What we’re doing

The core purpose of BCOHRC is to ensure the rights of everyone in our province—particularly those guaranteed by BC’s Human Rights Code—are protected and respected.

At BCOHRC, our core work is to dismantle or restructure laws, policies and practices that create and sustain such discrimination as a regular part of many people’s lives.

Improving the code

BCOHRC has been working hard to strengthen protections for marginalized groups by improving BC’s Human Rights Code.

This includes a major research project and policy recommendations on the inclusion of “social condition”—meaning social or economic disadvantage—and “Indigeneity” as prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Code.  

This research project is grounded in a human rights-based approach. In addition to a jurisdictional review and analysis of relevant literature and case law, the project included focus groups with people affected by discrimination on the basis of social condition. Focus groups were also held with lawyers who represent complainants at the BC Human Rights Tribunal and those who represent respondents—primarily employers.

BCOHRC worked with community groups—such as the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, Megaphone, First United Church and the Binners’ Project—to connect with people in poverty to hear their personal stories of discrimination on the basis of social condition.

BCOHRC’s recommendations to include social condition and Indigeneity under the Code build on the recommendations issued by NDP MLA Ravi Kahlon’s 2017 report on the re-establishment of a provincial human rights commission, A Human Rights Commission for the 21st Century. The province-wide consultation leading up to the report identified these Code amendments as a priority, which was included in the final report as a specific recommendation to the Attorney General. We will continue to advocate for these amendments to the BC Human Rights Code as an important step toward strengthening protections for marginalized groups.

When we recognize these incidents as embedded in bigger structures, we can see that the solutions must be transformative of those very structures.”

Commissioner Kasari Govender, The Tyee

What we know

65%

more human rights complaints were filed in B.C. in 2018/2019 than 2014/2015.

(source)

46%

of human rights complaints were filed by persons with a disability,

the largest number of complaints filed with the BC Human Rights Tribunal. (source)

70%

of trans and/or non-binary youth have experience discrimination

(source)

48%

of Indigenous peoples in B.C. did not report experiences with discrimination.

The study surveying Indigenous peoples from across B.C. found that participants thought they would not be believed. (source)