Why is a Human Rights Commission important?

Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms to which everyone is entitled. Human rights are important because they respect the inherent dignity in human life. A strong human rights system contributes to the health of our communities, our families and our workplaces by supporting a society that values belonging and security for all.

What are my rights: The B.C. Human Rights Code

Everyone in British Columbia has rights and duties under the B.C. Human Rights Code (the Code). The Code‘s purpose is to make sure that people can participate equally in the economic, social, political and cultural life of British Columbia. The Code does this by forbidding discrimination based on certain personal characteristics in areas of daily life.
The personal characteristics protected in the Code may apply to certain situations only, and include: race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age (19 and older), criminal conviction, political belief, and lawful source of income.
Everyone in B.C. has human rights protections. You or someone you know may have been impacted by human rights violations. Being able to identify, combat and prevent human rights violations makes our communities stronger.

What is the difference between a Tribunal and a Commission?

Currently, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal is responsible for accepting, screening, mediating and adjudicating human rights complaints. The Tribunal offers the parties involved the opportunity to resolve the complaint through mediation. If the parties do not resolve a complaint and the complaint is not dismissed, the Tribunal holds a hearing.
A human rights commission can work to promote, protect and advance human rights through research, education and policy development. This public engagement process will inform the role, functions and priorities of B.C.’s new Human Rights Commission.

Why is a Human Rights Commission needed?

Currently, British Columbia is the only province in Canada without a human rights commission. The previous commission was dismantled in 2002 in favour of a complaint-driven tribunal. In order to prevent discrimination, address it when and where it happens, and address systemic inequalities, the Province must be proactive in providing resources and education to inform the public about the issues.