British Columbia

B.C. could better tackle systemic racism by collecting more in-depth data: human rights commissioner

Disaggregated data provides sub-categories of information — things like ethnic group, gender, occupation or educational status, and can be used to reveal inequities.

New report sets out framework to collect disaggregated data on things like race, gender and education

In some parts of the U.S., Black and Latinos are much more likely to die of COVID-19. (Shutterstock / VDB Photos)

B.C.'s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner says the government could better address systemic racism in the province by collecting and using disaggregated demographic data.

In a new report, the commissioner calls for new legislation to ensure it happens.

"We cannot act on what we do not know," said B.C. Human Rights Commissioner Kasari Govender. "This is a call for knowledge."

Disaggregated data provides sub-categories of information — things like ethnic group, gender, occupation or educational status — and can be used to reveal inequities and relationships between categories.

The B.C. government has been criticized for not providing disaggregated data showing how COVID-19 is affecting racialized communities.

In some parts of the U.S., data has shown Black and Latino people are much more likely to die of the disease, often related to poor access to health care. 

The report sets out a framework for using disaggregated data, described as the "grandmother approach," which Govender says is based on caring and the desire to address systemic injustices.

"Demographic data can be — and has been — used against marginalized populations as a means to further colonization, systemic racism and oppression," said Govender. "To prevent this, we emphasize an approach that centres on relationships — one that eschews the Big Brother mentality." 

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