B.C. government looks for public input on anti-racism data legislation

Rachna Singh, parliamentary secretary for anti-racism initiatives, announces public consultation to inform the provincial government on how to collect data in a way that is reflective of the needs and experiences of Indigenous, Black and people of colour communities. || B.C. government photo
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The province wants British Columbians to help shape its anti-racism data legislation.

The public consultation will inform the provincial government on how to collect data in a way that is reflective of the needs and experiences of Indigenous, Black and people of colour communities, according to a media release from the province.

The consultation will be done using an online tool called Sensemaker and will allow users to share their stories anonymously and in real time with researchers and policy makers.

“Black, Indigenous and racialized communities have been advocating for collection of disaggregated data for a long time, so we need to give them resources and follow their lead,” said Rachna Singh, parliamentary secretary for anti-racism initiatives. “It’s important that we hear from communities to get this right, so the data collected helps us fight racism and isn’t used to further perpetuate stereotypes and misconceptions.”

The public engagement will run until Nov. 30 and will be available in multiple languages, the province said. Singh will also meet with community groups for more targeted feedback this fall.

The province said it will also make grants available to support the conversations. The funding will be open to eligible community organizations and groups wishing to host their own engagement sessions.

“Systemic racism exists everywhere, including in government policies and programs, and we know that too many communities are facing barriers in their lives because of it,” Singh said. “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.”

The legislation, expected to be introduced in the spring, is intended to counter systemic discrimination and modernize government policies and services, such as policing, health care and education.

The new legislation will enable the consistent collection, use and disclosure of demographic data to identify the impact of systemic racism on groups and pave the way for crucial next steps to address racial inequity throughout the province.

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