DATE: Monday, December 7, 2015
PLACE: Toronto City Hall, 2nd floor, ‘A’ Street Entrance
TIME: 11:00 a.m.
Legal groups, community advocates, academics and the Ontario Human Rights Commission call for tougher regulation on ”carding”
A broad network of community advocates, human rights and legal experts, academics and concerned and affected individuals is calling on the Province to ensure that its Draft Regulation on police street checks – or “carding” – achieves the Minister’s stated objective of ending arbitrary and discriminatory police street checks. They point to concerns with the Regulation’s limited application and scope.
Members of the network (see attached list) met with Yasir Naqvi, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services on Monday November 30, 2015. They presented a Joint Statement to address the changes they say are needed if the Minister is to meet his goal to “standardize police street checks across the province, and establish rules to ensure that these encounters are without bias, consistent, and carried out in a manner that promotes public confidence.”
The group said it welcomed and endorsed the objectives laid out by Minister Naqvi, as well as the objectives reflected in a Motion passed unanimously in the Legislative Assembly on October 22, 2015. However, the Draft Regulation falls short of these important objectives.
A major concern is the Draft Regulation’s limited application. All of its prohibitions, protections and accountability mechanisms do not apply when police are investigating a specific offence. So much of racial profiling in street checks occurs when police are investigating a reported crime and inappropriately and disproportionately scrutinize African Canadians.
If a suspect is identified as “young and Black” the Draft Regulation will do nothing to stop police from questioning any young Black man they meet, and then putting the young person’s personal information into a database. As well, the Regulation lacks privacy protections, allowing for the continued collection and holding, for an indefinite period, of the information of people who have not committed a crime.
The group says public confidence in the police is vital and encourages the Minister to take this opportunity to rebuild trust that has been lost.
The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) says the Draft Regulation poses “significant challenges for police leaders and our officers in their efforts to prevent crime and maintain public safety”. The network agrees that police have to be allowed to do their jobs. But they point to the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Human Rights Code, including the right to free from arbitrary detention and racial profiling and call on the government to create a framework to ensure police conduct is always consistent with the law.
Read the Joint Statement on the website of the Department of Criminology on the Ryerson University website.
Desmond Cole, Chair of press conference
Renu Mandhane, Chief Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC)
Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, Director, Equality Program, Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Howard Morton, Law Union of Ontario (LUO)
Knia Singh, President, Osgoode Society Against Institutional Injustice (OSAII)
Gordon Cressy, Concerned Citizens Against Carding, (CCAC)
For more information:
Howard F. Morton, Law Union of Ontario (LUO), 416-418-6502, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Knia Singh, President, Osgoode Society Against Institutional Injustice, 647-237-4267,