Why legislation is needed
We know that systemic racism exists everywhere, including in government policies and programs, and this must change. Data related to race, ethnicity, faith and other factors can help expose where and how Indigenous Peoples and racialized communities are experiencing systemic racism in government services. However, there is currently no consistency in whether government collects this information or how it is used.
Legislation will make sure this kind of information is collected, used and disclosed in consistent and culturally safe ways. With this information, we can identify where there is racism in government systems, programs and services. That will help us deliver better services for more people and create a more inclusive, equitable province.
Indigenous Peoples and racialized communities have been asking government to improve the collection, use and access to race-based data for a long time. These communities have said they want better data to understand their community members’ experiences with public services – such as education, healthcare, housing and policing – so that systemic racism can be identified and addressed. They have also said that legislation is needed to make sure that the information is collected, stored and used in a way that is culturally safe and does not cause harm to the communities it is trying to help.
The Human Rights Commissioner also highlighted this issue in her report, Disaggregated Demographic Data Collection in British Columbia: The Grandmother Perspective, and stressed the importance of working with communities to make sure they are involved in the collection and use of their personal information to avoid making existing systemic issues worse.
That’s why we have worked with community organizations to talk directly with Indigenous and racialized leaders and community members, and will continue to do so every step of the way. We want to make sure we understand how to introduce legislation that helps address systemic racism. We also want to make sure that it upholds Indigenous Peoples’ right to self governance.
This legislation will be an important tool that will give the B.C. government and Indigenous Peoples and racialized communities better information to drive action and change.
What is systemic racism?
Systemic racism occurs through inequalities that are built into services, systems and structures, often caused by hidden biases that disadvantage people based on their race. For many Indigenous and racialized communities, this results in unequal access, poorer outcomes and negative experiences with public services such as education, healthcare, child welfare and policing.