Public interest inquiry into racial profiling and racial discrimination by the Toronto Police Service

Public interest inquiry into racial profiling and racial discrimination by the Toronto Police Service | Contact legal@ohrc.on.ca or 416-314-4547 | 3#TruthBeforeTrust
 
November 30, 2017 -  the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) announced that it has launched a public interest inquiry into racial profiling and racial discrimination by the Toronto Police Service (TPS). Using its legislated inquiry powers under section 31 of Ontario’s Human Rights Code, the OHRC has called for the TPS, the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) and the Special Investigations Unit to provide a wide range of data to determine exactly how and where racial profiling operates in law enforcement.

The OHRC is inquiring into the practices and activities of the TPS between January 1, 2010 and June 30, 2017, to assess whether they are consistent with racial profiling and racial discrimination against the Black community, including in the areas of:

  • Stop and questioning practices
  • Use of force
  • Arrests and charges, and forms and conditions of release for various offence categories, including:
    • simple drug possession
    • obstructing or assaulting a police officer
    • causing a disturbance
    • failing to comply with a bail condition (see Terms of Reference for complete list).

The Commission will also examine the TPS and TPSB’s culture, training, policies, procedures and accountability mechanisms relating to racial profiling and racial discrimination.

The OHRC expects to examine and report on any other relevant circumstances that may arise during the course of the inquiry. They will conduct research, retain experts, consult with key stakeholders, and receive information from affected individuals; interested groups and organizations (contact legal@ohrc.on.ca or 416-314-4547).

“The community has waited for over 40 years to see progress towards eliminating racial profiling, and it can’t afford to wait any longer,” said OHRC Chief Commissioner Renu Mandhane at today’s press conference. “Now is the time to pinpoint the problem areas, and do something about them. We call on the Toronto Police and the Toronto Police Services Board to join us on the path from truth to trust.”

For high resolution pictures and video of the press conference, visit: http://bit.ly/2jsctw7

Activity Type: 

Chief Commissioner statement

Introduction

I am here today to speak to all Ontarians about an issue that is undermining public trust in law enforcement — namely racial profiling and racial discrimination.
 
Despite the immense pain and suffering it has caused, discrimination in policing has been allowed to continue for decades. 
 
It is simply unacceptable that people who were racially profiled in their youth have to warn their grandchildren about it. 
 
Today, you will hear first-hand accounts of racial profiling, and learn about the Commission’s bold next steps to address it.
 

 

About racial profiling

Systemic discrimination in policing plays a key role in the pipeline to criminalization.  
 
It is part of the reason that Black people are over-represented at every stage of the criminal justice system.
 
For over four decades, we have seen incidents, studies, reports, recommendations, uprisings, and even deaths related to the over-policing of Toronto’s Black community.
 
As far back as the 1970s, racialized communities were raising concerns about racial profiling.
 
In 1988, Lester Donaldson and Michael Wade Lawson died at the hands of police.
 
In 1992, hundreds of people took to Yonge Street to protest the shooting death of Raymond Lawrence by Peel Police.
 
In 2009, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario found that Ronald Phipps was racially profiled by Toronto Police while delivering the mail.
 
In 2011, Mutaz Elmardy was stopped, punched in the face and searched by two Toronto Police officers.
 
The Divisional Court later awarded Mr. Elmardy $80,000 dollars in damages. 
 
In November 2011, in the Neptune 4 incident, two Toronto police officers violently arrested four Black teens at gunpoint while they were walking to a tutoring session on Toronto Community Housing property.
 
These are just a few of the many incidents that continue to foster a deep distrust of police.
 
Over the years, the Black community has organized and advocated for racial justice.
 
From the Black Action Defence Committee to Black Lives Matter, there is a rich history of the community searching for and demanding accountability.
 
While today’s leaders celebrate diversity and multiculturalism, racial discrimination has been part of the lived experience of newcomers to Canada since their arrival. 
 
This is the underbelly of the multiculturalism we celebrate.
 
And this is the lived reality of many people in our community today.
 

 

Announcing the inquiry

The time for talk is in the past.  
 
That is why the Ontario Human Rights Commission has launched a public interest inquiry into racial profiling and racial discrimination by the Toronto Police Service.
 
In the past, the Commission brought the lived experience of community members into focus and showed the harmful impact of racial profiling on individuals and communities.
 
This should have been enough…but it wasn’t.
 
These stories were often dismissed as anecdotal or the result of a “few bad apples.”
 
That’s why this inquiry is markedly different from anything we have been done before.
 
We will obtain and analyze quantitative data to pinpoint where racial disparities exist.
 
We will marry that data with the lived experience of individuals.
 
An investigation of this scope and scale is unprecedented in Ontario.  
 
Using our inquiry powers under section 31 of the Human Rights Code, we have called for the Toronto Police Service, the Toronto Police Services Board and the Special Investigations Unit to provide us with a wide range of data.
 
If we obtain this data, we will use it to propose targeted solutions that will create greater accountability for human rights and make our communities safer. 
 
We call on the Toronto Police Service to provide the Commission with the information we have requested. 
 
We know, and the community knows, that racial profiling is real.
 
This inquiry isn’t about establishing whether the community’s concerns are founded ….We know they are.
 
This inquiry is about determining the specific interactions between police and civilians that are of concern.
 
 

Inquiry details

The Commission is inquiring into practices and activities of the Toronto Police Service between January 1st 2010 and June 30th 2017.
 
We will assess whether these practices are consistent with racial discrimination against Black people.
 
We will inquire into:
  • Stop and question practices
  • Use of force incidents
  • Arrests, charges, and conditions of release for various offences, such as:
  • Simple drug possession
  • Obstructing or assaulting a police officer
  • Causing a disturbance
  • Or failing to comply with a bail condition
  • And we will analyze all interactions with police that result in serious injury or death.
 
We will also examine the Toronto Police Service and Toronto Police Services Board’s culture, training, policies, procedures and accountability mechanisms relating to racial profiling and racial discrimination.
 
We will look at whether the Service and the Board have developed systems to analyze whether particular police practices have a disproportionate impact on racialized people.  
 
And we will inquire into how the Service and the Board respond when Courts or Tribunals find that officers have engaged in racial discrimination.
 
We will also:
  • Conduct social science research
  • Identify best practices from other jurisdictions,
  • Retain experts,
  • And consult with key stakeholders, including community and advocacy groups.
 
Our Inquiry is meant to take the pressure off individuals who often do not come forward due to fear of reprisal or a deep sense of hopelessness. 
 
But we certainly want and need to hear from affected individuals.  
 
People with information related to our inquiry can contact us by email or phone.
 
And people who want information about their legal rights can contact the Human Rights Legal Support Centre.
 
And we will, of course, give the Service and the Board the opportunity to respond to our findings prior to making them public.
 
 

Mistrust of police – involves the whole community

Mistrust of police is not a new phenomenon – but it’s a growing one.
 
A Newstalk 1010 poll from September found that 6 in 10 Torontonians said they would “be scared” if they were pulled over by police for no apparent reason. 
 
That’s almost double the number who felt this way back in 2003.
 
And half of respondents felt that police officers rarely or never get punished for wrongdoing, whether it is on or off the job.
 
Clearly, lack of trust in Toronto Police extends far beyond the Black community.
 
This is deeply troubling because trust in law enforcement is essential. 
 
Without trust, police cannot provide proactive, intelligence-based policing, and this has profound consequences for public safety.
 
It’s time for the Toronto Police Service to build trust.

 

Call to action

The Toronto Police Services Board and the Special Investigations Unit have both responded to our request for information – but after five months, we are still waiting for the Toronto Police Service to meet its legal obligations.
 
The Board and the Commission have a shared interest in accountability for human rights, and we trust that the Board will make sure that the Service complies with its legal obligations to provide the requested data.

 

Government is leading change, but police have to follow

The provincial government recently created an Anti-Racism Directorate, and proposed legislative changes to policing and police oversight.
 
Ontario is listening and responding to community concerns.
 
