Latest Updates

It's time to end prayers in the BC Legislature

To coincide with the release of the second edition of its Legislative Prayers Across Canada report, the BC Humanist Association is launching a renewed call to end the practice of starting sittings in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia with prayers.

The new edition of the report reflects a change made by the Nova Scotia Legislature in October to begin each day with a 'moment of silent reflection.' Previously the Speaker read a version of the Lord's Prayer before MLAs began the day's proceedings.

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Legislative Prayer Across Canada

In the second edition of Legislative Prayer Across Canada, we update our original report to include the move in October 2021 by Nova Scotia to replace its practice of beginning sittings with the Lord's Prayer with a moment of silent reflection. We will continue to update the report in the future as other legislature amend their practices.

Canada is often viewed as a diverse and multicultural country. Multiculturalism and ‘freedom of conscience and religion’ are enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. From this, the Supreme Court of Canada has established that Canada is a secular country through what has been called the state’s duty of religious neutrality. Nevertheless, legislative assemblies across Canada continue to begin each day’s sitting with a prayer, which is most often Christian in nature.

Here we provide an overview of the diverse practices that surround legislative prayer across Canada today.

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2021 in Review

This past year has continued to be one of unprecedented challenges as we’ve learned how to adjust to the “new normal” of COVID-19, extreme natural disasters, the ongoing legacy of residential schools and the continued rise of reactionary nationalism.

However, as a community, the BC Humanist Association’s (BCHA) staff, board and members have continued to meet these challenges with compassion, morality, and scientifically-backed reason.

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"No religious dogma or creed is to be taught in a school"

Despite inflammatory headlines suggesting otherwise, the rules of the School Act and policies of the Vancouver School Board apply to student clubs in public Vancouver high schools.

That was the message that was delivered to students at Eric Hamber Secondary who recently founded a Catholic students club.

On November 15, BC Catholic reported that grade 11 student Timothy Que had launched a Catholic Club, "to help people get holier and teach the teachings of the Catholic Church.” On December 2, the publication alleged that officials had "slapped restrictions" on the club.

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Conversion practices ban becomes law in Canada

The BC Humanist Association is joining members and allies of the LGBTQ2S+ community in celebrating the historic passage of a ban on conversion therapy and practices.

After multiple previous bills failed to clear the legislative hurdles in Parliament, Senators today unanimously granted the bill second and third readings. This followed a similar unanimous motion in the House of Commons that allowed the bill to be fast-tracked through the usual processes.

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Conversion practices ban reintroduced in Parliament

The BCHA is celebrating the introduction of a new bill to ban conversion practices (including so called "conversion therapy") in Parliament.

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Canadian Secular Alliance joins interventions in White Rock Pride human rights case

The BC Humanists are congratulating the Canadian Secular Alliance on their successful application to intervene in a BC Human Rights Tribunal case that pits the White Rock Pride Society against the Star of the Sea Parish.

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Humanists welcome new effort to ban conversion practices in BC

The BC Humanist Association (BCHA) is joining survivors and LGBTQ2S+ advocates today in welcoming a new private members bill that would ban conversion practices in British Columbia.

The new bill, introduced by BC Green leader Sonia Furstenau today, builds off a previous private members bill in 2019 and is the second attempt to ban the dangerous and pseudoscientific practice in the province.

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Saanich endorses COVID-19 denial through permissive tax exemption

Without benefits tests for permissive tax exemptions (PTE), municipalities risk funding organizations that only provide services to their members, run commercial operations, exclude and discriminate against people or flout the law. This is exactly what the District of Saanich did at its meeting on Monday, October 25th when this municipal council unanimously voted to renew a PTE to a prosperity gospel church known for equating child disobedience to witchcraft, for preaching homophobia, endorsing and engaging in so-called ‘conversion therapy,’ and for outspoken COVID-19 denial and anti-vaccine rhetoric.

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WTF (Weird, That's Funded?): The bizarre

While they receive hundreds of millions of dollars in public funding, private schools in BC are excluding LGBTQ2S+ parents, families and staff; teaching creationism and even banning Halloween and school dances, according to our latest analysis.

In the first part of our three-part series, we looked at schools teaching creationism in science classrooms. In the second part, we looked at schools that exclude same sex couples by defining marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman. In this final part, we look at various other bizarre, WTF moments.

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