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Commission gives progress report on its racial profiling initiative

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March 21, 2003

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For immediate publication

Toronto - On this International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Chief Commissioner Keith Norton announced that he is very satisfied with the response and the support the Commission has received for its racial profiling initiative, stating that, "I am now more convinced than ever that this was an appropriate way to deal with this issue. Since the inquiry’s launch on February 17th, 2003, the Commission has received over 800 contacts. While not all of the contacts fit the parameters of the inquiry, the feedback has exceeded our expectations in terms of both quality and quantity."

Results show that participants from a variety of racial backgrounds and from communities across the province responded to the call to share accounts of their experiences with profiling in a number of settings. The Commission will be asking those who have shared the most representative stories to take part in a public inquiry session to be held in Toronto on March 31, 2003. It is our intention to publish a report on the initiative later in the fall.

Mr. Norton further commented that, "We have listened and now it is time to share those experiences with others. I believe this part of the exercise will offer a unique opportunity for those who have not experienced profiling to learn about how profound its effects can be on people’s feelings toward their place in society and its institutions. We are hoping that these stories can help us change attitudes and behaviours. I appreciate the support we received from a variety of community groups in helping us build a process that is inclusive and respectful of everyone involved."

The Commission opened up its phone lines to receive submissions on profiling during weekday evenings from February 18th to February 28th, 2003. Interested individuals can still file their stories through an on-line questionnaire on the Commission’s Web site or by mail.

The Commission’s inquiry into racial profiling looks at the effects of profiling and the impact this practice has on individuals, families, communities, and society as a whole. It is being conducted as part of the Commission’s mandate under section 29 of the Human Rights Code to increase awareness and promote better understanding of emerging human rights issues. In accordance with privacy legislation, the Commission will not publish the names of individuals associated with alleged incidents or of participants who do not wish to be identified. 

Individuals interested in attending the public inquiry session should visit the Commission’s Web site for further information.

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Afroze Edwards
Sr. Communications Officer
Communications and Issues Management
afroze.edwards@ohrc.on.ca
(416) 314-4528

 

François Larsen