For immediate release
Toronto - Several news outlets have recently quoted a Toronto Police Service (TPS) news release regarding body-worn cameras: http://torontopolice.on.ca/newsreleases/31840
That release says, in part:
The Service has partnered with the Information & Privacy Commissioner, the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Toronto Police Association to develop a procedure that addresses issues of privacy, retention, and disclosure.
This statement is not accurate.
Representatives of the TPS met twice with OHRC representatives on this issue. At each meeting the OHRC was given high level information only. We asked to see governance procedures on how the cameras would be used but we never received this information.
The OHRC indicated that body-worn cameras could be a strong tool for police accountability for providing equal services to all people in a manner consistent with the Ontario Human Rights Code. However, we also cited concerns regarding how the recordings could be used as a form of surveillance that negatively impacts racialized people, in the same way that Community Engagement (“carding”) does. We stressed the need for proper governance structures to mitigate human rights concerns.
At no time did the OHRC “partner” with the TPS on body-worn cameras. We remain unaware of the governance procedures and whether our human rights concerns have been addressed.
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For more information:
Sr. Communications Officer
Ontario Human Rights Commission