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Discrimination Media Release

Updated: November 17, 2021

Vancouver B.C. – B.C.’s Human Rights Commissioner, Kasari Govender, will release results of a new data-driven report which reveals a disturbing pattern of discrimination among B.C. police services.

Media are invited to register for a Zoom videoconference to learn more about “Equity is safer: Human rights considerations for policing reform in British Columbia,” the Commissioner’s written submission to the Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act. The submission is accompanied by a report detailing race-based data from five police forces in the province, authored by Scot Wortley, an associate professor at the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies at the University of Toronto. The Commissioner and Professor Wortley will be available for questions following the presentation.

WHO:Kasari Govender, B.C.’s first independent Human Rights Commissioner
Scot Wortley, associate professor of criminology, University of Toronto
WHAT:Releasing BCOHRC’s submission on reforming policing in B.C., “Equity is Safer: Human rights considerations for policing reform British Columbia,” and taking questions from media
WHEN:Wednesday, November 24, from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. (PDT)
WHERE:via Zoom videoconference
REGISTER:https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_DkEN1YHpSq2TW_1NpmAOFw
 
Note: When registering, please advise us of any accessibility needs or translation requirements you may have. We will work to accommodate you.

About the report embargo

BCOHRC’s “Equity is safer” submission is under strict embargo until November 24, 2021 at 9:01 a.m. PDT, following the start of our videoconference. When registering to attend the videoconference, members of the media will be asked to confirm they will abide by our embargo before they are sent a copy of the submission via email. The submission is being provided in advance to members of the media due to its length, complexity and volume of policing statistics.

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Contacts

For questions about the upcoming announcement, please contact Charlotte Kingston, Director, Communications, at Charlotte.Kingston@bchumanrights.ca or 1-250-216-4534. For questions about registration, including technical support questions and accessibility and translation requests, please contact: engagement@bchumanrights.ca

Media kit

Download our media kit for images of Commissioner Kasari Govender.

About BCOHRC

BC’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner exists to address the root causes of inequality, discrimination and injustice in B.C. by shifting laws, policies, practices and cultures. We do this work through education, research, advocacy, inquiry and monitoring.

About the Commissioner

B.C.’s Human Rights Commissioner, Kasari Govender, started her five-year term on Sept. 3, 2019. Since then, our Office has been working swiftly to build a strong team, to listen deeply to the concerns of British Columbians, to deliver education materials on our rights and responsibilities, to issue policy guidance to protect marginalized communities and to lay a human rights-based foundation for our work. As an independent officer of the Legislature, the Commissioner is uniquely positioned to ensure human rights in B.C. are protected, respected and advanced on a systemic level throughout our society.

About Scot Wortley

Scot Wortley is an expert in race and crime research who has worked as an associate professor at the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies at the University of Toronto since 1996. His key areas of research include street checks, race-based data and youth violence and gangs. In 2017, he served as an independent expert to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, examining police street check data related to people of African descent. In 2020, his work examining arrest and charge and use of force data of Black communities by the Toronto Police Service was highlighted in the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s A Disparate Impact interim report.

About SCORPA

In 2020, the Legislative Assembly appointed an all-party Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act to examine, inquire into and make recommendations on reforms related to policing under the Police Act. The Committee will examine the role of the police in mental health and harm reduction, systemic racism within B.C.’s police agencies and whether the Police Act is consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Commissioner made oral submissions to the committee in February 2021.

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