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Racist incident hotline to be created in British Columbia

Rachna Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives

VICTORIA – The province will consult with community stakeholders to develop a racist incident hotline in response to the recent increase in racist activities throughout B.C.

In Vancouver, anti-Asian hate crimes have increased over 700 per cent in 2020 compared to the previous year, according to a provincial news release.

The hotline is intended to be a multilingual service, not delivered by police, for British Columbians to report racist incidents and receive support and referrals.

“Government has a moral and ethical responsibility to tackle discrimination in all its forms,” said Rachna Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives. “That’s why we’re taking action to tackle racism. We’ve done a lot already, like recently quadrupling funding for community-based anti-racism projects. But we know there’s more to do, and a hotline will support British Columbians if they witness or are the victim of a racist incident.”

The hotline is not intended to replace emergency response services in situations where the safety and security of British Columbians are in danger. However, the hotline will provide a culturally safe venue for racialized British Columbians to report incidents, validate their experiences and obtain support services.

The data collected from the hotline will be used to support future anti-racism initiatives, including legislation that will pave the way for race-based data collection. By identifying areas of increased racist incidents through the hotline, government can use the data to inform future actions to combat racism.

Consultations with Indigenous partners and other racialized groups related to race-based data collection is underway, with broader public engagement planned for this summer.

“Although there are some challenges in direct comparison, when comparing our province with communities across North America on a per-capita basis, there can be no doubt we are a major hot spot for anti-Asian racism. This is unacceptable and more action is needed,” said David Eby, Attorney General. “Even more concerning is that some people may be reluctant to report incidents through existing avenues like calling the police, which may mean we have an under-reporting of the scope of the problem. This hotline will lower the barrier for reporting incidents, helping us better direct further action and be more rapid in our responses.”

Consultations with community stakeholders will inform the racist incident hotline to help ensure it meets the needs of Indigenous, Black and other racialized and faith communities.

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