As we've outlined, city and town councils across the province have the freedom to exempt certain lands from property taxes. In an effort to understand what cities have done, earlier this year we wrote to every city, town, village and incorporated district in BC and asked them. While most communities provide these exemptions to religious properties, we found a sizable proportion require organizations to demonstrate a public benefit prior to receiving the exemption and a small number of communities that choose not to provide any permissive tax exemptions.Read more
The BC Humanist Association today submitted its recommendations for a draft mental health and addictions strategy in British Columbia.
The provincial government has been collecting feedback for a strategy following the creation of the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions last year.
In its response, the BCHA calls for secular and evidence-based choices in addictions treatment and for greater regulation of treatment facilities to protect patients' freedom of and freedom from religion. Attached to the submission were the names of over 500 people who supported the BCHA's calls.Read more
The federal government has announced that it will repeal sections of the Income Tax Act that restrict the political activities of charities this fall, while simultaneously defending the restrictions in court.
In 2015, the Liberals campaigned on a promise to modernize rules governing Canada's charitable sector. This followed allegations that previous governments had used the rules to harass environmental and human rights charities it disagreed with. A consultation led by the new government recommended the rules be removed last year.
At the same time, an Ontario court struck down the rules as an unjustifiable infringement on the freedom of expression of charitable organizations. The federal government also said yesterday it will be appealing this ruling due to "significant errors of law."Read more
In furtherance of our desire to maintain TWU as a thriving community of Christian believers that is inclusive of all students wishing to learn from a Christian viewpoint and underlying philosophy, the Community Covenant will no longer be mandatory as of the 2018-19 Academic year with respect to admission of students to, or continuation of students at, the University.
This motion was passed by the board of governors last week and was reported by the Vancouver Sun today.Read more
The BC Humanist Association is encouraging people to share their stories about the importance of secular and evidence based treatments as part of a new consultation for a draft provincial mental health and addictions strategy.
Last year, the Government of BC created the Ministry of Mental Health and Addiction. The Ministry has set out to create a draft strategy to help tackle the challenges faced by people with mental health and addictions issues. It has launched an online consultation to solicit feedback from British Columbians.Read more
The BC Humanist Association is welcoming a decision by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice striking down rules that restrict the political activities of charities as a victory for freedom of expression.
The decision, released Tuesday, means charities no longer need to navigate the artificial and often arbitrary divide between whether activities are deemed charitable or political when pursuing their mission. It frees charity staff up to focus on their effecting positive change in society.Read more
These sentences are a disgrace.
Far from having any deterrent effect, they are more likely to embolden others and not just those within the fundamentalist Mormon tradition.
If there is a chilling effect at all, it will be on those who left this abusive and dysfunctional community and bravely testified against friends and family.
Vancouver Sun columnist Daphne Bramham has covered the polygamist Fundamentalist Mormon sect in Bountiful BC for decades. Her comments are in reaction to news yesterday that Winston Blackmore and James Oler were sentenced to house arrest after being convicted of polygamy. Blackmore received six months for marrying 24 wives while Oler received three months for his five wives.
The record shows both men had wives under the age of 18.
After their house arrest, both men will be on probation for a year.Read more
The BC Humanist Association is celebrating a pair of 7-2 decisions from the Supreme Court of Canada affirming the Ontario and BC law societies' decisions to reject Trinity Western University's proposed law school.
The five-judge majority, writing in a united voice, argues that the law societies have a legitimate interest in ensuring principles of diversity and non-discrimination are fundamental to the integrity of the legal profession. Permitting a law school with a discriminatory admissions policy would be contrary to this end and therefore a decision to approve was unreasonable. "A more diverse bar is a more competent bar."Read more
The Government of Canada is set to make a decision in the next 10 days whether they will fix our broken charity laws. We need to raise our voice so that it’s clear that the government must act now.Read more
A new poll reports than 76% of Canadians (and the same number of British Columbians) do not think religious wedding ceremonies are "more legitimate" than civil wedding ceremonies.
The numbers come a poll released by the Angus Reid Institute today that looked at Canadians' attitudes toward marriage. The Angus Reid Institute is a non-profit independent research firm.Read more