 announcement, Transport Minister Marc Garneau, the MP for Notre Dame de Grâce-Westmount, said that SIP supports the right of Canadians to practise their faith and culture without fear.

The grants are intended to enable religious and cultural institutions to put in place measures to protect them against hate-motivated crimes. SIP is administered by the Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

This grant will go toward upgrading the large Westmount, Que., synagogue’s security infrastructure, including the installation of a closed-circuit surveillance system with 34 cameras.

“In a climate of widespread and pervasive concern over random acts of anti-Semitism, our goal is to ensure that our members, students, staff, visitors and neighbours are always well protected,” said the synagogue’s president, Claire Berger.

“An integrated video camera surveillance system will significantly increase the safety and security of our Shaar family.”

In 2017, the government doubled the SIP budget, promising an additional $5 million over five years for a total allocation of up to $10 million until 2022. Each year, $2 million will be available to not-for-profit organizations that are connected to a community that’s at risk of being victimized by hate-motivated crime, to make needed security improvements.

Approved proposals may receive up to 50 per cent of the total cost of the project, to a maximum of $100,000.

“Acts of intolerance do not reflect our Canadian values of acceptance, diversity and inclusion. Regardless of our backgrounds, we should all feel safe – where we live, work, gather and pray,” stated Garneau. “There is no social licence for hate, not in Canada.”

Interested places of worship, provincially and territorially recognized schools, and community centres can apply annually from Dec. 1 to Jan. 31 and from June 1 to July 31, through Public Safety Canada’s website.