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26% of British Columbians witnessed or experienced hate since pandemic began: poll

B.C.’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner leading inquiry into rise of hate since March 2020
FILE – Thousands of people gather for a peaceful demonstration in support of George Floyd and Regis Korchinski-Paquet and protest against racism, injustice and police brutality, in Vancouver, on Sunday, May 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Just over one in four British Columbians have experienced or witnessed hate since the pandemic began in March 2020, according to a poll conducted by B.C.’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner.

The poll, which questioned 800 British Columbians in December, found that nine per cent of respondents had hate aimed at them. That number rose to 20 per cent for Indigenous individuals and 15 per cent of people of East Asian heritage.

Half of the 26 per cent who witnessed hate incidents were between the ages of 18 and 24, while 16 per cent of those polled witnesses racism.

The poll found that 80 per cent of British Columbians were concerned about the rise of hate incidents in the province.

“It is an ugly and disturbing trend. Some members of our communities are being treated as less than human and therefore somehow deserving of vitriol and violence. It is devastating and unacceptable,” said Commissioner Kasari Govender.

The human rights commissioner is conducting a year-long inquiry on hate amid the pandemic. The inquiry was launched in August of last year after 1,500 hate incidents were reported since the pandemic began. The human rights commissioner is expected to issue a report on how to stop and prevent hate at the end of the inquiry.

People in B.C. are asked to fill out a survey on hate between now and March 6. To access the survey, visit, call 1-855-412-1933 or email The survey is available in 15 languages.

READ MORE: Rise in hate during pandemic to mark first-ever inquiry by B.C. human rights commissioner


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