Legislation sets path for human rights commission to return to B.C.

The B.C. government took the first legislative steps Thursday to re-establish a provincial human rights commission.

Proposed amendments to Human Rights Code would create independent commissioner

Attorney General David Eby explains further changes proposed to ICBC's premium calculations at a news conference in Victoria on Aug. 9, 2018. (Mike Mcarthur/CBC)

The B.C. government took the first legislative steps Thursday to re-establish a provincial human rights commission.

Attorney General David Eby introduced proposed amendments to the Human Rights Code in the legislature during the morning session, saying  the commission would help create a more inclusive British Columbia.

"As we see what's happening around the globe, it has never been more important that governments do all they can to end discrimination and stand up for human rights," Eby said in a news release.

"Every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect."

B.C. is in the only province in the country without a human rights commission — the government disbanded the previous commission in 2002.

The proposed amendments would create an independent human rights commissioner, who would examine discrimination in the province and develop tools for educating the public about combating inequality, according to the government.

That sets it apart from the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, a quasi-judicial body with the power to decide whether specific complaints about discrimination are justified and order compensation.

The news comes after an eight-week consultation with the public that was conducted in the fall of 2017.