It has proposed a framework for non-discriminatory policing that provides the foundation for positive change. 
 
But these legislative changes will only be effective if police services embed and reflect this modern vision of policing in their everyday operations.
 
The community has waited for more than 40 years to see progress towards eliminating racial profiling.
 
We cannot afford to wait any longer.
 
We have already seen generation after generation of Black Canadians have their lives irreparably damaged by racial profiling.
 
We owe a different future to our children.
 
With concrete action, police can build public trust and ensure that policing methods reinforce, rather than undermine, community safety.
 
 We call on the Toronto Police Service provide the Commission with the information we have requested. 
 
Ultimately … there is no trust without truth.
 
Thank you.
— Chief Commissioner, Renu Mandhane
 

Section 31 Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19

Inquiries

31 (1) The Commission may conduct an inquiry under this section for the purpose of carrying out its functions under this Act if the Commission believes it is in the public interest to do so.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Conduct of inquiry

(2) An inquiry may be conducted under this section by any person who is appointed by the Commission to carry out inquiries under this section.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Production of certificate

(3) A person conducting an inquiry under this section shall produce proof of their appointment upon request.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Entry

(4) A person conducting an inquiry under this section may, without warrant, enter any lands or any building, structure or premises where the person has reason to believe there may be documents, things or information relevant to the inquiry.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Time of entry

(5) The power to enter a place under subsection (4) may be exercised only during the place’s regular business hours or, if it does not have regular business hours, during daylight hours.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Dwellings

(6) A person conducting an inquiry under this section shall not enter into a place or part of a place that is a dwelling without the consent of the occupant.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Powers on inquiry

(7) A person conducting an inquiry may,

(a) request the production for inspection and examination of documents or things that are or may be relevant to the inquiry;

(b) upon giving a receipt for it, remove from a place documents produced in response to a request under clause (a) for the purpose of making copies or extracts;

(c) question a person on matters that are or may be relevant to the inquiry, subject to the person’s right to have counsel or a personal representative present during such questioning and exclude from the questioning any person who may be adverse in interest to the inquiry;

(d) use any data storage, processing or retrieval device or system used in carrying on business in the place in order to produce a document in readable form;

(e) take measurements or record by any means the physical dimensions of a place;

(f) take photographs, video recordings or other visual or audio recordings of the interior or exterior of a place; and

(g) require that a place or part thereof not be disturbed for a reasonable period of time for the purposes of carrying out an examination, inquiry or test.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Written demand

(8) A demand that a document or thing be produced must be in writing and must include a statement of the nature of the document or thing required.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Assistance

(9) A person conducting an inquiry may be accompanied by any person who has special, expert or professional knowledge and who may be of assistance in carrying out the inquiry.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Use of force prohibited

(10) A person conducting an inquiry shall not use force to enter and search premises under this section.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Obligation to produce and assist

(11) A person who is requested to produce a document or thing under clause (7) (a) shall produce it and shall, on request by the person conducting the inquiry, provide any assistance that is reasonably necessary, including assistance in using any data storage, processing or retrieval device or system, to produce a document in readable form.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Return of removed things

(12) A person conducting an inquiry who removes any document or thing from a place under clause (7) (b) shall,

(a) make it available to the person from whom it was removed, on request, at a time and place convenient for both that person and the person conducting the inquiry; and

(b) return it to the person from whom it was removed within a reasonable time.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Admissibility of copies

(13) A copy of a document certified by a person conducting an inquiry to be a true copy of the original is admissible in evidence to the same extent as the original and has the same evidentiary value.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Obstruction

(14) No person shall obstruct or interfere with a person conducting an inquiry under this section.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Search warrant

31.1 (1) The Commission may authorize a person to apply to a justice of the peace for a warrant to enter a place and conduct a search of the place if,

(a) a person conducting an inquiry under section 31 has been denied entry to any place or asked to leave a place before concluding a search;

(b) a person conducting an inquiry under section 31 made a request for documents or things and the request was refused; or

(c) an inquiry under section 31 is otherwise obstructed or prevented.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Same

(2) Upon application by a person authorized under subsection (1) to do so, a justice of the peace may issue a warrant under this section if he or she is satisfied on information under oath or affirmation that the warrant is necessary for the purposes of carrying out the inquiry under section 31.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Powers

(3) A warrant obtained under subsection (2) may authorize a person named in the warrant, upon producing proof of his or her appointment,

(a) to enter any place specified in the warrant, including a dwelling; and

(b) to do any of the things specified in the warrant.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Conditions on search warrant

(4) A warrant obtained under subsection (2) shall contain such conditions as the justice of the peace considers advisable to ensure that any search authorized by the warrant is reasonable in the circumstances.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Time of execution

(5) An entry under a warrant issued under this section shall be made at such reasonable times as may be specified in the warrant.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Expiry of warrant

(6) A warrant issued under this section shall name a date of expiry, which shall be no later than 15 days after the warrant is issued, but a justice of the peace may extend the date of expiry for an additional period of no more than 15 days, upon application without notice by the person named in the warrant.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Use of force

(7) The person authorized to execute the warrant may call upon police officers for assistance in executing the warrant and the person may use whatever force is reasonably necessary to execute the warrant.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Obstruction prohibited

(8) No person shall obstruct or hinder a person in the execution of a warrant issued under this section.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Application

(9) Subsections 31 (11), (12) and (13) apply with necessary modifications to an inquiry carried out pursuant to a warrant issued under this section.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Evidence used in Tribunal proceedings

31.2 Despite any other Act, evidence obtained on an inquiry under section 31 or 31.1 may be received into evidence in a proceeding before the Tribunal.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Anti-Racism Secretariat

31.3 (1) The Chief Commissioner directs the Anti-Racism Secretariat which shall be established in accordance with subsection (2).  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Composition

(2) The Anti-Racism Secretariat shall be composed of not more than six persons appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council on the advice of the Chief Commissioner.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Remuneration

(3) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may fix the remuneration and allowance for expenses of the members of the Anti-Racism Secretariat.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Functions of the Secretariat

(4) At the direction of the Chief Commissioner, the Anti-Racism Secretariat shall,

(a) undertake, direct and encourage research into discriminatory practices that infringe rights under Part I on the basis of racism or a related ground and make recommendations to the Commission designed to prevent and eliminate such discriminatory practices;

(b) facilitate the development and provision of programs of public information and education relating to the elimination of racism; and

(c) undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may be assigned by the Chief Commissioner.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Disability Rights Secretariat

31.4 (1) The Chief Commissioner directs the Disability Rights Secretariat which shall be established in accordance with subsection (2).  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Composition

(2) The Disability Rights Secretariat shall be composed of not more than six persons appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council on the advice of the Chief Commissioner.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Remuneration

(3) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may fix the remuneration and allowance for expenses of the members of the Disability Rights Secretariat.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Functions of the Secretariat

(4) At the direction of the Chief Commissioner, the Disability Rights Secretariat shall,

(a) undertake, direct and encourage research into discriminatory practices that infringe rights under Part I on the basis of disability and make recommendations to the Commission designed to prevent and eliminate such discriminatory practices;

(b) facilitate the development and provision of programs of public information and education intended to promote the elimination of discriminatory practices that infringe rights under Part I on the basis of disability; and

(c) undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may be assigned by the Chief Commissioner.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Advisory groups

31.5 The Chief Commissioner may establish such advisory groups as he or she considers appropriate to advise the Commission about the elimination of discriminatory practices that infringe rights under this Act.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Annual report

31.6 (1) Every year, the Commission shall prepare an annual report on the affairs of the Commission that occurred during the 12-month period ending on March 31 of each year.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Report to Speaker

(2) The Commission shall submit the report to the Speaker of the Assembly no later than on June 30 in each year who shall cause the report to be laid before the Assembly if it is in session or, if not, at the next session.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Copy to Minister

(3) The Commission shall give a copy of the report to the Minister at least 30 days before it is submitted to the Speaker under subsection (2).  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Other reports

31.7 In addition to the annual report, the Commission may make any other reports respecting the state of human rights in Ontario and the affairs of the Commission as it considers appropriate, and may present such reports to the public or any other person it considers appropriate.  2006, c. 30, s. 4.

