Latest Updates

Nonbelievers still minimized by Census 2021

Statistics Canada calls the census "the country's storyteller" but the accuracy of that story depends deeply on the quality of the questions being asked of Canadians.

For years, Humanists, atheists and other nonreligious Canadians have been concerned by the wording of the question that Statistics Canada includes in the census. Similar to the census in England and Wales, Statistics Canada asks "What is this person's religion?", which is problematic enough for the presumption of religious belief that it carries with it.

But Statistics Canada goes further and asks census takers to indicate a religion "even if this person is not currently a practising member of that group."

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Budget 2021: A Just and Secular Recovery

The BC Humanist Association has today asked the BC Legislature's Finance Committee to use Budget 2021 to prioritize a Just and Secular Recovery in British Columbia.

In its brief, the organization urges the committee to frame its response in terms of the humanist values of social justice, science and secularism. It further identifies two ways the budget can be used to end the privileging of religious views in the province.

  1. End the statutory exemptions for places of worship
  2. Phase out public funding of independent schools

The committee is accepting feedback from British Columbians until 5:00 PM on Friday, June 26 about what priorities should inform the provincial budget.

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Our comments on BC Budget 2021

The Government of British Columbia is currently consulting for Budget 2021.

On Monday, I spoke before the BC Legislature's Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services and presented two of our ideas for that budget. First, that municipalities be given the ability to tax places of worship. And second, that the public subsidy for private schools be fazed out.

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Pass or Fail?

Comparing the performance of private and public school graduates in post-secondary education

Executive Summary

Proponents of British Columbia’s (BC) private education funding model have claimed that private schools provide students with an academic advantage over their public school peers. By comparing the performance of graduates of BC private and public schools at the University of British Columbia (UBC), we can test this thesis. Our results show no significant difference in the four-year retention rates or fourth year sessional average between the students. Students from private schools were more likely to graduate UBC within four years, though fewer than one-in-three of all students still completed their degree in that timespan. This result can be explained by the greater availability of university credit courses in private schools and differences in socioeconomic status between private and public school families. There was no significant difference between graduates of elite and non-elite private schools. Similarly, graduates of secular and faith-based private schools were largely identical, with the possible exception that graduates of smaller secular schools tended to have lower four-year retention and graduation rates.

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Christian takeover at Delta Hospice

The BC Humanist Association has heard complaints from Delta residents, echoed by reporting for CBC News, of efforts by the Board of Directors of the Delta Hospice Society to convert the organization into a Christian anti-choice body.

Applicants who wish to join the Society are saying they've been denied and new bylaws are being put to a mail-in vote that would ban medical assistance in dying in the hospice.

In February, the BCHA cheered the Minister of Health's decision to pull the Hospice's funding for refusing to provide MAID and urged the Government to end a loophole for faith-based organizations.

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A Just Recovery is a Humanist Recovery

The BC Humanist Association is joining over 150 Canadian organizations in the launch today of six principles for a Just Recovery for All. The BCHA has also signed onto the Vancouver Just Recovery's joint statement.

The movements for a just recovery are calling on governments to ensure that recovery efforts support the transition to a more equitable, sustainable and diversified economy, and not entrench outdated economic and social systems that jeopardize the health and wellbeing of people, worsen the climate crisis, or perpetuate the exploitation or oppression of people.

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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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