Today the Province of BC introduced long-awaited legislation to identify and address systemic racism and inequality in government programs and services.
The Anti-Racism Data Act will enable government to “securely collect and safely analyze demographic information on race, ethnicity, faith, gender, sex, ability, income and other social identity markers” in government programs and services where “using these statistics in the right way can show where there are systemic inequalities so we can address issues of discrimination, inequities and gaps in services,” the province stated.
The Act is the result of intensive consultation with racialized communities and community organizations, including S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Its goal is to support “the elimination of racism and discrimination, colonial bias, barriers or inequities in services and supports such as health care, rental assistance, child care, or improve housing programs for marginalized communities.”
“The first step in making change is having accurate data about the problem,” said Queenie Choo, CEO of S.U.C.C.E.S.S. and S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Foundation.
“The pandemic has heightened the severity of racism and hate crimes across our diverse communities, including a dramatic rise in anti-Asian hate, and we need a new approach to understanding and fighting racial discrimination in our province. This Act provides a new tool to track racism directly and fight it more effectively.”
Community organizations have been advocating for better government data on racism that is collected in collaboration with racialized communities and used for change. To date, community organizations have been filling that gap. For example, Vancouver’s project 1907’s anti-Asian reporting centre has been collecting hate crime data during the pandemic that shows incidents against Asians up 47 per cent across Canada in 2021 from the year before.
The Anti-Racism Data Act was one of the first pieces of legislation in Canada to be co-developed with Indigenous Peoples, including the First Nation Leadership Council and Métis Nation BC. Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives Rachna Singh (and the Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Branch) also consulted B.C.’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner and the Multicultural Advisory Council in developing the law. More than 13,000 people, including S.U.C.C.E.S.S. and 70 organizations, provided feedback.
“Racism in our province is not new, but this approach to understanding it is,” Choo said. “S.U.C.C.E.S.S. is committed to participate fully in this work to collectively advance anti-racism. To create transformative change, we have to be fully committed to anti-racism.”
Learn more about BC government anti-racism initiatives: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/antiracism/
Learn more about race-based data: https://bchumanrights.ca/publications/datacollection/
Learn more about S.U.C.C.E.S.S.’s anti-racism work: https://successbc.ca/news/anti-racism/