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A recent poll by BC’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner examined hate incidents in the province since the start of the pandemic.

The results of the poll released Wednesday showed that one in four people in B.C. have experienced or witnessed a hate incident during the pandemic. It is based on a survey of 800 B.C. adults conducted by Research.com for BCOHRC in December 2021.

The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty, according to BCOHRC.

“The intent of the inquiry is to examine hate in all its forms: not only racism and racial hate, but also hate directed at groups protected under B.C.’s Human Rights Code—including hate perpetrated on the basis of religion, gender identity, disability, Indigeneity, sexual orientation, poverty or homelessness,” said a release.

The commissioner’s office launched its year-long inquiry in August 2021, and once it is complete, the commissioner will release a final report. It will include recommendations to address, prevent, and eliminate hate incidents during times of crisis.

Of those polled, 80 per cent of people are concerned with the rise in hate incidents, and 26 per cent witnessed hate incidents during the pandemic. Additionally, nine per cent of respondents directly experienced a hate incident, and 16 per cent have been affected by hate incidents involving racism.

“It is an ugly and disturbing trend. Some members of our communities are being treated as less than human and therefore somehow deserving of vitriol and violence. It is devastating and unacceptable,” said Commissioner Kasari Govender.

“But hate is not inevitable. That’s why we are conducting a public inquiry into hate in the pandemic and why we need to hear from people who have firsthand experiences of hate. We want to ensure our recommendations are rooted in the experiences of those most impacted.”

Commissioner Govender is encouraging people who have had such experiences to fill out a confidential online survey at bchumanrights.ca/hate-survey.

The survey is available online from January 31st to March 6th, 2022, in 15 languages. It is also available by phone at 1-855-412-1933 or with peer support by emailing inquiry@bchumanrights.ca.

 

 

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