COMMUNITIES throughout British Columbia will be safer and more inclusive for people with the launch of the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network, the Province announced on Wednesday.
“Every person deserves to live free from discrimination, but too many people in B.C. continue to face barriers, violence and prejudice simply because of who they are,” said Premier John Horgan. “Our government is stepping up to launch a network of supports that are proactive, innovative and coordinated across the province. We’re working to build a better province where people are free to be who they are and have the opportunity to reach their full potential.”
The total investment in the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network will be $540,000 annually. The network will offer a multi-faceted, provincewide approach that will provide greater focus and leadership in identifying and challenging racism. The program will connect communities with information, supports and training needed to respond to, and prevent future incidents of, racism and hate.
This program is the result of a series of community dialogues led by Ravi Kahlon, former parliamentary secretary for sport and multiculturalism, in July and August. The meetings explored issues and experiences around racism and hate, and asked community leaders for advice about how government can help build a safer, more inclusive province. Recommendations were made to redesign the existing Organizing Against Racism and Hate (OARH) program, to better support community organizations in their efforts to fight racism and hate. As a result, the Province is introducing the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network to replace the OARH program.
“Intolerance is on the rise in Canada and around the world, and we need to make sure there are supports in place to fight against hate of any kind,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “The Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network will give communities more tools to better respond to hate and help protect and celebrate the cultural diversity that makes us strong. This is part of our government’s commitment to make life better for every person, in every community in B.C.”
In the coming months, a request for proposals will be issued to identify a central service provider to deliver services provincially, and individual communities will be engaged in early 2020 to become part of a network of up to 40 local service providers. This program is one of many actions the B.C. government is taking as part of its ongoing commitment to stand up for diversity and eliminate racism and all forms of discrimination in British Columbia.
Anne Kang, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors and Multiculturalism, said: “I want to thank Parliamentary Secretary Kahlon for his leadership in laying the groundwork for this network of supports in the fight against intolerance and hate. I’m honoured to continue the important work of challenging racism to create a more welcoming and inclusive B.C. I believe in ending discrimination and I will stand up for human rights because it is a right for all British Columbians. Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect.”
Moussa Magassa, human rights education advisor, associate faculty, social justice program, University of Victoria, added: “I am very proud of the Government of B.C. for its commitment to multiculturalism and anti-racism education as a cornerstone to an inclusive and welcoming community. I define myself as the kind of person who believes in the crucial importance of relationships and human interactions. Racism shouldn’t have any place in these relationships. Instead, I believe in peace, respect and inclusion as the only sustainable alternatives for all of us.”
* According to Statistics Canada, the number of hate crimes reported nationally remained higher than any other year since 2009 (except 2017) and aligned with an upward trend observed since 2014.
* In 2018, reported hate crimes in Metro Vancouver were higher per capita than any other urban centre in Canada.
* Under Kahlon’s leadership, 21 community dialogues were held in 13 municipalities throughout B.C. These dialogues informed the design of the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network, which will replace the existing OARH program. The existing program had not been refreshed since 2010.
* The Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network will provide stronger co-ordination among existing communities by launching a central hub to share best practices, offer training and enhance communication among local, community-based organizations around the province.
For more information about the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network, visit: