The provincial government has announced plans to create a racist incident hotline in British Columbia.
The decision follows what BC calls a “recent increase in racist activities” and will be done through consultation with community stakeholders. The Ministry of Attorney General says that people will be able to report racist incidents and receive support and referrals.
The hotline will be available in a number of languages and will not be delivered by police. It also isn’t intended to replace emergency services during situations where the safety and security of an individual are in immediate danger.
“The hotline will provide a culturally safe venue for racialized British Columbians to report incidents, validate their experiences and obtain support services,” reads a statement from the BC Government.
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Information collected from the program will then be used to create and fund anti-racism initiatives that are unveiled in the future. The provincial government says that it is currently consulting with Indigenous partners and other racialized groups regarding race-based data collection.
“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 hotspot for anti-Asian racism. This is unacceptable and more action is needed,” said David Eby, Attorney General.
“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.”
Expansive public engagement for the program is expected to take place this summer.