Community organizations throughout B.C. are receiving funding to help them engage their members on race-based data collection as the Province moves forward with anti-racism data legislation.
“We made a commitment to move forward on anti-racism data legislation in partnership with communities, and I’m thrilled to see so many organizations stepping up to support this work,” said Rachna Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives. “I look forward to joining some of the community engagement sessions to hear first-hand their thoughts on how best to build and implement the legislation to support our work to address systemic racism and barriers in government programs and services.”
Funded organizations are each receiving as much as $25,000 to hold engagement sessions about how government should develop and implement anti-racism data legislation. Sessions are expected to finish at the end of January 2022. Projects range from in-person events to webinars that will engage an estimated 1,500 people. These organizations are drawn from throughout B.C., and include:
- Bangladesh Canada Cultural Association in Victoria, receiving $15,000 to host two community engagement workshops in Saanich and Victoria to develop recommendations for how government should use and collect race-based data, as well as policy and programming related to B.C.’s anti-racism initiatives.
- Canada Committee 100 Society, receiving $20,000 to host 10 public engagement sessions for Chinese-speaking communities to provide their thoughts on race-based data collection. Surveys will take place virtually and in-person in Vancouver, Richmond and Kelowna.
- Engaged Community Canada Society, receiving $25,000 to host 12 engagement sessions for people who are disproportionally impacted by racism and discrimination to give them an opportunity to provide input. Sessions will be tailored to each community and delivered in culturally appropriate formats.
- Mustang Justice at L.A. Matheson Secondary, receiving $5,000 to host four in-person engagement sessions for marginalized youth groups who are affected by systemic racism.
The Province is also partnering with First Nations and Indigenous leadership to engage Indigenous Peoples over the coming months. With the support of the First Nations Leadership Council, a research, data and Indigenous engagement consultant has been hired to lead engagement with individual First Nations. Métis Nation BC and the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres also have received grants to support consultation with their members and communities.
Alongside the community-led engagement, the Province has extended the deadline for the online survey on anti-racism data, which will now close on Jan. 31, 2022.
“We’ve had a great response to our consultation so far, with more than 2,200 British Columbians sharing stories of their experiences with providing personal information to government in the past, and we have extended the survey for another two months to give more communities the chance to add their thoughts,” Singh said. “By working with our community partners, we can be confident that we are moving forward in a culturally safe way to create a foundation for positive change to tackle racism in our province.”
In feedback received so far, in addition to sharing their experiences with government services, racialized British Columbians have indicated the importance that any race-based data legislation does not only enable the information to be collected, but also supports action that creates a more equitable province. Input has indicated that community engagement is an essential part of making this happen.
The Province is developing anti-racism data legislation with Indigenous partners, based on input over several years from key stakeholders, including the B.C. Human Rights Commissioner, racialized communities and Indigenous organizations. Feedback from the current community engagement work will be used to inform how best to develop and implement the legislation once it is introduced in 2022. Summaries of the current and ongoing community engagement sessions will be shared once they conclude in the spring.
Annie Ohana, Indigenous department head, L.A. Matheson Secondary –
“Racism impacts all people, including youth. The lived experiences of our children can teach us so very much on the systemic changes we need to make to truly have anti-racist societies. These sessions provide empowerment and celebration of youth voices that allow education to be a powerful transformer of worlds. We teach for transformation, and these sessions place our students at the centre of a new, more anti-racist world.”
Guo Ding, journalist, author, founder, Canada Committee 100 Society –
“We are in a time of fighting against systemic discrimination. The B.C. government is funding anti-racism data legislation engagement sessions, a pivotal step in that fight. This project will help us gather detailed, relevant data on a wide scale. It will also provide opportunities to allow the Chinese Canadian community, including new immigrants, to participate in the legislative process. I believe that the anti-racism data legislation and anti-racism act will help us make a more harmonious, inclusive and equal society for immigrants and many new generations to come. I would like to ask everyone in our community to participate.”
Upkar Singh Tatlay, founder and executive director, Engaged Communities Canada Society –
“One of the reasons we view this project as game-changing is that it empowers agencies that have long-standing relationships in racialized communities. This is unheard of and allows organizations like ours to bring to light the insights and testimonials from communities that not only we are part of – but also in which we have cultivated trust over many years. We are often relegated to leaving these valuable insights from community unexpressed, so it means a lot to finally have a project that gives these voices the outlet/platform they deserve.”
- On Sept. 9, 2021, the Province launched public consultation asking British Columbians to share their thoughts and experiences about how the Province should collect and use race-based data. This engagement will run until Jan. 31, 2022.
- Other actions that have been taken to make B.C. a safer and more inclusive place for everyone:
- investing $2.9 million to support several anti-racism initiatives, such as 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 anti-racism action plan for kindergarten to Grade 12 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.
For more information about the anti-racism data legislation and to complete the engagement, visit: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/antiracism/data
For more information about the anti-racism awareness campaign, visit: https://antiracist.gov.bc.ca/
For more information on what to do if you see or are the victim of hate crime, visit: www.resiliencebc.ca
For a backgrounder, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Anti-racism.pdf