Latest Updates

Senate rises for summer without passing conversion therapy bill

The BC Humanist Association were disappointed to see the Senate adjourn for the summer yesterday without passing Bill C-6. The bill, which only cleared the House of Commons last week, would ban conversion therapy in Canada.

Senators had approved the bill at second reading and referred it to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. That Committee had not had a chance to meet prior to the Senate rising.

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Conversion therapy ban passes House of Commons

Humanists urge the Senate to pass Bill C-6 before summer break

In a recorded vote this afternoon, Members of Parliament voted 263-63 to grant third reading to a bill that would ban conversion therapy in Canada.

Bill C-6 is the second time Parliament has considered banning the harmful and pseudoscientific practice. A previous bill died when the legislature was prorogued in August 2020.

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Clergy residence deduction cost $1 billion over last decade

In its latest report, the BC Humanist Association (BCHA) has estimated that the clergy residence deduction has cost the Canadian government over $1 billion over the past decade as individual religious officials are able to reduce their taxes by one-third.

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Have an omelet and pray, with the Prime Minister

This morning, the Prime Minister, leader of opposition and an untold number of Members of Parliament gathered, over Zoom, to join in the annual National Prayer Breakfast. While the American version of the event is probably more familiar to most people, Canada has in fact had its own Prayer Breakfast for several decades.

We had Adriana Thom, our Policy Researcher, look into answering a few questions about the event.

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Religion doesn't protect contracts from judicial scrutiny

The BC Humanist Association is welcoming a unanimous decision by Canada's highest court that affirms that religious organizations can be subject to judicial scrutiny.

The case stems from five individuals who sued their former church following their expulsion from the congregation. The members alleged church leadership failed to follow their own internal bylaws and they asked the courts to uphold their rights as members of the church.

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The "support group" loophole?

Religious services remain banned in BC during the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, yet at least one Vancouver church has continued meeting under the guise of a support group.

Love Quest International Church says on its website that it launched "The Good Life Support Group" in late February 2021 as a response to the pandemic. It appears to have been meeting in person weekly at Strathcona Church in East Vancouver. Dr Bonnie Henry, BC's Provincial Health Officer (PHO), first issued an order prohibiting in-person religious gatherings and worship services on November 19, 2020 - an order that was upheld by the Supreme Court of BC in March 2021.

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BCHA joins calls for COVID-19 data transparency

At its April 19, 2021 meeting, the Board of Directors of the BC Humanist Association adopted a motion joining calls for greater data transparency from governments and decision makers to provide for greater accountability in their response to COVID-19.

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BCHA reacts to 2021 provincial and federal budgets

Yesterday the Government of Canada released its 2021 budget and today the Government of BC released its budget.

The BC Humanist Association is celebrating investments in childcare, reconciliation and efforts to combat systemic racism.

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BCHA joins call to decriminalize poverty in Vancouver

The BC Humanist Association has joined calls from community to divest from policing and invest in community programs in the City of Vancouver.

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The stars are aligned: It's time for legislative astrology

Building on its research-driven advocacy around religious prayers in the legislature and municipal councils across British Columbia, the BC Humanist Association is asking today why our provincial politicians have thus far limited their spiritual considerations to more traditional approaches to understanding the universe.

In its new report, Separation of Religion and Government in Retrograde, the BCHA considers the impact of the astrological star signs of MLAs on the province's prosperity.

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