Terms of Reference

Ontario Human Rights Commission Inquiry into Racial Discrimination
and Racial Profiling of Black persons by the Toronto Police Service

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is the provincial statutory agency responsible for advancing human rights and preventing systemic discrimination in Ontario. The OHRC has broad powers under the Ontario Human Rights Code (Code) to initiate inquiries in the public interest, monitor and report on human rights issues, and engage in litigation, including by filing applications with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and intervening in other legal proceedings.

The OHRC’s 2017-2022 Strategic Plan identifies enforcing human rights in the criminal justice system as one of four strategic priorities. The OHRC is working towards ending racial profiling and discrimination in all police practices, increasing human rights accountability in policing and making human rights competence a requirement for the police.

For over a decade, the OHRC has raised concerns about anti-Black racism in policing in Toronto. Carding and other practices that have a disproportionate negative impact on Black persons have eroded trust in police, which is essential to effective policing, and ultimately, public safety. 

The OHRC is conducting a public interest inquiry into potential racial profiling of and racial discrimination against Black persons by the Toronto Police Service (TPS).  This inquiry is being carried out under the OHRC’s powers pursuant to section 31 of the Code which include but are not limited to:

  • The power to request the production of documents or things;
  • The power to question a person on matters that may be relevant to the inquiry; subject only to the person’s right to counsel; and
  • The ability to use expert assistance to carry out the inquiry.

Scope of the Inquiry

  1. The OHRC will inquire into the following practices and activities of the TPS  between January 1, 2010 and June 30, 2017 to assess whether they are consistent with racial profiling and racial discrimination against Black persons:
  1. Stop and question practices of the TPS.
  2. Use of force by the TPS.
  3. Arrests and charges by the TPS and forms and conditions of release applied by the TPS in relation to certain categories of offences:
    1. Out-of-sight driving offences;
    2. Simple drug possession;
    3. Obstructing a police officer, assaulting a police officer, assaulting a police officer to resist arrest, and uttering threats against a police officer;
    4. Loitering, causing a disturbance and trespassing; and
    5. Failing to comply with a bail condition or undertaking to a police officer.

 

  1. The OHRC will inquire into the possible disproportionate impact of the above activities on Black persons and communities.

 

  1. The inquiry will examine the TPS’s and Toronto Police Services Board’s (TPSB) culture, training, policies, procedures and accountability mechanisms relating to racial profiling and racial discrimination.

 

  1. The OHRC will also examine whether the TPS and TPSB have developed systems to review whether stop and question, use of force, arrests and charges, and release practices disproportionately impact racialized people. 

 

  1. The OHRC will inquire into how the TPS and TPSB respond to findings by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, civil courts, and criminal courts that its officers have engaged in racial discrimination or racial profiling.

 

  1. The OHRC may examine and report on any other circumstance relevant to potential racial profiling of and racial discrimination against Black persons by the TPS that may arise during the course of the inquiry.

Inquiry Process

  1. To carry out the inquiry, the OHRC will:
    1. seek documents and data including from the TPS, TPSB and the Special Investigations Unit (SIU); 
    2. Conduct research, including interjurisdictional research;
    3. Retain experts;
    4. Consult with key stakeholders; and
    5. Receive information from affected individuals, interested groups and organizations.

 

  1. The OHRC will report publicly on the inquiry process, its findings and recommendations. The OHRC will provide an opportunity for the TPS and TPSB to respond to the inquiry’s findings and recommendations before making the report public.

 

  1. The OHRC will also assess the need to take further steps available to it under the Code to address any issues identified.

 

  1. Any revisions to these Terms of Reference will be posted publicly.

 

Privacy

  1. The OHRC recognizes the potential vulnerability of affected individuals and the sensitivity of the information it will receive during the course of the inquiry.

 

  1. The OHRC will take all reasonable steps to conduct any interviews in a manner that protects the security of the person interviewed and respects their confidentiality. The OHRC will not disclose personal information of affected individuals without informed consent.

 

  1. The OHRC will take all reasonable steps to ensure that personal information that is gathered from individuals, the TPS, the TPSB or the SIU is treated confidentially and in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).

 

  1. The OHRC will be governed by its Protection of Personal Information and Privacy Safeguards Policy [link] and will take all reasonable steps to prevent unauthorized access, use or disclosure of personal information as directed by FIPPA.

 

  1. The OHRC will destroy any personal information as soon as reasonably possible after it is no longer required.

 

November 30, 2017

Timeline

Timeline of racial discrimination and racial profiling of Black persons
by the Toronto Police Service and OHRC initiatives related to the Toronto Police

Note: With the exception of Sammy Yatim, all of the victims included below were Black. 
This is not an exhaustive list of incidents and activities.


1978
  • Andrew “Buddy” Evans, 24, was killed by a Toronto Police officer at a nightclub on King Street West. A coroner’s inquest did not find wrongdoing on the officer’s part.

1979
  • Albert Johnson, 35, was shot and killed in his apartment by two Toronto Police officers. The officers were both charged with manslaughter, but were acquitted in November 1980.
     
  • Michael Sargeant was killed by Toronto Police officer.

1985
  • Leander Savoury, was killed by Toronto Police officer.

1988
  • Lester Donaldson, 44, was shot and killed in his rooming house by a Toronto Police officer. The police said they were responding to a call of a man holding hostages, but found Donaldson alone in his room. He was shot for allegedly lunging at the officer with a knife. The officer was charged with manslaughter, but was later acquitted.
     
  • Michael Wade Lawson, 17, was shot in the back of the head and killed by Toronto Police officers. Lawson was shot while riding in a stolen car. The two officers were charged with manslaughter and aggravated assault, but were acquitted of all charges in 1992.
     
  • Dudley Laws, Charles Roach, Sherona Hall and Lennox Farrell founded the Black Action Defence Committee, in response to police shootings of Black people.
     
  • The Ontario government created the Race Relations and Policing Task Force in response to the killing of Lester Donaldson and Michael Wade Lawson. Clare Lewis, then Public Complaints Commissioner of Metropolitan Toronto Police, was appointed to head the task force. The task force was empowered “to address promptly the very serious concerns of visible minority communities respecting the interaction of the police community with their own.” The taskforce recommended that officers whose performance indicates that they have difficulty addressing race relations issues be required to attend training and that their performance be formally monitored and they create an award for officers who exhibit skill in identifying race relations in the course of their duties. 

1989 
  • Sophia Cook, a 23-year-old Black woman, was temporarily paralyzed after being shot in the back by a Toronto Police officer while sitting in a car. Cook had taken a ride in an allegedly stolen car after she had missed her bus. The officer was acquitted in 1994 of the charge of careless use of a firearm.

1990
  • Marlon Neil, an unarmed 16-year-old, was shot and seriously injured by a Toronto Police officer. Neil was pulled over after fleeing a radar trap and was shot for holding what appeared to be a gun. He was holding the emergency brake. The officer was found not guilty in 1991 of charges of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, attempted murder and aggravated assault.
     
  • The Police Services Act was amended to create the Special Investigations Unit (SIU). The SIU was responsible for carrying out “criminal investigations into circumstances involving police and civilians that have resulted in serious injury, death or allegations of sexual assault.”

1991
  • Jonathan Howell, 24, was shot and seriously injured by a Toronto Police officer. The shot left Howell with permanent brain damage. The officer was found guilty of the charge of careless use of a firearm, and was given an absolute discharge.
     
  • Royan Bagnaut, 21, was shot and seriously injured by a Toronto Police officer. The officer was charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm, but was acquitted in 1993.

1992 
  • Raymond Lawrence, 22, was shot and killed by two Peel Regional police officers.
     
  • Two days after Lawrence’s death, several hundred Canadians took to Yonge Street to protest police brutality. The media referred to the event as the Yonge Street Riot or the Yonge Street Uprising. 
     
