Racial discrimination and precarious status act as fundamental barriers to accessing justice and state services for alleviating poverty.
BCPIAC identifies the human rights issues affecting people of colour and/or those with limited legal status as critical to its anti-poverty, equality, and access to justice work. The interests of these groups are underrepresented by our legal system. Issues of racial equality and security of status are core to a person’s identity and dignity; racial discrimination and precarious status act as fundamental barriers to accessing justice and state services for alleviating poverty.
For the last ten years a core part of BCPIAC’s practice has been to provide legal representation to marginalized people of colour who experience racial discrimination and/or have limited legal status in Canada. This has included cases involving farmworkers, tree planters, chicken factory workers and temporary foreign workers. We have also challenged the failure to provide interpretation services by government agencies, and the imposition of debts arising out of spousal sponsorship agreements. Immigration status and language have been significant barriers to accessing justice, in addition to the poverty and relative powerlessness that frequently informs access to justice cases.
Recent News in Justice for Racialized & Immigrant Communities
West Coast LEAF, a BC organization dedicated to promoting women’s equality through the law, along with a long list of endorsing BC organizations, have called on the BC government and the official opposition to step up for Women's equality and "commit to implementing – fully and without delay – the UN’s ...Read More
B.C.’s Islamophobia hotline responds to recent events in U.S. and Canada January 31, 2017 | Nathan Hutton | Global News Link to original article B.C.’s Islamophobia Legal Assistance Hotline is calling the recent attack at a Quebec City mosque, which left six dead, a “despicable act of terrorism.” Hasan Alam, ...Read More
Islamophobia Legal Assistance Hotline launched by legal community For Immediate Release | BCPIAC, CLAS, BCCLA, FACLBC, SABABC, CBABC, NCCM, CABL, Access Pro Bono VANCOUVER (March 9, 2016) – Today the legal community in British Columbia launched the Islamophobia Legal Assistance Hotline, after a nationwide increase in reported incidents of racial ...Read More
Khaira tree planters win EI appeals after almost six years For Immediate Release | BCPIAC Almost 6 years after closure of the Khaira Enterprise Ltd. camp in Golden, BC, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has sided with former Khaira tree planters in EI and income tax appeals stemming from work they ...Read More
Tim Hortons: Human rights complaint to proceed against fast food giant Company fails in bid to have complaint thrown out For Immediate Release | BCPIAC and CLAS Last Friday, the BC Human Rights Tribunal rejected Tim Hortons’ attempt to have a human rights complaint against it dismissed at an early ...Read More
Changing the meaning of citizenship Lobat Sadrehashemi Originally published in Cultures West Magazine Fall 2015 Issue The government of Canada introduced the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act (Bill C-24) in February 2014, and the bill received royal assent in June 2014.As of June 11, 2015 all the provisions are now in force ...Read More
REPORT: Refugee Reform & Access to Counsel in British Columbia August 26, 2015 | Lobat Sadrehashemi, Peter Edeldmann & Suzanne Baustad Since December 2012 the refugee determination process in Canada has undergone drastic changes. This report is based in-depth interviews and focus groups with refugee claimants, their lawyers and service ...Read More
Report points to “gaping hole” in BC’s system of human rights protection Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives | December 10, 2014 Link to original article Today—December 10th—is International Human Rights Day. But what does that mean here in BC—the only province in Canada without a human rights commission? A new ...Read More
BCPIAC Submissions on Budget Bill C-43 November 2014 | Lobat Sadrehashemi BCPIAC lawyer Lobat Sadrehashemi made submission to the Standing Committees on Immigration & Finance asking the committee to eliminate sections 172 and 173 of Bill C-43. Read the submissions below Submission of the British Columbia Public Interest Advocacy Centre ...Read More
BC Human Rights Tribunal finds discrimination in tree planter case, awards close to $700,000 for injury to dignity For Immediate Release | BCPIAC The BC Human Rights Tribunal today issued its decision in favour of 55 tree planters who worked for Khaira Enterprises Ltd. in 2010, finding that the workers ...Read More