Latest Updates

Decolonizing Legislative Prayers

Building off the comprehensive House of Prayers report, the BC Humanist Association is releasing Decolonizing Legislative Prayers.

This new supplementary report investigates the use of Indigenous content - words, phrases and concepts - in the prayers said by BC MLAs during the daily prayers in the Legislature between 2003 and 2019.

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Humanists join call to decriminalize simple drug possession immediately

The BC Humanist Association is joining over 50 human rights, health and drug policy organizations in calling on key ministers in the federal government to immediately decriminalize the possession of illicit drugs in response to the twin crises of opioid overdoses and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter was started by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Pivot Legal Society and the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition was sent to the federal Ministers of Health, Justice and Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. It points out that they have the authority to issue an "exemption" to "any class of persons" from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, in the public interest. This can be used to exempt everyone in Canada from the section of the law that makes simple possession of drugs a crime.

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Reduction in funding for online private schools a step in the right direction

The BC Humanist Association is applauding a step by the Ministry of Education to reduce public support for online private schooling.

The Government of BC funds in-person private schools up to 50% of the per-student amount of neighbouring public schools; however, online distributed learning (DL) programs run by private schools were funded at up to 63% of the rate of public DL programs. In person elite private schools receive 35% funding and the equivalent DL programs received 44.1%.

Under the changes announced earlier this month, privately operated DL programs will now only receive 50% or 35% of what a public DL program receives. Further, new private DL programs will only be funded at the 35% level for their first year.

The change reverts the private DL funding model to what it was prior to the 2012/13 school year.

Unlike homeschooling, students participating in DL are connected with certified teachers online. The majority of private DL programs are religious.

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Humanists support international COVID-19 relief

Humanists believe that the solutions to the world’s problems lie in human thought and action rather than divine intervention.

As a global pandemic, Humanists recognize that COVID-19 affects around the world. As part of our commitment to supporting one another, regardless of nationality, the BC Humanist Association is eager to support secular international relief efforts.

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Combating coronavirus misinformation

One of the most common questions we've heard during the pandemic has been how to navigate the good science from the junk.

This is a big concern for Humanists, who value science and evidence, so I'll do my best to provide some pointers that I use when browsing the news.

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Humanism in action during COVID-19

Humanists have a duty of care to all of humanity including future generations.

Humanism commits us to an ethical way of life that looks after each other. For many of us, this has been never been more apparent than in the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the coming days and weeks, we'll be sharing some ways that you can put those Humanist values in action both locally and globally.

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Taking precautions and protecting our community

The evidence and warnings from our public health officials are clear: To prevent the novel coronavirus COVID-19 from overwhelming our healthcare system and leading to a lot of unnecessary suffering and death, immediate action is required from every one of us.

Yesterday, BC's Chief Public Health Officer banned all gatherings of over 50 people and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau restricted travel to Canada to Canadian residents and Americans. Municipalities are also starting to close non-essential public facilities. More measures are expected today and throughout the week.

For our own part, the BCHA's Board of Directors is taking steps to protect our members and the broader community. Specifically, we are suspending all in person meetings and encouraging online connections until public health officials deem the risk to be over.

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Humanists welcome bill to ban conversion therapy

Humanists are welcoming the introduction of a bill to ban conversion therapy in Canada.

Conversion therapy is a discredited and harmful practice to try to change one's sexual orientation or gender identity. It is largely based on pseudoscientific views of sexuality and gender.

The bill, if passed, will make it a crime to subject minors to conversion therapy, to take a minor abroad for conversion therapy, to force someone into conversion therapy without consent, to profit off conversion therapy or to advertise conversion therapy.

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Sample Prayers make Clerk "the arbiter of religious dogma"

The BC Humanist Association is calling on the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia to scrap a planned update to the so-called "sample prayers."

Each day of sitting in the Legislature begins with prayers said by a different MLA. Following pressure from the BCHA, the practice that was updated to include secular "reflections" at the end of 2019.

The Office of the Clerk has provided MLAs with a set of five sample prayers that they could select from. MLAs are also free to write their own prayer (or reflection). In House of Prayers, the BCHA found that half of all prayers said in the Legislature were sample prayers.

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Don't stop with Delta hospice

Following the announcement that the province will cut $1.5 million in funding to the Delta Hospice Society for refusing to provide medical assistance in dying (MAID), the BC Humanist Association is urging the province to apply the same standards to all publicly-funded healthcare facilities in the province.

As reported by Rob Shaw in the Vancouver Sun, the Delta Hospice Society's board was taken over by groups opposed to MAID following a membership drive. The Society, which operates Irene Thomas Hospice, violated a provincial policy that requires healthcare facilities that receive at least half of their funding from the province to provide MAID. Religious facilities, such as Providence Healthcare, are exempt from the policy and merely have to provide a referral to another facility.

In an opinion piece in the Vancouver Sun over the weekend, Health Minister Adrian Dix defended the move as putting "patients first" but reiterated that publicly-funded faith-based facilities can operate according to a different set of rules.

The BC Humanist Association (BCHA), who work toward a secular society and support assisted dying "for all who choose it", is renewing its call for the province to end the exemption for faith-based facilities.

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