  • The Ontario government established the Commission on Systemic Racism in the Ontario Criminal Justice System. The Commission’s mandate was to study and make recommendations on all facets of Ontario’s criminal justice system.
     
  • The Ontario government appointed Stephen Lewis to investigate the root causes of the uprising by a multi-racial group of people following the death of Raymond Lawrence. The resulting Report of the Advisor on Race Relations to the Premier of Ontario, Bob Rae, concluded that visible minorities, particularly African Canadians, experienced discrimination in policing and the criminal justice system.

1993
  • Ian Coley was killed by a Toronto Police officer.

1994
  • Albert Moses, 41, was shot and killed in his room in downtown Toronto by Toronto Police officers. The SIU did not lay charges.

1995
  • The Commission on Systemic Racism in the Ontario Criminal Justice System released its 450-page report. One of its recommendations was to develop guidelines for the exercise of police discretion to stop and question people, with the goal of eliminating differential treatment of Black and other racialized people. The Commission recommended that the guidelines be enforced by monitoring (through feedback from the community).

1996
  • Tommy Anthony Barnett, 22, was shot and killed by a Toronto Police officer for allegedly unsheathing a sword. Barnett was shot four times in the chest. The SIU did not lay charges.
     
  • Andrew Bramwell, 24, was shot and killed by a Toronto Police officer.

1999
  • Henry Musaka, 26, was fatally shot. Musaka was shot twice in the head and once in the chest by Toronto police officers with the emergency task force, who were responding to an allegation that Musaka had taken a St. Michael hospital doctor hostage. An unloaded pellet gun was later recovered from the deceased.

2002
  • The Toronto Star’s “Singled Out” series was first released. The series used crime data from 1996-2002, obtained through a freedom of information request, to identify differential treatment of Black persons by the Toronto Police Service. The Star’s investigation also uncovered the “Driving While Black” phenomenon where Black persons were disproportionately charged for “out-of-sight” driving offences.
     
  • In response to the Toronto Star’s findings, then-Chief of Toronto Police Julian Fantino stated: “We do not do racial profiling. We do not deal with people on the basis of their ethnicity, their race or any other factor. We’re not perfect people but you’re barking up the wrong tree. There’s no racism… it seems that, according to some people, no matter what honest efforts people make, there are always those who are intent on causing trouble.” 
     
  • On the eve of International Human Rights Day, the OHRC announced that it would conduct an inquiry into the effects of racial profiling on individuals, families, communities and society as a whole.

2003
  • The OHRC’s inquiry into the effects of racial profiling was officially launched. The inquiry report, Paying the Price – The human cost of racial profiling, raised public awareness about the social cost of racial profiling and recommended action for police. The report recommended, among other things, that persons in positions of leadership in Ontario, including government officials, accept and acknowledge the existence of racial profiling and show a willingness to take action to combat it. Further, it recommended that where anecdotal evidence of racial profiling exists, the organization involved should collect data to monitor its occurrence and to identify measures to combat it.
     
  • The Association of Black Law Enforcers (ABLE) acknowledged the existence of racial profiling, stating: “A.B.L.E. acknowledges that the vast majority of Law Enforcement Officers in our Country perform their duties in a professional, honourable and ethical manner. We believe this because we are also these Officers. At the same time, we accept the presence of the Law Enforcement phenomenon known as Racial Profiling. As Black and Minority Officers, we live in two worlds that allow us to intimately understand the issues that affect our Community and our profession.”
     
  • Then-Toronto Police Chief Julian Fantino continued to deny the existence of racial profiling.

2005

2006
  • Roger Shallow, a 37-year-old Black crown attorney, was arrested for causing a disturbance and resisting arrest by Toronto Police officers. Shallow filed a discrimination/racism-related complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, against the Toronto Police Services Board and five officers.

2007
  • Human Rights Project Charter: The OHRC, Toronto Police Service and Toronto Police Services Board agreed to embark on the Human Rights Project Charter. This agreement arose from a proposed settlement of several human rights complaints against the TPS. The three-year project was designed to help the TPSB and the TPS identify and eliminate discrimination in the hiring and employment of TPS members and in the services the TPS delivered to the public. The OHRC’s role included providing advice to the TPS and TPSB on their ongoing human rights organizational change initiatives, working with sub-committees to develop human rights organizational change recommendations, and monitoring and reporting on progress.
     
  • Then-Premier Dalton McGuinty appointed former Chief Justice and Attorney General Roy McMurtry and former Speaker of the Legislature Alvin Curling as Co-Chairs to conduct a Review of the Roots of Youth Violence. 

2008
  • The five-volume report of the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence was published. This report outlined the societal conditions that are root causes of violence involving youth. It also identified key barriers to thriving, including poverty, racism, inaccessible and inadequate community design, failures of the education and justice systems, health issues, family issues, a lack of youth voice, and a lack of economic opportunity.

2009
  • Phipps v Toronto Police Services Board, 2009 HRTO 877: The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario found a Black letter carrier was racially profiled by Toronto Police while delivering mail.
     
  • Abbott v Toronto Police Services Board, 2009 HRTO 1909: The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario found that a Black woman experienced discrimination because of her race and gender during an encounter with a Toronto Police officer. The Tribunal found that a routine traffic stop would not have escalated to a physical confrontation with seven tickets being issued had the woman been White. 
     
  • R v Ahmed, [2009] OJ No. 5092 (SCJ): The Ontario Superior Court of Justice found the evidence of two Toronto Police officers unreliable and that the defendant, Mr. Ahmed, was investigated and arbitrarily detained because of his race. 
     
  • Then-Toronto Police William Blair acknowledged that racial bias exists within the Toronto Police service. He said: “from my own experiences and from what I’ve seen in society and what’s been reported in the media, I think substantial amounts of progress have been made since [the Star series]. Now does that mean there’s no racial profiling or improvements to be made? Not necessarily so.” 
     
  • The Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) was established under the Police Services Act.

2010 
  • Alexander Manon, 18, died in custody of Toronto Police officers. A coroner’s inquest found that the “cause of death was positional asphyxia after the chase and exertion.” The SIU did not lay charges.
     
  • Human Rights Project Charter: The OHRC, TPS and TPSB’s Human Rights Project Charter agreement ended. The TPS and TPSB did not follow the OHRC’s advice on accountability for racial profiling, which included the recommendation that there be race-based data collection on stops. Among other things, the OHRC also recommended providing human rights, equity and diversity training and on-going professional development for all employees, to give employees with the skills and knowledge to create a working environment that fully complies with norms established by the Human Rights Code, and that is anti-racist, non-discriminatory, professional, respectful, diverse and inclusive.
     
  • Reyal Jensen Jardine-Douglas, 25, died after being shot several times by a Toronto Police officer. Jardine-Douglas had mental health issues, and it was his family who had called the police for help to get him admitted to the hospital. The SIU did not lay criminal charges.
     
  • Eric Osawe, 26, was killed in his Etobicoke apartment by a Toronto Police officer. Following the SIU investigation, the officer was charged with manslaughter, which was later upgraded to second-degree murder. In 2013, the charge was dismissed at the preliminary hearing. 
     
  • At its September Board meeting, the TPSB passed a motion that removed a prohibition, instituted in 1989, on collecting and analyzing police service data relating to race and other Code grounds.

2011
  • The OHRC released Human rights and policing: creating and sustaining organizational change, built on the experience gained from the Toronto Police Service, Toronto Police Services Board, and OHRC’s Human Rights Project Charter initiative. The guide provides, among other things, a foundation for fostering and sustaining inclusive police services and preventing human rights violations before they happen. It recommends various steps related to police service delivery, such as collecting human rights-based data on service delivery, and including human rights considerations in performance management.  

2012
  • Then-Toronto Police Chief William Blair directed the Chief’s Internal Organization Review (CIOR) to examine all aspects of the Toronto Police Service related to community engagement, and specifically the Field Information Report (FIR) process. This review was the foundation for Phase II of the Police and Community Engagement Review (PACER). The PACER report focused on how the Toronto Police Service could enhance public trust and safety, while delivering bias-free service.
     
