BCHA asks for confirmation that there will be no prayers in future BC council meetings

The BC Humanist Association (BCHA) has written to the seven municipalities it recently identified as including prayers in their 2022 inaugural council meetings, asking for confirmation that the practice will not occur again.

Despite a 2015 ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada, some communities across Canada have continued to open their council meetings with unconstitutional prayers. In BC, 26 municipalities included a prayer in their 2018 inaugural meeting. The BCHA advocated for the end of the practice; by 2022 only seven included the practice. The BCHA documented these findings in its report, We Yelled at Them Until They Stopped, released earlier this month.

Now the BCHA has written to those remaining seven communities asking for a "commitment to refrain from including prayers" in future inaugural meetings. Municipal staff are asked to reply by December 31 or the BCHA will refer the matter to its legal counsel for further consideration and remedies.

"We're not going to wait three years to see if the next council decides to listen to the Supreme Court of Canada," said BCHA Executive Director Ian Bushfield. "We're asking for specific commitments today that these communities will end the unconstitutional practice."

We will track responses on this page, so stay tuned.

Municipality Letter Second letter Response
Belcarra Nov 30, 2023   Dec 5, 2023
Colwood Nov 30, 2023   Dec 5, 2023
Delta Nov 30, 2023 Dec 13, 2023 Dec 28, 2023
Parksville Nov 30, 2023 Dec 13, 2023   
Tumbler Ridge Nov 30, 2023   Dec 6, 2023
Vancouver Nov 30, 2023 Dec 13, 2023  Jan 8, 2024
West Kelowna Nov 30, 2023   Dec 7, 2023


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