VICTORIA, B.C. – The Province is asking British Columbians to give input to help government identify existing gaps and create a more inclusive, equitable province.

According to a release, this consultation with the public will help inform government about how they should be collecting data that reflects the needs and experiences of Indigenous, Black and people of colour (IBPOC) communities.

“Systemic racism exists everywhere, including government policies and programs, and we know that too many communities are facing barriers in their lives because of it,” said Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives, Rachna Singh. “This engagement will help shed more light on the experiences of those using government services in B.C., so that we can break down these barriers they’re facing, identify gaps and deliver better supports. It will also ensure that our approach to collecting data meets the needs of IBPOC communities and does not exacerbate existing systemic issues.”

An online tool called SenseMaker will be used to let users share and reflect anonymously, in real time, with researchers and policy makers.

A focused effort will be made to meet with IBPOC individuals who have experienced discrimination for other reasons like gender, sexual orientation, faith or ability.

According to the release, the Province will also make grants available to support these conversations for community organizations and groups who want to host their own engagement sessions with their community members.

“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 Singh. “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.”

Premier Horgan introduced anti-racism data legislation as a way to make B.C. a more equitable, inclusive and welcoming place for everyone, says the release. The legislation is expected to be introduced in the spring of 2022.

According to the Province, “this 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 inequality throughout the province.”

Some other actions the Province says it has taken include an investment of $2.9 million to support the new Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network and a provincewide anti-racism campaign, as well as the development of a new anti-racism act.

To share your experience, go to the engagement portal of the B.C. government website.

The public engagement period will end on November 30th, 2021. Along with the public engagement period, Singh will meet with IBPOC community groups for additional feedback in the fall.

According to the SenseMaker data, 61 respondents have completed the survey as of 3 p.m. Thursday.