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
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.Read more
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the Government of Canada announced that restrictions on the so-called "political activities" of charities would be repealed.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The draft guidance from the CRA provides clarification on what the legal changes mean for boards and staffs of the approximately 85,000 charities operating in the country.Read more
Stephanie Vande Kraats resigned as a teacher at Surrey Christian School after administrators allegedly told her that her contract would not be renewed because she was living with a man she wasn't married to, according to a story from CBC's Go Public.
I didn't want to continue in a place where I already felt humiliated and judged. It was traumatic for me.
-Stephanie Vande Kraats
Religion and ignorance should no longer be acceptable excuses to not vaccinate children, according to the BC Humanist Association as Vancouver is in the midst of a measles outbreak.
The provincial government is in the process of establishing an immunization registry that parents will have to record their children's vaccination status prior to their school enrolment. A similar law in Ontario requires anyone claiming a philosophical or religious objection to vaccines to attend a 30-minute presentation on the benefits of vaccines.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more