Source: Facebook

The head at a public library in British Columbia boasted that applications from white people were wholly disregarded when hiring for every executive position except her own.

Beth Davis, the chief librarian at Burnaby Public Library, stated in a mid-term report that when filling six job openings, the library rejected any résumés from white candidates.

Only non-white applicants were interviewed.

Though the Human Rights Code of B.C. bans discrimination against individuals based on “race, colour, or ancestry,” Burnaby Public Library received a five-year exemption to violate what otherwise would have been considered a human right – in the name of “equity.” 

The B.C. Office of the Human Rights Commissioner website mentions a recognition that the “special program.” exemption curtails equality rights but is justified in the pursuit of “substantive equality,” which is commonly referred to as equity or equality of outcome.

“Equality means that each person is treated fairly and with dignity. It means that ‘no one is denied opportunities for reasons that have nothing to do with inherent ability,’” it said. “However, treating everyone the same can sometimes lead to discrimination against disadvantaged individuals or groups. Sometimes, to advance human rights objectives, we need to look at treating people differently.”

In Davis’ public report, she outlines the library’s hiring process and how it came to exclude some Canadians based on the colour of their skin.

“From a process perspective, hiring managers look first at résumés from racialized candidates and only look at résumés from white candidates if there isn’t a sufficient pool of qualified racialized candidates,” the report said. “In all competitions to the mid-year evaluation point, there has been a sufficient pool of qualified racialized candidates.”

It said that every candidate hired through this human rights exemption program still holds their job except for one position, for which the vacancy only existed due to the incumbent being on “parental leave.”

Activist and former school trustee candidate Chanel Pfahl shared the report on X, which she views as evidence of unfair hiring processes.

“How is this allowed? The library filed an application for a special permit to discriminate based on race when hiring,” she said.

Pfahl pointed out that the only position where racial discrimination couldn’t be applied was Davis’s position as chief librarian.

“Isn’t that something- all positions but her own! Beth Davies, the whitey won’t quit for equity, but is fine with other white people losing out on opportunities due to their skin colour,” Pfahl said.

“She needs to be fired.  If she had any integrity, she’d step down from her position in favour of a ‘racialized’ person.  But we know she’d never do that,” one user on X said.

Another noted that anti-white discrimination is happening “all over the public sector and much of the private sector.”

“Disgusting…Pity the poor sap that was born a straight, white male.”

Some remarked that this exemption is only possible because of a particular section in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“We need to eliminate section 15(2) of the Charter that allows this crap,” the user said.

That section of the Charter states that it “does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.”

In other words, though discrimination based on those grounds is seemingly prohibited under the Charter, those same safeguards against discrimination can be considered irrelevant if the stated goal of the discriminatory policy is to improve the lives of people who are deemed to be  “disadvantaged.”