The BC Humanist Association has today asked the BC Legislature's Finance Committee to use Budget 2020 to advance secular values in British Columbia.
In its brief, the organization identifies four ways the budget can be used to end the privileging of religious views in the province.
- Phase out public funding of independent schools
- Reform property tax exemptions for “places of public worship”
- Secularize the public healthcare system
- End funding for discriminatory housing programs
Recognizing that the laws governing Canadian charities are “outdated, convoluted”, a Senate committee is recommending a full review of whether Canada should define what a charity is in law.
Whether an organization can be registered as a charity is currently determined based on a list of "good, godly and charitable" purposes set out in the Statute of Elizabeth in 1601. Those purposes are the relief of poverty, the advancement of education, the advancement of religion and other purposes deemed beneficial to the community by the courts.
The BC Humanist Association and many other charities have been calling for a modernized legal framework to end uncertainty in the sector.Read more
A BC Human Rights Tribunal adjudicator has rejected an attempt to dismiss a complaint against Vancouver Coastal Health Authority for forcing a nurse to attending a 12-step program.
The BC Humanist Association (BCHA) has been following Byron Wood's case for several years now. This is the final step before Wood's case goes before a hearing at the Human Rights Tribunal. That Tribunal will ultimately rule whether Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) should be considered a religious program and therefore whether forcing patients to adhere to AA as part of their treatment violates their right to freedom from religion.Read more
The BC Humanist Association has received funding through Canada Summer Jobs to hire three interns to join our team this summer.
The BCHA promotes education about secular humanism and researches issues relating to human rights and secularism.Read more
The Ontario Court of Appeal has unanimously upheld a policy that requires doctors provide an effective referral if they refuse to provide a medically assisted death. The decision builds upon a lower court ruling.
The ruling clearly sets out that religious beliefs cannot be used to deny patients healthcare.Read more
Following a letter from the BC Humanist Association, councillors in the District of Saanich voted unanimously Monday night to move toward applying a public benefits test before granting property tax exemptions to religious groups in the municipality.
The vote followed a staff report reviewing options for the District. It notes that 46 churches receive permissive tax exemptions, meaning the city did not collect $561,186 in revenue is 2018.
District staff have now been directed to report back on the implications of adopting a public benefits test for non-profit organizations and church exemptions.Read more
An opposition MLA questioned BC's Minister of Mental Health and Addictions last week about whether the province will require some recovery centres to offer secular options.
The question came from North Vancouver-Seymour BC Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite during debate over the estimates for the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions on Wednesday.Read more