VICTORIA, B.C. – The province says at least 13,000 British Columbians participated in consultations on how the government can safely and thoughtfully use specific data to address systemic racism.

Starting in September 2021 and ending in January 2022, the province connected with Indigenous Peoples and racialized communities to better understand how to improve services and address systemic racism in B.C. They did this by safely collecting data about the individual’s identity without revealing who they are.

In those four months, 13,052 people during over 450 sessions shared their perspectives through online public engagement, community-lead engagement, engagement with Indigenous leadership, Indigenous Peoples and racialized communities.

According to the ministry of attorney general, over 90 per cent of the people in these engagements believed that collecting demographic data could bring about a positive change in B.C. and be a step towards building trust between the government and these communities.

The province provided $1.1 million to support almost 70 community organizations to lead their own sessions to contribute.

The findings included the importance of gathering data that aligns with how people prefer to identify themselves, the need for data and security standards for the safe storage and use of information collected, and the need for communities to be involved in deciding how their data is used and shared.

The anti-racism data legislation, which will be introduced in the next few weeks, addresses the issues raised through engagements and build upon what was already recommended from B.C.’s Human Rights Commissioners report, “The Grandmother Perspective” and the In Plain Sight report from Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, according to the release.

“For years, Indigenous, Black and people of colour have faced long-standing inequities and have been left out of the development of services and supports,” said Rachna Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-racism Initiatives. “This legislation is built on the tireless labour and advocacy of Indigenous partners, Black and racialized communities. Their voices are at the centre of this legislation, and it will help advance racial equity in British Columbia.”

The Province also says it will continue to work closely with Indigenous, Black and people of colour through the development and refinement of the legislation.

To learn more about the engagement process, click here.

To read the reports, click here.

Shailynn Foster

Shailynn Foster is a news reporter for energeticcity.ca. Shailynn has been writing since she was 7 years old, but only recently started her journey as a journalist. Shailynn was born and raised in Fort St. John and she watches way too much YouTube, Netflix and Disney+ during the week while playing DND on the weekends.