The B.C. government is developing a hotline where people can report incidents of racism.
The multilingual hotline, which will not be delivered by police, will allow British Columbians to report racist incidents and receive support and referrals. It does not aim to replace emergency response services in situations where someone could be in danger, the province said.
The phone line comes amid reports of a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes. Vancouver police reported a 717 per cent rise in hate crimes against East Asians in 2020 compared to the previous year.
Data collected from the hotline will be used to support future anti-racism initiatives, including legislation aimed to pave the way for race-based data collection that could inform future anti-racism efforts.
The province said it is consulting with Indigenous partners and other racialized groups regarding race-based data collection. Broader public consultation is expected in the summer.
Rachna Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives, said the province has recently quadrupled funding for community-based anti-racism projects.
B.C. Attorney General David Eby said in a statement the hotline will create an outlet for people who may be hesitant to report racist incidents to the police.
“This hotline will lower the barrier for reporting incidents, helping us better direct further action and be more rapid in our responses,” he said.