Latest News

Human Rights Tribunal to hear AA case

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.

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Poll finds majority strongly oppose funding private faith schools

More than half of British Columbians (51%) strongly oppose "providing taxpayer funds to faith-based private schools that include religious teachings in their curriculum" according to a new poll from Insights West. A total of 69% were opposed with 18% somewhat opposed.

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BCHA is hiring: Campaigns Assistant and Programs Assistant

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.

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Bill proposes banning conversion therapy in BC

BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver introduced Bill M218 this afternoon, which would ban conversion therapy in the province.

Conversion therapy is the discredited notion that one's sexual orientation or gender identity can be changed.

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Doctors' duty is to their patients, not their own interests: Ontario Court of Appeal

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.

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Saanich looks at public benefits tests for churches

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.

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Government questioned about secular recovery options

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.

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Almost no one in BC goes to church

A new poll from ResearchCo has found that only 3% of British Columbians say they attend religious services "at least once a week." Only 2% said they had "confessed or sought advice from a religious figure" in the past 12 months.

The poll also found that 29% of people in the province are either "convinced" or "tend to believe" that God does not exist.

ResearchCo was formed by Mario Canseco, who the BC Humanist Association worked with on the 2016 Religious and Secular Attitudes Survey when he was with Insights West. In that survey, 11% of British Columbians said they attended religious services weekly, while 15% said they attended at least weekly in the BCHA's 2013 poll.

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New CRA guidance a step torward freer speech for charities

The BC Humanist Association is welcoming new guidelines from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) that permit charities to engage in advocacy that connects with its mission.

In fall 2018, the Government of Canada announced that restrictions on the so-called "political activities" of charities would be repealed. The new rules, which permit "public policy dialogue and development activities", simply require that charities activities connect with the charity's stated purposes and provide a benefit to the public.

The draft guidance from the CRA provides clarification on what the legal changes mean for boards and staffs of the approximately 85,000 charities operating in the country.

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New Alberta poll shows overwhelming support for requiring publicly-funded hospitals to provide MAID

A new poll from Dying With Dignity Canada and Ipsos has found that 80% of Albertans support the idea of requiring publicly funded hospitals to provide medically-assisted dying on their premises. The support rises to 86% among non-religious Albertans.

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