  • Michael Eligon, 29, was fatally shot by a Toronto Police officer. Eligon was being held at the Toronto East General Hospital for mental health concerns, and was killed while holding a pair of scissors. The SIU did not lay criminal charges.
     
  • Frank Anthony Berry, 48, was fatally shot by Toronto Police officers. The officers discharged two bullets, hitting Berry in the torso, because they believed that he was approaching them with a knife. The object was later discovered to be a pair of scissors. The SIU did not lay criminal charges.
     
  • The Toronto Star’s “Known to Police” series was first released. The series used crime data, obtained through a freedom of information request, to show that Black people are grossly over-represented in the Toronto Police Service’s carding data, among other things. The investigation also revealed that Black persons are more likely to be carded in affluent, mostly White areas of Toronto. 
     
  • Maynard v Toronto Police Services Board, 2012 HRTO 1220: The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario found that race was a factor in suspect selection and the takedown at gunpoint of a Black man. The Tribunal found that the explanations the TPS officer offered did not fully address his conduct toward Mr. Maynard, and that the incident happened in part because Mr. Maynard was a young Black man. The OHRC was a party in this claim. 

2013
  • The OHRC made a deputation to TPSB, and sent letters to the TPSB Chair outlining recommendations on carding. The OHRC recommended that the Board stop the practice of carding until policies and procedures were fully developed and completely and transparently assessed against the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 
     
  • Claybourn v Toronto Police Services Board, 2013 HRTO 1298: Based in part on the OHRC’s submissions, the HRTO found that filing a complaint about a police officer’s conduct with the OIPRD does not prevent someone from also filing a human rights application alleging discrimination.
     
  • The Toronto Star released another analysis of Toronto Police Service data, as part of its “Known to Police” series. Between January 1, 2013 and November 13, 2013, Black people remained more likely to be carded in each of the city’s patrol zones. In July 2013, there was a 75% drop in the number of contact cards filled out. This was at the same time that the TPS required officers to provide receipts to people who were carded. However, the proportion of contact cards filled out for Black persons went up to 27.4%, compared to 23.3% before the drop in 2013.
     
  • Then-TPSB Chair Dr. Alok Mukherjee submitted a report (Mukherjee Report) to the board on “police carding and the issue of profiling.” The report included an overview of several decades’ worth of reports and studies on racial profiling and tension over police stops in Toronto. The report also made 18 recommendations for the board to direct to then-Chief William Blair.
     
  • The TPSB invited public comment on the Police and Community Engagement Review (PACER) and Mukherjee reports. The OHRC made a deputation to the TPSB and restated its position that the TPS must stop carding until policies and procedures are fully developed and assessed against the Code and Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The OHRC was critical of the PACER report because, among other things: there was a lack of information about how contact card data was being used; there was no indication that individuals stopped would be told that they were free to leave; and it appeared that being in a high-crime neighborhood was enough to justify a street check. 
     
  • Sammy Yatim, 18, was fatally shot by a Toronto Police officer. Yatim was brandishing a three-inch knife while in an empty streetcar. The officer shot him eight times, six of which reportedly occurred once Yatim had already fallen to the ground. The SIU laid charges and the officer was later convicted of second-degree murder.

2014
  • The OHRC delivered several deputations to the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) on carding. The TPSB passed a Policy on Community Contacts. 
     
  • The OHRC began a public education initiative on human rights systems, carding and racial profiling through a series of events with community and advocacy groups. 
     
  • R v A.K., 2014 ONCJ 374: The Ontario Court of Justice found that a Black youth, who was arbitrarily detained, carded, dropped face first to the ground and searched, had his Charter rights breached, specifically sections 8, 9 and 10 of the Charter. The Court acquitted him of all charges.
     
  • Human Rights Project Charter: Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute conducted an independent evaluation of the Human Rights Project Charter. Forty-six Project Charter participants and key stakeholders were interviewed. Many interviewees noted the absence of a targeted strategy to combat racial profiling. The Diversity Institute recommended, among other things, that the Toronto Police Service improve overall data collection and analysis systems, including taking steps to improve self-identification rates and collecting demographic information on respondents on both internal and external surveys. 
     
  • The Toronto Police Services Board retained Logical Outcomes to provide a report measuring the impact of the Board’s “Community Contacts” policy. The report entitled A Community-Based Assessment of Police Contact Carding in 31 Division (CAPP Report), found, among other things, that African Canadians were over-represented in stops in 31 Division; African Canadians did not feel free to leave or assert their right to leave when stopped and questioned by TPS officers, and that people in 31 Division overwhelmingly believed that TPS officers engage in racial profiling.
     
  • The OHRC delivered a deputation to the Toronto Police Services Board on the findings of the CAPP Report. The OHRC stated that the TPS and TPSB’s work on racial profiling must: recognize that reform is long overdue; be transparent and provide the community with meaningful information; advance a rights-based approach to community policing that improves public trust and cooperation with the TPS; and demonstrate real accountability, up to and including dismissal, when officer behaviour is consistent with racial profiling.
     
  • Daniel Clause, 33, was killed by a Toronto Police officer after being shot four times. The officer who stopped Clause at a community housing complex thought he matched the description of an armed individual who had committed robbery. At the coroner’s inquest, the officer testified that he shot Clause after he had reached and pointed a gun in the officer’s direction. The gun was later discovered to be a pellet gun. The SIU did not lay charges.


2015
  • Then-Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair suspended carding on January 1st. The move came after the December 2014 TPSB meeting where the board passed a motion asking the Chief to finalize carding procedures by February 2015, in line with the board’s community contacts policy – which emphasized citizens’ rights, including the right to walk away from the encounter if the person was not being investigated for a specific crime. At the June 18, 2015 TPSB meeting, newly-appointed Chief Mark Saunders confirmed that the suspension meant that contacts were not being entered from memo books into the police database. The TPSB passed a revised carding policy. The OHRC provided a deputation in advance of the Board’s decision to pass the revised policy, citing various concerns. 

     

  • R v Smith, 2015 ONSC 3548: The Ontario Superior Court found that Mr. Smith was stopped by Toronto Police officers because he was a young Black male driving a Mercedes in an area known for gangs, drugs and guns. The Court found the stop was racially motivated, amounting to violations of Smith’s ss. 8 and 9 Charter rights. The evidence against Smith was excluded, and he was acquitted of all charges. 
     
  • The OHRC sought intervener status in a matter before the Toronto Police Service Disciplinary Tribunal. In this case, often called the “Neptune 4 case”, two officers were charged with misconduct in the high-profile gunpoint arrest of four Black teens on Toronto Community Housing property. The OHRC requested to intervene to make sure the Disciplinary Tribunal considered racial profiling – an issue, the OHRC contended, was a clear factor in the officers’ alleged misconduct. 
     
  • Andrew Loku was shot and killed by a Toronto Police officer. Loku was shot in the hallway of his residential building, seconds after the officer saw him holding a hammer. The apartment complex Loku lived in was affiliated with the Canadian Mental Health Association.
     
  • Kwasi Skene-Peters, 21, was killed by Toronto Police officers in Toronto’s entertainment district. At the time of his death, Toronto police had a Canada-wide warrant out for Mr. Skene-Peters who was wanted in connection to a crime committed less than a month before his death. The SIU found the two Toronto officers to have acted in self-defence, and that Skene-Peters fired on the officers first. A coroner’s inquest will examine the events surrounding and leading up to his death. 
     
  • The OHRC began a year-long consultation to learn more about the nature of racial profiling across Ontario, and help organizations, individuals and communities identify, address and prevent racial profiling. 
     
  • The Ontario government announced it will standardize and regulate police street checks. The OHRC provided submissions to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services on street checks. 

2016
  • In March, the Government of Ontario released a new regulation on street checks, O. Reg. 58/16: Collection of Identifying Information in Certain Circumstances – Prohibition and Duties. 
     
