The province said it will create a racist incident hotline in response to a recent increase in racist activities in B.C.
The multilingual service will be used to report incidents and receive support. It will be not be delivered by police, the province said.
“Although there are some challenges in direct comparison, when comparing our province with communities across North America on a per-capita basis, there can be no doubt we are a major hot spot for anti-Asian racism. This is unacceptable and more action is needed,” said David Eby, attorney general. “Even more concerning is that some people may be reluctant to report incidents through existing avenues like calling the police, which may mean we have an under-reporting of the scope of the problem. This hotline will lower the barrier for reporting incidents, helping us better direct further action and be more rapid in our responses.”
Anti-Asian hate crimes in Vancouver increased by over 700 per cent in 2020 compared to the previous year, according to the province.
The hotline is not intended to replace emergency response. The province said the hotline will provide a culturally safe venue for people to report incidents and obtain support services.
The data collected from the hotline will be used to support future anti-racism initiatives, including legislation that will pave the way for race-based data collection. The government said it hopes to use data from the hotline to inform its future efforts to combat racism.
Consultations with Indigenous partners and other groups related to race-based data collection is underway, with broader public engagement planned for this summer, according to the province.