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B.C. Government Passes Anti-Racism Act (ARA)

May 29, 2024

On May 9, 2024, the B.C. Government passed the Anti-Racism Act (ARA), providing a framework to eliminate systemic racism in government programs and services.
Indigenous and racialized people in B.C. will face fewer barriers when accessing public programs and services with new legislation aimed at removing systemic racism from provincial institutions.

With the Anti-Racism Act (ARA), government will take action on systemic racism uncovered through race-based data collection and lived experiences of Indigenous and racialized communities. Building on the 2022 Anti-Racism Data Act, ARA was co-developed with Indigenous and racialized communities. It fulfils Action 3.6 of the Declaration Act Action Plan, which commits the Province to developing anti-racism legislation that addresses Indigenous-specific racism.

ARA requires government to strengthen checks and balances in its programs and services in hospitals, schools, courts and other public spaces. A new anti-racism committee will draw up a government-wide action plan to address systemic racism and, for the first time, public institutions will be required to critically evaluate day-to-day operations and remove policies and practices that harm Indigenous and racialized people. It will also advance the recruitment, hiring, retention and advancement of Indigenous, Black and other racialized public servants to ensure that public sector workers in B.C. reflect the populations they serve.

Under ARA, Indigenous and racialized communities will be able to apply for grants to help identify and eliminate racism, address its detrimental impact on people, and help ensure that those most affected by institutional racism do not have to bear the financial burden of fixing the system.

The broad public engagement process for the legislation included more than 2,100 online questionnaire responses and 225 community-led discussion events with more than 5,000 racialized participants.

This is another key action that will work with other community-led anti-racism initiatives to build a safer, more equitable B.C. for everyone.