  • Alexander Wetlaufer, 21, was shot and killed by Toronto Police officers, who were responding to a report of a man armed with a gun. Wetlaufer was found in possession of a gun, and was shot three times by three officers after not responding to their request to put it down. After his death, the police found that Wetlaufer’s weapon was a BB gun. The SIU did not lay charges.
     
  • In April, Black Lives Matter-Toronto organized a community protest outside of the Toronto Police Service headquarters and Queen’s Park, to call for an inquest into the death of Andrew Loku after the SIU did not find grounds to lay criminal charges against the subject officer. 
     
  • The OHRC’s motion to intervene in the Toronto Police Service disciplinary hearing in the “Neptune 4” case on the gunpoint arrest of four Black teenagers on Toronto Community Housing property was denied on jurisdictional grounds. 
     
  • The provincial government announced its review of the Police Services Act as part of its Strategy for a Safer Ontario (SSO). The OHRC provided a series of recommendations to the government that were endorsed by over 20 community and advocacy groups.
     
  • The United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent expressed serious concerns about systemic anti-Black racism in the criminal justice system in Canada. 
     
  • The OHRC provided a submission to the Independent Review of Police Oversight Bodies commissioned by the Government of Ontario. The subsequent report submitted to the Ministry of the Attorney General by the Honourable Justice Michael H. Tulloch put forth a series of recommendations aimed at building public trust in law enforcement, and ultimately increasing public safety. 
     
  • R v Ohenhen, 2016 ONSC: The Superior Court of Ontario found no legal basis for Toronto Police officers’ detention, arrest, and search of a Black man. The Court found the officers had breached the man’s ss. 8, 9 and 10(a) and (b) Charter rights, excluded the evidence against Mr. Ohenhen, and acquitted him of all charges. 
     
  • R v Thompson, [2016] OJ No. 2118: The Ontario Court of Justice found the stop of a Black man was racially motivated, and a result of racial profiling. The evidence from the illegal stop was excluded, and the charges against Mr. Thompson were dismissed. 
     
  • Dafonte Miller, 19, suffered serious injuries after being beaten in Durham region by an off-duty Toronto Police officer and his brother. Despite the involvement of an off-duty officer, neither the Toronto Police Service nor the Durham Police Service notified the SIU. Miller’s lawyer later notified the SIU who laid charges against the officer and his brother.

2017
  • Andrew Henry, 43, was arrested after allegedly assaulting Toronto Police officers. While he was face-down on the pavement, he was Tasered twice and repeatedly stomped on by a Toronto Police sergeant. The OIPRD investigation found misconduct by several officers including excessive use of force by the sergeant, neglect of duty for failing to activate in-car camera systems and microphones upon arriving at the scene, and discreditable conduct for how officers spoke to a bystander who was filming the event. A Discipline Hearing will be held for the sergeant who used excessive force.

  • The OHRC released Under Suspicion: Research and consultation report on racial profiling in Ontario. The report confirmed that racial profiling is a daily reality that damages communities and undermines trust in public institutions. For this report, the OHRC combined social science research with lived experiences gained through consultations with over 1,600 individuals and organizations.
     
  •  Elmardy v Toronto Police Services Board, 2017 ONSC 2074: In a civil proceeding, the Superior Court of Ontario found that a Toronto Police officer committed battery against Mr. Elmardy, and violated his ss. 8, 9 and 10 constitutional rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He was awarded $25,000 in punitive damages for the police conduct. Elmardy appealed the decision and argued that the trial judge should have made a finding that he was racially profiled and the damages were not enough to deter and punish police officers who engage in racial profiling. The Divisional Court agreed and awarded Elmardy damages of $80,000. To date, this is the largest damage award in history for a victim of racial profiling.
     
  • The Ontario government introduced the Safer Ontario Act, 2017, comprehensive public safety legislation that, if passed, would represent the largest policing transformation in a generation. The proposed legislation would modernize the police accountability system in the province, among other things.

A.B.L.E. - Statement of support

Association of Black Law Enforcers – Statement of Support

Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC)
Inquiry into Police Racial Profiling

November 30, 2017

Charlene Tardiel, Community Services Officer
(on behalf of the Association of Black Law Enforcers)

The Association of Black Law Enforcers (A.B.L.E.) is an organization representing the interests of active and retired individuals who are, or were employed as Police and Peace Officers in Federal, Provincial, and Municipal Law Enforcement Agencies. We are also individuals who belong to Black, and Racialized communities in Canada.

Our members acknowledge that the vast majority of police officers in our cities, provinces and indeed across Canada perform their sworn duties in an honourable, ethical and professional manner.

We as members of A.B.L.E. believe this to be true because we work with these officers and form part of the ranks of these organizations. However, as Black and Racialized law enforcers, we live and work in two worlds. We have a unique perspective on the community’s interactions with the system in that we interact, live and work in the community that we belong to and as such understand firsthand the socio-political and justice issues that emerge.

Accordingly, A.B.L.E. supports the position that the presence of “Racial Profiling” as a Systemic issue in law enforcement agencies exists and must be eliminated. In effect, A.B.L.E. believes that in order to better understand the issue of racial profiling and be able to create a common understanding it must be defined.

The working definition of racial profiling that A.B.L.E. adopts is:

Investigative or enforcement activity initiated by an individual officer based on his or her subjective stereotypical, prejudicial or racist perceptions of who is likely to be involved in wrong doing or criminal activity. This type of conduct can be unintentional, but can also be systemically facilitated when there are ineffective policy, training, monitoring and control mechanisms in a system.” (A.B.L.E. October, 2002)

As an internationally networked organization, A.B.L.E. shares a broad base of practical experience that can assist others with building and maintaining meaningful relationships that will assist in eradicating intended or unintended injustices to any citizen by questionable practises that have disproportionate impacts.

Accordingly, we support the initiation of an inquiry into Racial Profiling in policing by the Human Rights Commission as a means by which to better understand if the current changes to training, policy, and diversity hiring have assisted in minimizing and potentially eliminating racial profiling and its impacts.

We know that Racial Profiling unchecked will continue to erode essential trust and undermine legitimacy as it relates to policing in Black and Racialized communities. We also believe that Racial Profiling is not compatible with our vision of police services being provided in a fair, equitable, safe and human rights complaint manner.

Thank you

Youth advisor statements

Hairstory - Youth advisor 1

Hi my name is Anonymous (not sure if we were suppose to state names) I felt like it was very important for me to speak today on behalf of my community and other black youth because carding and police harassment has been a very frequent issue for my brothers and I growing up in the city of Toronto. 

I have faced experiences where I've been stopped for no complete reason just walking to and from home and school or just to hang out and play basketball with friends. I am also not here to play the victim and make it seem as if I haven't been in situations with the police for being at the wrong place at the wrong time or with the wrong group of people but I would say in those situations that I've seen human beings treated poorly and disrespected as if they had no rights.

I saw police officers run out with there guns drawn on my brothers and I and if anyone had any pending cases within the justice system or if they were on probation they would tell the rest of us to allow them to search us or they would charge the youth with a fail to comply charge for no complete reason and of course we would allow them to search us so that our peer doesn't receive a charge for nothing that would be disappointing to his parent that the police seem to forget about we are humans with family members who love us and it breaks their hearts to hear that their children or brother and sister have gotten into trouble with the law for something such as defending himself from injustice.

A situation I recall back in high school is when my friends were playing basketball competing and having fun when the Tavis police rode there bikes by and stopped the basketball game to get everyones information as they used to do on a daily basis my friend felt as if he shouldn't have to stop his basketball game for this unwelcomed interruption and was tired of the unlawful acts of the police when he decided to stand up and say “no i will not stop playing no one has committed a crime and you guys are wasting our time and yours” when he decided to stand up the police officers have decided that they did not like to see a young black man that knows his rights stand up to them and proceeded to make an example out of him by holding him down behind a gate and beating him up.

I don't know what they were trying to accomplish but to me it seems that if they can break down the courageous one the rest of the group would never stand up to them again. This impacted my brothers and I in a way that made us feel powerless and inhumane. we felt like we weren't an important part of society and shouldn't bother to make something of ourselves because the police had the power to take our joy away anyways.

