Secularism

The British Columbia Humanist Association supports a secular society that affirms:

  • the right of every individual to practice any religion or none, free from coercion by the government, private institutions or their community and
  • that the state has a duty of religious neutrality, meaning it must neither endorse nor prohibit any belief or non-belief.

Open secularism is the best way to fully guarantee the freedom of religion and conscience of all citizens in a plural society. Secularism is the principle that the government should not privilege or disadvantage any religious or non-religious belief over any other.

We oppose government funding being given preferentially to religious organizations and tax exemptions that only benefit the religious (for example, permissive exemptions for houses of worship or the Clergy Residence Deduction). We call on the federal government to remove "the supremacy of God" from the preamble of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and to create a secular national anthem.

Latest news


Advance human rights and uphold the duty of religious neutrality: Pre-Budget 2025 response

In its brief to the House of Commons Finance Committee's Pre-Budget 2025 consultation, the BC Humanist Association (BCHA) today called on the government to end charitable status for anti-abortion organizations, remove the privileged status of religion in charity law and repeal the clergy residence deduction.

Consent underlies religious and privacy rights: Our arguments for the BC Court of Appeal

British Columbia's privacy laws and the Charter's protection of religious freedom are both fundamentally based on principles of consent and freedom from coercion, we argued in our submissions to the BC Court of Appeal yesterday.

BC municipalities 'prayer-free' as Parksville commits to religious neutrality in future meetings

The BC Humanist Association (BCHA) is declaring the end of municipal prayers in British Columbia (BC) following a commitment from the City of Parksville that there will not be prayers in the City's next inaugural council meeting.

Vancouver concedes 2022 prayers breached duty of neutrality

The City of Vancouver has said that prayers at its most recent inauguration ceremony were "a breach of the duty of religious neutrality." A lawyer for the City made the concession in response to the threat of legal action from the BC Humanist Association (BCHA).

Prayers end in MD of Bonnyville following BCHA advocacy

Council meetings in the Municipal District of Bonnyville, Alberta, no longer open with a prayer. This follows the BC Humanist Association releasing a report that identified it as one of eight Alberta municipalities that violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


Eight Alberta municipalities include unconstitutional prayers at council meetings

In its fifth report on prayer in municipal council meetings across Canada, the BC Humanist Association (BCHA) has identified eight municipalities in Alberta that included prayer in their council meetings.

BCHA set to sue Vancouver over inaugural prayer

Yesterday, lawyers for the BC Humanist Association (BCHA) asked the City of Vancouver for a public commitment to respect the constitutional duty of religious neutrality. The City was warned that the BCHA is preparing to commence legal proceedings.

Secularists applaud Wab Kinew's pledge to reform Manitoba legislature prayer

The BC Humanist Association applauds Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew's recent proposal to update the provincial legislature's opening prayers.

Launching legal action against the City of Parksville's council prayer

In a letter sent yesterday, counsel for the BC Humanist Association (BCHA) advised the City of Parksville that the BCHA will be commencing legal proceedings against the City for its breach of the duty of religious neutrality.

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