The provincial intends to develop a racist incident hotline in response to the recent increase in racist activities throughout B.C.
According to the attorney general’s ministry, in Vancouver, anti-Asian hate crimes have increased by more than 700 per cent in 2020 compared to the previous year.
The hotline is intended to be a multilingual service, not delivered by police, for British Columbians to report racist incidents and receive support and referrals.
"Government has a moral and ethical responsibility to tackle discrimination in all its forms," said Rachna Singh, parliamentary secretary for anti-racism initiatives.
That's why we're taking action to tackle racism. We've done a lot already, like recently quadrupling funding for community-based anti-racism projects. But we know there's more to do and a hotline will support British Columbians if they witness or are the victim of a racist incident."
The hotline is not intended to replace emergency response services in situations where a person’s safety is in danger. However, the hotline will provide a culturally safe venue for racialized British Columbians to report incidents and obtain support services.
The ministry said data collected from the hotline will be used to support future anti-racism initiatives, including legislation that will pave the way for race-based data collection. By identifying areas of increased racist incidents through the hotline, government will use the data to inform future actions to combat racism.
Consultations with Indigenous and other racialized groups related to race-based data collection is underway, with broader public engagement planned for this summer.
"Although there are some challenges in direct comparison, when comparing our province with communities across North America on a per-capita basis, there can be no doubt we are a major hot spot for anti-Asian racism. This is unacceptable and more action is needed," Attorney General David Eby said.
"Even more concerning is that some people may be reluctant to report incidents through existing avenues like calling the police, which may mean we have an under-reporting of the scope of the problem. This hotline will lower the barrier for reporting incidents, helping us better direct further action and be more rapid in our responses."
The ministry said consultations with community groups will inform the racist incident hotline to help ensure it meets the needs of racialized and faith communities.