Human Rights Commissioner seeks input from community organizations

Community voices sought

BC’s Human Rights Commissioner is calling for “critical voices” from community organizations in the Interior to participate in its baseline survey as poverty and housing emerge as the top issues.

Early responses from over 400 organizations that have so far responded to the Commissioner's "Baseline" survey saw over a fifth citing either housing and shelter (12 per cent) or adequate income and poverty (8 per cent) as one of their top three human rights concerns.

"We have already received hundreds of responses, but we are missing critical voices from the Thompson-Okanagan, Cariboo, Kootenays, North Coast, Northeast and Nechako," said Commissioner Kasari Govender.

The commissioner emphasized that responses from anywhere in BC were welcome but urged organizations in these regions to take the survey to ensure their voices are represented.

"It is critical we hear from organizations in all regions of the province. Hearing from a wide range of organizations across BC will better allow us to understand human rights issues and evaluate progress. It will help direct our efforts to influence policy and raise public awareness, and help us to deepen relationships across BC to enhance capacity and build strength,” she said.

Those who have responded so far include frontline workers (36 per cent), non-frontline workers

(15 per cent), management (19 per cent), executive leadership (14 per cent) and volunteers (9 per cent).

These respondents serve or represent a wide variety of populations, including Indigenous Peoples (5 per cent), people who are low-income or living in poverty (5 per cent), racialized people (5 per cent) and people with physical disabilities or chronic illness (5 per cent).

BC's Office of the Human Rights Commissioner (BCOHR) launched the baseline survey on May 4, 2023 and it will remain open until June 9, 2023.

Responses will inform BCOH RC's multi-year effort to establish a baseline from which changes in the state of human rights in BC can be measured, to identify priorities and to advance solutions.

Other preliminary findings saw early respondents identifying that the most successful ways of advancing human rights include: raising awareness and education across the community (25 per cent), community organizing and coalition (18 per cent) and advocating for policy or legislative change (18 per cent).

The survey is open to the leadership, staff, board members and volunteers of community organizations, member-based organizations and public sector institutions working in community service and human rights-related fields in the province.

It is available online at: bit.ly/baseline-survey-public and those with accessibility or financial barriers to completing the survey can contact the commission at [email protected] or 1-844-922-6472 (toll free) for assistance.

More BC News