I wouldn't say that carding only had a negative  impact although they mostly have negative outcomes since that day my friend has been motivated to make something of himself and went to the US to pursue his basketball career through a scholarship stating he never wants something like that to happen to him again so their attempt to break his spirit was a failure they ended up igniting the flame and that same flame inspired me to never settle for less in life and strive for greatness.

Since the carding law has been changed in January I haven't personally faced any unjust treatment by any law enforcement I have heard from my peers that they have still been stopped for no reason and have been given excuses for reason why they have been a target for discussion but they still believe said excuses were just a run around tactic so that police can engage in conversation and receive their information.

Hairstory- Youth advisor 2

Police officers have questioned me if “this is my neighborhood” & “is this my car” when I was on my way to a casting, they told me to show them all my information when I did nothing wrong was going the speed limit.

I was driving my mom’s red Kia Optima. (Nice car right?!), asking me to pop the trunk of the car.

So what you’re telling me is: ‘black youth and adults can’t drive nice cars?’

We must stop the practice of racial profiling in Toronto. Is it correct for Police Officers in Toronto to stop a black youth driver for an alleged traffic offense to question and sometimes search the black driver?

I feel the police think of us as criminals and that we are all the same when we are not. 

Notice of collection of personal information

Project Title: Toronto Police Service Racial Profiling and Racial Discrimination Inquiry

Purpose for collecting the personal information and public benefit of the project

For over a decade, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has raised concerns about anti-Black racism in policing in Toronto. Carding and other practices that have a disproportionate negative impact on Black persons have eroded trust in police, which is essential to effective policing, and ultimately, public safety.

In order to inquire into and report on potential racial profiling of, and racial discrimination against, Black persons by the Toronto Police Service (TPS), the OHRC will be collecting data, including personal information, from the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the TPS and the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB).

 

Legal authority for collecting personal information

Section 31 of the Ontario Human Rights Code authorizes the OHRC’s collection of information as part of conducting a public interest inquiry. This collection is also consistent with s. 38(2) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).

 

Limiting use and disclosure of personal information

The OHRC recognizes the importance of protection of personal information, protection of human dignity and maintaining public trust and confidence. We will take all reasonable steps to ensure that personal information is treated confidentially and is only used for the purposes it was collected. We will take all reasonable steps to prevent unauthorized access, use or disclosure of your personal information as directed by the FIPPA.

 

Description of the data sets involved

The documents and information that the OHRC has requested from the TPS, TPSB and SIU that may contain personal information are listed in Appendix ‘A’.  The data obtained from the TPS, TPSB and SIU will be analyzed by the OHRC, with the assistance of an expert retained by the OHRC.

 

Output of the analysis

The OHRC will report publicly on the inquiry process, findings and recommendations.  No personal information will be disclosed without the prior informed consent of the affected individual.  Data and information obtained from the TPS, TPSB and SIU will be de-identified and/or reported in aggregate form. 

 

Retention schedule for the data sets involved

Subsection 5(1) of the FIPPA, Regulation 460, requires the OHRC to retain personal information for at least one year after it is used, unless the person to whom the information pertains consents to its earlier disposal.  The OHRC will destroy all copies of data sets containing personal information as soon as is reasonably possible after it is no longer required.

Comments or complaints

Questions regarding personal information collected by the OHRC in the Toronto Police Service Racial Profiling and Racial Discrimination Inquiry may be directed to:

Ontario Human Rights Commission
Legal Services and Inquiries
180 Dundas Street West, 9th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M7A 2R9

Email: legal@ohrc.on.ca
Phone: (416) 314-4547
Attention:  Sandra Nishikawa, Counsel

All inquiries will be kept strictly confidential. 

Information Privacy complaints can also be directed to:
Ontario's Information Privacy Commissioner 
2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400 
Toronto, Ontario M4W 1A8
Phone: 1-800-387-0073

 

Appendix ‘A’ Documents Requested from TPS, TPSB and SIU

  1. The OHRC has requested the following documents and information from the TPS and TPSB that may contain personal information, for the period from January 1, 2010 to June 30, 2017:

 

  1. Information recorded on various reports and records completed by TPS officers, including:
  • Person Investigated Cards
  • Field Information Reports
  • Community Inquiry Reports
  • Regulated Interaction Reports
  • Community Contacts
  • Community Inquiries
  • Community Safety Notes
  • Community Engagements
  • Contact Cards
  • Street Checks

 

  1. Information from charges laid and any accompanying arrests made, including release type and charge disposition, for certain charges including:
  • Simple drug possession
  • Resisting, wilfully obstructing or assaulting a police officer, uttering threats against a police officer
  • Loitering, trespassing or causing a disturbance
  • Failing to comply with a bail condition or undertaking to a police officer
  • Certain driving offences, including driving while under suspension, driving without a valid licence, failure to carry a licence and surrender a licence for reasonable inspection, failure to provide reasonable identification on a failure to surrender a licence, displaying a licence that has been suspended or altered, operating a motor vehicle without insurance, and failure to carry a permit or an insurance card.

 

  1. (a) Data and information recorded on Use of Force Reports submitted by TPS officers.

(b) Data and information on any records of arrest, occurrence reports, injury reports and General Occurrence Reports associated with incidents where use of force occurred.

  1. Documents and things that demonstrate whether and how the TPS and/or TPSB responded to or addressed from a disciplinary perspective the findings in certain human rights and racial profiling cases before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and the courts.
     
  1. The OHRC has requested the following documents and information from the SIU, in relation to the TPS, for the same time period that may contain personal information:
  1. The complete investigative file of every case when the SIU investigated and did or did not lay charges against the officer, and the complete SIU Director’s report.
     
  2. Any letters from the SIU to the Chief of the TPS in relation to any SIU investigations, and any responses.

Protection of personal information and privacy safeguards policy

Protection of personal information and privacy safeguards policy:
The Toronto Police Service racial profiling and racial discrimination inquiry

November 6, 2017

Introduction

1.    The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) recognizes the importance of protection of personal information.

2.    To protect human dignity and maintain public trust and confidence in the OHRC as an institution, the OHRC works hard to comply with all relevant laws that relate to the handling of personal information.

3.    As a provincial public institution, the OHRC must abide by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).[1]

4.    The head of the OHRC, the Chief Commissioner, has a duty to take objectively reasonable steps and measures to:

  • Ensure the preservation of records in the OHRC’s custody and control;
  • Ensure the security of original records; and
  • Protect records from inadvertent destruction or damage, “taking into account the nature of the records to be protected”.[2]

5.    OHRC staff have a duty to exercise due diligence in ensuring that personal information is protected.

The Toronto Police Service racial profiling and racial discrimination inquiry

6.    Using its inquiry powers under s. 31 of the Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”), the OHRC has commenced an inquiry (the “TPS Inquiry”) in to the potential racial profiling of, and racial discrimination against, Black persons.

7.    In connection with the TPS Inquiry, the OHRC has requested documents and information from the Toronto Police Service (TPS), the Toronto Police Service Board (TPSB) and the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).  The information requested may include “personal information” within the definition of FIPPA.  Because the information requested relates to interactions with police, it may also be of a sensitive nature.

Privacy Safeguards

8.    The more sensitive the personal information collected, the more stringent the security measures adopted must be in order to mitigate the risk of a privacy breach.[3]

9.    The purpose of this policy is:

  1. To identify and explain the privacy safeguards that the OHRC has and/or will have in place in relation to the TPS Inquiry;
  2. To clarify the roles and responsibilities of OHRC staff involved in the TPS Inquiry; and
  3. To demonstrate that the potential privacy implications of the TPS Inquiry have been considered.

I. Administrative Safeguards

a. Data Minimization

10. The first step to protecting the privacy of personal information is to minimize to the extent possible, the personal information that comes into the custody of the OHRC.

11. In securing compliance with the OHRC’s document requests, the OHRC will collaborate with the TPS, TPSB and SIU to ensure that personal, identifying information collected by the OHRC is minimized.

