Latest News

Proposed religious "campus of care" undermines MAiD access

Faith-based organizations that refuse to provide medical assistance in dying should not be awarded new public contracts said the BC Humanist Association in response to news that a Catholic group will be leading a redevelopment plan for a Comox hospital.

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Government unmuzzles charities

As of last Thursday, charities have been freed of restrictive and arbitrary limits on so-called political activities.

The BC Humanist Association joined numerous environmental and human rights charities to advocate for the changes. The restrictions and related audits had contributed to an advocacy chill and infringed on charities' free speech.

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BC Humanists launch study of legislature prayers

Through a crowdsourced effort, the BC Humanist Association is planning to transcribe every one of the 644 prayers said in the British Columbia Legislature since 2003.

Every day the Legislative Assembly's sittings begins with a prayer led by one Member of the Legislative Assembly.

There exists no study of the religiosity of those prayers or how diverse the worldviews represented are.

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Academic studies pave way for expanding MAiD eligibility

A trio of studies released by the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) have provided the scientific and ethical grounding for policymakers to restore access to medical assistance in dying (MAiD), according to the BC Humanist Association.

The studies, commissioned by the federal government following the passage of Bill C-14, examine aspects of expanding access to MAiD to groups currently excluded by the law: mature minors, those with a mental illness and individuals with degenerative conditions who want an advanced request.

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Victoria councillor starts debate on religious holiday decorations

The BC Humanist Association is supportive of any municipality reviewing whether public funds are being spent in a secular and inclusive manner.

During a line-by-line debate over the City of Victoria's annual budget, Council approved a motion by Councillor Ben Isitt to have staff review the $64,000 the city spends on seasonal decorations.

The motion has drawn significant coverage, following a front-page story in the Victoria Times Colonist. It's since been picked up by most local news outlets and several national and international publications.

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Canada repeals blasphemy law

Humanists are cheering the passage of a bill repealing Canada's prohibition on "blasphemous libel" in the Senate today. Canada's 19th century blasphemy law will be no more once the bill receives Royal Assent.

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BC Humanist Association endorses $10aDay Child Care Plan

At its most recent board meeting, the BC Humanist Association unanimously agreed to join hundreds of organizations in endorsing the $10aDay Child Care Plan.

The plan is an initiative of the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC. By making quality child care affordable and accessible, the plan sets a realistic path to meet the needs of BC children, women, families and employers. The Government of BC introduced its Child Care BC plan in February 2018 and is based largely on the $10aDay Plan.

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Poll: British Columbians oppose teaching creationism in schools

According to a new poll from Research Co, a majority (55%) of British Columbians oppose the teaching of creationism in schools.

Teaching creationism in public school science classrooms was effectively banned in 1996 following debates in the Abbotsford School District; however, a number of private Christian schools that receive public funding continue to mix Biblical literalism with science.

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Chilliwack MLA protests passage of Human Rights Commission

On Thursday, Members of the Legislative Assembly of BC voted unanimously at third reading restore the province's Human Rights Commission. One MLA, however, abstained to protest a government he claims is trying to protect the rights of the nonreligious at the expense of "the right of Christians to follow the biblical ethic that their Lord and their conscience requires."

The bill, introduced earlier this month, was welcomed by the BC Humanist Association and other human rights organizations in the province. It's passage means BC will soon have an independent Human Rights Commissioner whose duty will be to educate and promote human rights in the province.

The existing Human Rights Tribunal provides a space where individuals can bring forward specific claims of discrimination. The Commissioner's work will supplement the Tribunal by proactively researching human rights issues in the province and providing guidance to individuals and organizations seeking to adopt best practices.

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Mandatory AA policy deemed "unreasonable"

A labour arbitrator has ruled that Interior Health's policies around hospital workers with substance use issues are discriminatory. The policy is immediately suspended.

According to the ruling, the health region's policy meant any employee who disclosed a substance use issue could be immediately suspended and required the employee to commit to abstinence, monitoring for two years, attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings and regular meetings with administration. The Hospital Employees' Union (HEU) filed a complaint under the Labour Relations Code alleging that these requirements were discriminatory and failed to account for individual circumstances of each employee.

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