Submission on the formation of a new Human Rights Commission in BC

Update (2017/12/13): The Minister has released his report and recommendations which includes many our recommendations including “a new commission should promote compliance
with international human rights obligations and the protection of human rights in their broadest sense” and to “Begin consultation and policy work to consider whether the Human Rights Code should be amended to include social condition’ as a protected ground.”

The existence of poverty in Canada is a violation of human rights. There is not only a moral duty to eradicate poverty but also a legal obligation under international human rights law.

That’s why the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition made a submission to the government in support of a common vision for the BC Human Rights Commission

A human rights approach to poverty reduction is based on a fundamental respect for human dignity as opposed to a charitable approach, and is grounded in the experiences and engagement of low-income people and communities. It recognizes people in poverty as rights-bearers entitled to assert legal claims rather than being passive recipients of charitable aid.

We support the submissions from our members (including the BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, WestCoast LEAF and Community Legal Assistance Society), in particular, their recommendation to ensure that the Commission has the mandate to enforce both the BC Human Rights Code and all international United Nations covenants and declarations.

We also made a further recommendation to amend the BC Human Rights Code to include social condition as a prohibited ground of discrimination in publications, accommodation, service, facilities, purchase of property, tenancy, employment advertisements, wages, unions and associations.

You can read our full submission here.

West Coast LEAF’s submission: 

Community Legal Assistance Society’s submission: 

BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre’s press release: