British Columbians are being asked to help shape upcoming provincial anti-racism data legislation.
The new legislation will enable the collection of data disaggregated by race to identify the impact of systemic racism in areas like education, health care and policing. The province is aiming to introduce the legislation in spring 2022.
Until Nov. 30, people will have the opportunity to take an experience survey on systemic racism. Rachna Singh, parliamentary secretary for anti-racism initiatives, will also meet with community groups for more targeted feedback through fall 2021. Singh said that grants will be made available for community groups to host their own engagement events.
“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,” Singh said.
Over the past year and a half, B.C. has been confronted with issues of systemic racism. Anti-Asian hate crimes rose during the COVID-19 pandemic, a report delivered by Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond detailed systemic racism against Indigenous people in health care, racial justice protests were held across B.C. in summer 2020 and multiple B.C. First Nations have been sharing details of unmarked graves at former residential school sites on their territory.
The increased awareness of issues around systemic racism led the province to commit to anti-racism work. So far, the province has spent $2.9 million on anti-racism initiatives such as increasing funds for the new Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network and launching a province-wide anti-racism campaign. The province has also reinstated the B.C. Human Rights Commission, is currently reviewing the Police Act, developing a K-12 anti-racism action plan and attempting to root out anti-Indigenous racism in health care.
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