A special note from our Executive Director, Ian Bushfield:
Today is my last day of work before I take off for a few months to raise a young Humanist.
It's been an incredibly productive summer. Our amazing team of Emily, Alexandre, Adriana and Teale have hosted livestreamed events, finished what was called "a masters thesis worth" of research and put us on solid financial footing going into the fall.Read more
The BC Humanist Association is calling for the scrapping of a proposal to create a "Regulatory College of Complementary and Alternative Health and Care Professionals" by a committee tasked with modernizing BC's provincial health professions regulatory framework.
The new regulatory college is being proposed to amalgamate existing colleges for chiropractors, naturopaths, acupuncturists and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners. In January, the BCHA called on the committee to "end the recognition" of these professions and enshrine evidence at the core of its reforms.Read more
The BC Humanist Association is calling on Members of Parliament (MPs) to commit to the quick reintroduction and passage of two bills this fall after an announcement yesterday that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was proroguing Parliament until September 23.
With prorogation all bills are wiped from the order paper. This included ones that would ban conversion therapy and make changes to Canada's assisted dying laws. The BCHA recently launched a petition in support of the ban on conversion therapy and has long campaigned for broad access to medical assistance in dying (MAID).
Both bills had not passed first reading in the House of Commons.Read more
As the Government of British Columbia rolls out its Education Restart Plan, some students and parents are considering their own options for their return to school in September. A popular option is some form of homeschooling.
Parents in BC have three main options for homeschooling their children: Enrolling in a public or independent distributed learning (DL) program or registering as a traditional homeschooler.Read more
Despite accusations of discriminating against LGBTQ2S+ staff, evangelical Bible camp Young Life has received over $600,000 in government funding in recent years, according to its charitable tax returns. This included over $150,000 from the federal government in 2019.
A movement of current and former members of Young Life is rallying behind the hashtag #DoBetterYoungLife calling on the organization to abandon its anti-LGBTQ2S+ "sexual conduct" policies. That story is documented by Kathryn Post in Religion News Service.Read more
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."Read more
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.
- End the statutory exemptions for places of worship
- 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.Read more
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.Read more
Pass or Fail? Comparing the performance of private and public school graduates in post-secondary education
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.Read more