12. If the OHRC is provided with access to personal information, it will at the earliest possible stage, adopt measures to minimize the collection of personal, identifying information.  This can be achieved by the use of templates that do not include an individual’s name or other personal information that would identify them, and by anonymizing the data obtained.

13. The OHRC does not intend to disclose personal information obtained from the TPS, TPSB or SIU through the TPS Inquiry.  The OHRC’s report relating to the TPS Inquiry will not contain personal information that identifies any particular individual. 

14. The OHRC will destroy any personal information as soon as reasonably possible after it is no longer required.

b. Consent

15. Before the OHRC has access to personal information from the TPS, TPSB and SIU, the OHRC will provide notice of collection of personal information on its website.  Individuals who believe that their personal information may be affected will be able to contact the OHRC.  They may also contact the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

16. The OHRC may also obtain personal information through interviews with voluntary participants.  Before conducting an interview, the individual’s consent will be obtained.  To the extent possible, information contained in the inquiry report will be aggregated and/or anonymized.  However, if it is possible that a particular individual could be identified, the individual’s informed consent will be obtained before any personal information is disclosed.

c. Authorized Personnel

17. Access to any personal information obtained through the TPS Inquiry is strictly limited to OHRC staff who are on the Inquiry Team.

18. The Privacy Lead will keep a list of individuals on the Inquiry Team.  No OHRC staff other than the Inquiry Team will have access to personal information.  Inquiry Team members may be added or changed as needed. 

d. Responsibilities of the TPS Inquiry Team

19. The Inquiry Team must comply with all privacy safeguards set out in this Policy.

20. The Inquiry Team must exercise reasonable judgment when handling personal information, depending on the sensitivity of the data, nature of the information and use.

21. The Inquiry Team, as part of exercising privacy due diligence, should identify and address potential privacy concerns in the course of performing their roles in relation to the TPS Inquiry.

22. The Inquiry Team must report a privacy breach or potential privacy breach to the Privacy Lead and Manager as soon as they become aware that a breach or potential breach has occurred.

e. Responsibilities of Non-TPS Inquiry OHRC Staff

23. OHRC staff not on the Inquiry Team must, to the extent possible, avoid encountering TPS Inquiry-related personal information, and must keep any personal information that they may learn in relation to the TPS Inquiry confidential.

24. OHRC staff will consult with the Privacy Lead and the Inquiry Team if they have questions or concerns related to privacy matters.

25. OHRC staff must report a privacy breach or potential privacy breach to the Privacy Lead and Manager as soon as they become aware that a breach or potential breach has occurred.

f. Responsibilities of the TPS Inquiry Lead for Privacy Matters

26. At this time, the TPS Inquiry Lead for Privacy Matters (“Privacy Lead”) is: 

Sandra Nishikawa, Counsel, Legal Services and Inquiries

Ontario Human Rights Commission
180 Dundas Street West, 9th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M7A 2R9

Telephone: (416) 326-9871

Email: Sandra.Nishikawa@ohrc.on.ca

27. The Privacy Lead will act as the main person of contact for public citizens and internal or external staff who have a TPS Inquiry privacy question or concern.

28. The Privacy Lead will brief the Inquiry Team on the privacy-related requirements of FIPPA and the contents of this Policy.

29. The Privacy Lead will frequently monitor and report on compliance with this Policy to ensure that safeguards have been implemented and that privacy due diligence continues to be applied throughout the TPS Inquiry’s lifecycle.

g. Acknowledgement

30. Before having access to any personal information obtained through the TPS Inquiry, all Inquiry Team members, whether internal or external to the OHRC, must voluntarily sign the acknowledgement (Appendix ‘A’ hereto), which requires that they:

  • Read this Policy and understand the privacy safeguards herein;
  • Keep any personal information in a secure location at all times;
  • Ensure that no personal information is used or disclosed unless necessary and proper in the discharge of the OHRC’s functions; and
  • Ensure that no personal information is used or disclosed in a form in which the individual to whom it relates can be identified, without prior informed consent of the individual to whom the information relates.
h. The Retained Expert

31. An expert (the “Retained Expert”) and graduate student (“Student”) have been engaged to assist with the analysis of the TPS Inquiry data.  A confidentiality agreement has been executed with both the Retained Expert and Student.

32. To the extent that the Retained Expert and Student have access to personal information, they must under no circumstances disclose any personal information to anyone other than the Inquiry Team.

33. The Retained Expert and Student shall not disclose or otherwise provide access to non-personal information and data obtained through the TPS Inquiry, other than for the defined research purposes.

34. The Retained Expert and Student will implement safeguards and protocols consistent with this Policy and will consult with the Inquiry Team on any additional safeguards that may be required.

II. Physical Safeguards

a. Access Card

35. An access card is required to enter the OHRC office.

36. Staff must not permit unauthorized or uninvited people to enter into the OHRC office space.

37. Staff will notify security of suspicious activity in the OHRC vicinity.

b. Office 

38. As much as possible, Inquiry Team will turn their computer monitors off, sleep their computers or change screens to prevent others from seeing personal information on the screen.

39. Hard copy documents or files containing personal information must be kept in a central office/room that can be locked when unattended. When possible, Inquiry Team should use a clean desk policy whereby personal information is kept out of sight, ideally, locked in a drawer or filing cabinet.

40. When discussing TPS Inquiry matters, Inquiry Team staff will close the door during their meetings to ensure that others do not overhear personal information.

41. The Inquiry Team will take all reasonable steps to ensure that third parties who may attend the OHRC office (invited guests, maintenance staff or cleaning staff) do not have access to personal information.  

c. Hard Copy

42. Hard copies of collected TPS Inquiry materials, including any personal information, must be stored in a secure location, ideally raised off the floor to prevent flood damage and in a fire-resistant space.

43. When not in use, hard copies of collected TPS Inquiry materials, including any personal information, must be locked in filing cabinets.

d. Printing

44. The Inquiry Team should refrain from printing and photocopying any personal information.

45. The Inquiry Team must not leave a document containing personal information on the printer.  If printing, staff should use Secure Print so that personal information does not print until the staff member goes to the printer to retrieve it.

III. Electronic Safeguards

a. OHRC Computers

46. OHRC computers are password protected. The passwords automatically expire every 45 days.

47. The Windows firewall is enabled on all OHRC computers. The computers use McAfee software to protect them from virus and malware threats.

48. When working on TPS Inquiry materials, staff must not use a personal or non-OHRC computer.

b. OHRC Laptops

49. OHRC laptops are password protected. The passwords automatically expire every 45 days.

50. The Windows firewall is enabled on all OHRC laptops. The laptops use McAfee software to protect them from virus and malware threats.

51. The hard drive of every OHRC laptop is encrypted. In the event that a laptop is misplaced or lost, a finder should be unable to access the secure information.

52. The Retained Expert and Student will be provided with an OHRC laptop as an electronic safeguard.

c. Email

53. The Inquiry Team will not use their personal emails for any TPS Inquiry work.

54. No personal information shall be communicated or transmitted by email.

d. Fax

55. No personal information shall be faxed anywhere.

e. Off-Site

56. If Inquiry Team members must work off-site, then they will use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service.

57. The Inquiry Team shall not remove any personal information from the TPS Inquiry data from the OHRC premises.

f. Storage

58. Electronic information obtained during the TPS Inquiry will be stored in a shared folder, accessible only by members of the Inquiry Team.

g. Text

59. The Inquiry Team will not use instant messaging tools to discuss TPS Inquiry material.

Conclusion

Protection of personal information is an ongoing responsibility. This policy was adopted at an early stage of the TPS Inquiry and will be re-assessed on an ongoing basis.

 

[1] R.S.O. 1990, c. F-31, s 2(1) [FIPPA]; Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 460: GENERAL, s. 1(1), Schedule, Item 110 [FIPPA Reg General].

[2] FIPPA, supra note 1, s. 10.1; FIPPA Reg General, supra note 1, ss. 3(1), 4(3), Schedule.

[3] See e.g. Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Open Government and Protecting Privacy (Toronto: IPC, 15 March 2017) at 8.