This summary highlights key learnings from Section 1 of the report. Download our full report (PDF, 23MB) for more information and details. You may also click on a heading below to open up that section of the PDF report.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a time of loss and fear. People have experienced stress and anxiety. This led to increases in hate towards certain people and groups. B.C.’s Human Rights Commissioner, Kasari Govender, held a public inquiry about the rise of hate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Terms of reference

The Inquiry into hate in the COVID-19 pandemic asked:

  1. What caused the apparent rise of hate incidents in B.C. during the COVID-19 pandemic?
  2. What kinds of hate have individuals and communities in B.C. experienced during the pandemic, and how have these experiences affected them?
  3. How can we address, eliminate or prevent hate incidents during times of crisis or beyond?
    • How effectively have public and private institutions responded to hate during the pandemic?
    • How effective is our public policy and law in addressing hate?

A trauma-informed approach

BCOHRC wanted to make it safe for people and community organizations to share their stories.   

  • We asked for advice on how to plan the Inquiry and what kinds of questions to ask.
  • We worked with community organizations so people could share their stories with someone they know and trust.
  • We offered to pay for counseling for those telling their stories.
  • We let people choose whether and how we shared their stories on the Inquiry website.
  • We checked back with people to make sure we used their information correctly in the Inquiry report.

Key steps in Inquiry timeline

August 2021Announced the Inquiry through a press release and information on our website 
November 2021• Livestreamed an opening ceremony to honour the courage of people and communities working to stop hate in B.C.
• Invited people and community organizations in B.C. to share their thoughts and experiences in presentations or in writing. Over six months, 56 organizations gave presentations and 20 people shared in writing
December 2021Conducted a representative poll of adults in B.C., asking questions about experiences of hate during the pandemic 
January 2022• Invited the public to take an online survey to share their experiences of hate during the pandemic. The survey was available in 15 different languages.
• Collected information about hate from over 50 governments, police departments, courts, school districts, social media companies and transportation agencies 
June 2022• Published five research reports written by experts
• Reviewed stories about hate in the media
• Reviewed all the information, learning and stories and started writing the report  
October 2022Shared back with Inquiry participants what we learned and checked to make sure we got it right 
March 2023Shared what we learned and what we recommend to help prevent and respond to hate, especially in times of crisis

A snapshot of what the work involved


people completed the online poll


social media companies received orders and information requests


presentations by organizations


completed the Inquiry survey


information requests to every police department and RCMP detachment


research reports


written submissions


information requests to public bodies


Community Liaison Organizations supported the public survey


virtual hearings