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COVID-19 and Human Rights in British Columbia

Human rights are never more important than in times of crisis. It is precisely when human rights are the hardest to fulfill that they are the most important. It is in these challenging times that it becomes critical for us all to know our human rights, to understand the scope of our protections in B.C. and to place human rights at the centre of our decision making. 

 

In alignment with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, we urge British Columbians to keep human rights principles at the core of our response to the coronavirus (COVID-19)  pandemic.

Our human rights are protected – and our responsibilities outlined – by the BC Human Rights Code, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and international human rights treaties.

 

BC's Office of the Human Rights Commissioner (BCOHRC) would like to hear from you about how your human rights are being impacted as health and safety measures unfold over the next weeks. Here is a short survey for you to tell us about how your human rights are being affected by the COVID-19 health issue.

 

Please note, we are collecting this information to inform the Human Rights Commissioner's policy and advocacy response to this unfolding situation. Our office is not able to take up or resolve individual human rights complaints as this is the mandate of the BC Human Rights Tribunal. If you would like to file a complaint with the Tribunal their contact information is here.

 

Here are some examples of ways that your human rights may be impacted during this time (please see our statement for more detailed information about how human rights protections apply during this time):

  • Not having access to accurate, up-to-date public health information because that information is not accessible to you due to a disability

  • Not being able to practice social distancing or self-isolation because you live in inadequate housing

  • Being turned away from work because of an unsubstantiated fear you may have COVID-19, without adequate efforts to accommodate your needs

  • Being unable to afford supplies needed for recommended cleaning and distancing practices

  • Being turned away from a grocery store because of an unsubstantiated fear that you may have COVID-19, without adequate efforts to accommodate your needs

 

Collection notice: 

In keeping with our site’s Privacy Policy any personal information collected through this contact form will only be used for the same purpose that it was collected. The BCOHRC will not use your personal information for another purpose without your consent.

Data being submitted via this form is solely for the purpose of informing the Commission's policy and advocacy work. If you have any questions about how your data will be used please feel free to contact our Privacy Officer at mark.milotay@rcybc.ca or 778-698-9125.

There are 5 questions in this survey.

How important is it for British Columbians to understand their human rights and responsibilities in times of large-scale health situations?

1= Not important at all 

3= Somewhat important

5= very important

Have you witnessed or experienced discrimination related to COVID-19? Please briefly describe.

Have you witnessed or are you facing barriers in accessing up-to-date information from provincial public health sources? If so, what are they?

Have you witnessed or are you facing barriers in trying to follow the public health advice, including social distancing and hand-washing? If so, what are they?

What are some of the examples that you have seen that communities or service providers can use to remain safe and respect the rights of those people most vulnerable to or affected by COVID-19?