Teresa Wat, Minister of International Trade and Multiculturalism, issued the following statement today after legislation to permanently remove discriminatory provisions in 19 historical private acts received Royal Assent from British Columbia’s lieutenant-governor:
“Government is pleased that the new Discriminatory Provisions (Historical Wrongs) Repeal Act has been passed by the legislature and officially placed into law.
“This act follows through on a commitment made in 2014 by Premier Christy Clark to review discriminatory legislation as part of government’s pledge to address historical wrongs committed by past provincial governments against Chinese Canadians. This commitment was supported by the entire legislative assembly.
“Over the past two years, Ministry of International Trade and Ministry of Justice staff reviewed nearly 2000 pieces of legislation dated from 1871, the year that British Columbia joined Confederation, to 1982, the year the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was introduced, to remove historical provisions (in legislation) that were discriminatory on the basis of ethnicity or place of origin.
“While the Chinese Legacy BC: Legislation Review Report released March 7, 2017, outlines how the vast majority of B.C. laws are free from discrimination and that new B.C. laws must conform to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the report also identified 19 obscure historical private acts that contain discriminatory provisions.
“By supporting the Discriminatory Provisions (Historical Wrongs) Repeal Act, government has acknowledged the tremendous contributions made by all ethnic groups to the social and economic development of this province and assisted in the symbolic effort to address historical wrongs and ensure they never happen again.
“The Province is also grateful for the assistance of Legacy Initiatives Advisory Council members for their support and guidance of this important project.”