British Columbia Legislature (File Photo)

Amendments to the B.C. Human Rights Code that will re-establish a human rights commissioner will be introduced in the Legislature this fall, the provincial government announced Friday.

The proposed amendments will create an independent human rights commissioner who will then report to the legislative assembly.

B.C.’s former commission was dismantled in 2002, making it the only province in the country without one.

“This new human rights commission will work with people throughout B.C. to promote equality and fairness,” said attorney general David Eby. “The 16 years of British Columbia being the only province without a provincial organization dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights are coming to an end.”

The commissioner’s key functions will include educating British Columbians on human rights, with particular regards to gender equity and LGBTQ+ rights, as well as addressing issues of discrimination.

The commissioner will have a mandate to develop tools, policies, and guidelines to promote human rights and combat inequality and discrimination.

Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-West End, said the news was cause for celebration, especially as Vancouver gets set for this weekend’s Pride festival and parade.

“When groups are targeted by hate, we as a government and a society must act,” Herbert said. “These changes will be a big step forward toward building a more inclusive and welcoming community for all.”

Once legislation is passed, an all-party committee will be formed to recommend a commissioner, whose appointment will be subject to house approval.

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