Teresa Wat, Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism, has announced that the Government of BC, in partnership with the BC Hate Crimes Team and Abbotsford Community Services, will develop a creative educational campaign and resource to raise awareness about online hate crime . This resource will provide online education and awareness about racial and religiously motivated hate crimes, including information about what constitutes a hate crime and how to report a hate crime. It will have a Web-based component and may also include print material.
Abbotsford Community Services was awarded the contract through a Request-For-Proposal from EmbraceBC. With a budget that will not exceed $150,000, the resource will be made available to the public no later than March 1, 2014.
A hate crime is defined as a criminal offence motivated by hate towards an identifiable group. According to Statistics Canada, the primary motive of over half (54 per cent) of all incidents of hate crime in Canada is race or ethnicity. The second-highest motivation is religion (29 per cent). Reports of hate crime in Canada have increased each year since tracking began in 2006. Incidents of hate crimes that occur online through email, social media or other engagement platforms account for an increasing number of hate crimes reported, often because of a sense of anonymity that perpetrators may feel that they have.
Communities in British Columbia are increasingly culturally, ethnically, and linguistically diverse with immigrants now accounting for approximately 27 per cent of the population and an additional five per cent made up of indigenous Aboriginal populations. Fighting hate and bias crime effectively relies on partnerships. The response to this growing problem cannot be made by law enforcement agencies alone. Government, police, community organizations and individuals must be committed to working together to stem hatred in society.
The purpose of EmbraceBC public education is to engage the public around issues of racism, multiculturalism and inclusion, and to facilitate awareness and understanding of the social, cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity across British Columbia. The B.C. Hate Crime Team was created in 1996 with a mandate to ensure the effective identification, investigation and prosecution of crimes motivated by hate.
- Since 2002, over $9.1 million has been spent on funding programs and initiatives promoting multiculturalism, addressing racism and building inclusive communities in British Columbia.
- The most ethnically diverse province in Canada, B.C. welcomes nearly 40,000 new immigrants every year.
- In 2010, the Provincial Multiculturalism Vision was adopted: British Columbia is a model society that embraces the cultures and traditions of its people with opportunities for all to live and grow.
- Every year, the third week of November in British Columbia is proclaimed as Multiculturalism Week.