BRITISH Columbians are encouraged to help shape B.C.’s anti-racism data legislation so government can better identify existing gaps and create a more inclusive, equitable province.
The public consultation will help inform government about how to collect data in a way that is reflective of the needs and experiences of Indigenous, Black and people of colour (IBPOC) communities.
“Systemic racism exists everywhere, including in government policies and programs, and we know that too many communities are facing barriers in their lives because of it,” said Rachna Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives, on Thursday. “This engagement will help shed more light on the experiences of people using government services in B.C., so that we can break down these barriers they’re facing, identify gaps and deliver better supports. It will also ensure that our approach to collecting data meets the needs of IBPOC communities and does not exacerbate existing systemic issues.”
British Columbians are encouraged to share their stories and experiences to help illuminate recurring themes and issues. SenseMaker, an online tool, will be used to let users share and reflect on their own stories anonymously and in real time with researchers and policy makers.
The public engagement will run until November 30 and will be available in multiple languages at https://engage.gov.bc.ca/antiracism/data
Alongside this public engagement, Singh will meet with IBPOC community groups for more targeted feedback in fall 2021. There will also be a focused effort to meet with IBPOC individuals who may have also experienced discrimination for other reasons, such as their gender, sexual orientation, faith or ability.
Based on feedback from people and communities, the Province is also making grants available to support these conversations. The grants will be open to eligible community organizations and groups wishing to host their own engagement sessions with their community members.
“Black, Indigenous and racialized communities have been advocating for collection of disaggregated data for a long time, so we need to give them resources and follow their lead,” Singh said. “It’s important that we hear from communities to get this right, so the data collected helps us fight racism and isn’t used to further perpetuate stereotypes and misconceptions.”
Introducing anti-racism data legislation is part of the parliamentary secretary’s mandate provided by Premier John Horgan to tackle racism and make B.C. a more equitable, inclusive and welcoming place for everyone. This legislation, which is expected to be introduced in spring 2022, is essential to fighting systemic discrimination in the province and modernizing government policies and services, such as policing, health care and education.
This new legislation will enable the consistent collection, use and disclosure of demographic data to identify the impact of systemic racism on groups and pave the way for crucial next steps to address racial inequity throughout the province.
Other actions that have been taken to make B.C. a safer and more inclusive place for everyone include:
* investing $2.9 million to support several anti-racism initiatives, including increased funding for the new Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network, as well as more than 190 community organizations working to address racism and diversity throughout B.C., and a provincewide anti-racism awareness campaign.
* reinstating the B.C. Human Rights Commission;
* reviewing the Police Act, developing a K-12 anti-racism action plan and tackling anti-Indigenous racism in health care;
* working to introduce a new anti-racism act; and
* developing a multilingual racist-incident hotline for British Columbians to report racist incidents and receive support and referrals.