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Letter to Members of the Training Advisory Roundtable re: street checks

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May 30, 2016

Ms. Barbara Hall
Ms. Mary Ann Chambers
Ms. Joanne St. Lewis
Mr. Armand La Barge
Ms. Ann Cavoukian
Mr. Orlando Bowen

Dear Members of the Training Advisory Roundtable:

Re: Street Checks Regulation

Congratulations on your appointment to the Training Advisory Roundtable for Regulation 58/16 under the Police Services Act related to the Collection of Identifying Information in Certain Circumstances, which was enacted to address the practice of “carding” or “street checks”. 

In its public announcement, the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) indicated that the training will include topics such as discrimination, racism, bias awareness, police-public interactions and avoiding psychological detention in addition to what police need to do to ensure they comply with Regulation 58/16.

In support of your important responsibility to provide input to the Ontario Police College on the development of this training, we would like to highlight our view that training specific to racial profiling must be provided for it to be successful and for there to be meaningful change. Please see the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) Submission to MCSCS as part of its consultation on the Regulation for the full context of our recommendations on training, which is available online.

As you are aware, racial profiling is a violation of the Human Rights Code and many racialized people in Ontario, especially African Canadians and Indigenous peoples, have experienced “carding” as yet another form of racial profiling.  To this end, racial profiling training should:

  • Be designed and delivered by trainers with racial profiling expertise;
  • Involve local racialized and marginalized communities in design, delivery and evaluation, including identifying relevant racial profiling scenarios;
  • Convey the importance of good community relations;
  • Describe the nature of racism, including its particular impact on Black and Indigenous communities;
  • Explain that racial profiling violates the Code, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and Police Services Act with references to relevant case law;
  • Explain in detail the requirements of the street checks regulation in a manner consistent with the right to be free from racial profiling;
  • Explain principles that apply when identifying racial profiling, such as how intent is not required to establish racial profiling;
  • Incorporate role-play and scenario-driven learning modules to improve its “street-level application and articulation”, including scenarios dealing with street checks;
  • Address how people who think they are being racially profiled might become angry or upset, and that this must not form the basis of further adverse treatment;
  • Communicate that racial profiling is illegal, discriminatory, and unacceptable and will result in disciplinary penalties, up to and including dismissal; and
  • Describe the nature of unconscious and conscious biases regarding race, mental health disabilities and addictions; their intersection; and their influence on police decision-making.

Information about racial profiling should also be integrated into other training where it is particularly relevant, such as investigative detention, searches, customer service, and conflict de-escalation.

As you may be aware, a broad network of legal groups, community advocates, academics and the OHRC (the “Network”) came together last year and called for tougher regulation on street checks and made joint submissions to the consultation process.  The Network expects to write to Minister Naqvi shortly with its concerns about the Regulation and copy you so that you may consider them when providing input on the development of training.

For nearly two decades, the OHRC has raised concerns about racial profiling in policing and suggested ways to eliminate it.  Currently, the OHRC is in the process of developing policy guidance on racial profiling.  We have also provided a submission to MCSCS on its “Strategy for a Safer Ontario” and it is available online.

We would be pleased to provide assistance to you as you proceed with your important work. Please feel free to contact Shaheen Azmi, Director of Policy, Education, Monitoring, and Outreach at or at his direct phone number (416) 314-4532 should you need our assistance.

Please forward this letter to any remaining members of the Training Advisory Roundtable.

Renu Mandhane, B.A., J.D., LL.M.
Chief Commissioner


Hon. Yasir Naqvi
Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services

Mr. Bruce Herridge
Director of The Ontario Police College