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End-of-Life: A Guide for Humanists and Non-Religious People in B.C.

End of life care in Canada has historically been a field of medicine steeped in religion, believed to be the work of Christian chaplains—not doctors—for the purpose of preparing for an afterlife. With a growing number of non-religious people in the world and the multiculturalism of Canada, the landscape of end of life care is changing. The legalization of medical assistance in dying, non-religious pastoral support networks, and advance care planning education offers an opportunity for non-religious people to think of death and dying in a way that simply wasn’t possible before.

With that in mind, the B.C. Humanist Association have created a guide that discusses issues that humanists and other non-religious people may encounter when considering and planning for the end of their lives. This guide also sheds light on the unique experience of living a life with no expectation of punishment or reward when it’s over and identifies barriers to a death with dignity, along with measures to improve it.

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BCHA condemns proposal to create College of Complementary and Alternative Medicine

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.

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Legislative Prayer Across Canada

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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Prorogation kills bills to ban conversion therapy, reform MAID

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.

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Anti-LGBTQ2S+ Christian camp received over $600,000 from government

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.

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Humanists petition for conversion therapy ban

In a petition launched today, members of the BC Humanist Association are calling on parliamentarians to pass a bill banning conversion therapy in Canada.

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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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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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