British Columbia has appointed the first members of the Anti-Racism Data Committee, a key part of B.C.’s recently enacted Anti-Racism Data Act, focused on dismantling systemic racism in all provincial government programs and services.
Nearly 160 people applied to join the Anti-Racism Data Committee and 11 were selected. The committee will be chaired by June Francis, a professor at Simon Fraser University, whose work focuses on equity, diversity and inclusion for racialized groups.
“We had overwhelming numbers of qualified and passionate people apply. It just shows how determined people are to dismantle systemic racism across B.C.,” said Rachna Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives. “We’ve selected 11 members who will help us identify how we can improve government services for racialized people. I look forward to the committee’s work as we build an anti-racist B.C. that works for everyone.”
As an action to implement the Anti-Racism Data Act, the committee has been created to identify and break down barriers in government programs and services for Indigenous, Black and other people of colour. It is the first anti-racism act in Canada to be co-developed with Indigenous Peoples.
Committee members represent the diversity of B.C. and will provide input about how demographic data will be collected and used safely in order to illuminate gaps in government services and dismantle systemic barriers to government programs. The committee will recommend priorities for research, and review statistics prior to their release to prevent future community harms.
The committee’s work will be supported by a voluntary population survey, conducted by BC Stats and built with Indigenous, Black and other people of colour. Once this data is collected it will be linked with existing program data and used to analyze key sectors, such as education, policing and health care.
“The Anti-Racism Data Committee will be a critical partner in the implementation of this important legislation,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “In order to build programs and services that work for all people in B.C., we need data that represents all people in B.C. But trust is critical here – so when we collect data, when we undertake anti-racism research, when we release statistics about racialized people’s use of government programs under this act, we will do it in collaboration with this committee and the wealth of knowledge and lived experience that they bring to the table.”
The committee’s inaugural meeting will be next month. Members will meet regularly to help the Province develop data standards and directives to guide how government collects and uses data to improve programs and services for Indigenous and other racialized communities. The committee will also work with government to set research priorities and release statistics by June 2023.
“This groundbreaking Anti-Racism Data Act seeks to ensure that B.C. is a province where all people, regardless of race, can flourish,” said Francis. “The anti-racism data committee will be critical to realizing these aspirations. The committee is constituted to ensure the representation of Indigenous and racialized communities and will work hard to ensure the promises made to address systemic racism and gaps in service in the public sector are realized. This will involve a continuous process of working with communities, including their perspectives, and maintaining cultural safety as we collaborate with government to establish key research priorities. The primary focus will be to gather and monitor data to close the racial equity gaps that exist in the public service.”
The Province will continue to work in partnership with the committee, as well as with Indigenous Peoples and racialized communities, to ensure that the implementation of the act is informed by lived experiences.
The Anti-Racism Data Committee is an important part of the Province’s commitment to dismantle systemic racism and build a better, more inclusive province for everyone.
- Between September 2021 and January 2022, more than 13,000 people provided input about the development of the Anti-Racism Data Act.
- The Anti-Racism Data Committee will use this feedback, as well as the information collected through the voluntary population survey, to develop data standards and directives.
- Statistics from the population survey beginning this year will be released, along with defined research priorities, in summer 2023.
For more information about the Anti-Racism Data Act, visit: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/antiracism/
To read the Anti-Racism Data Act, visit: https://www.bclaws.gov.bc.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/22018
A backgrounder follows.