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Letter to the Toronto Police Services Board regarding the analysis of contact card data

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March 28, 2013

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March 11, 2013-03-28 Dr. Alok Mukherjee
Toronto Police Services Board
40 College Street Toronto,
Ontario M5G 2J3

Dear Dr. Mukherjee:

I wish to commend the Toronto Police Services Board's (the "TPSB") approval of a project to collect and analyze data related to contact cards and the pattern of contact between the police and members of the community in general including young people from certain racialized communities.

I also understand that the TPSB is seeking an opinion from the City Solicitor on the legality of the practice of carding and the issuance of receipts, which engages the issue of human rights-based data collection and analysis.

This is important because although the current practice of carding may assist with investigations and community engagement, the TPSB must ensure that the manner in which it is being used is not contrary to the OntarioHuman Rights Code (the "Code"). Thus, the TPSB must assess whether race is a factor in adverse treatment from carding. To this end, the Commission supports the TPSB's decision to assess its legality.

Collecting and analyzing human rights-based data for a Code consistent purpose itself does not violate the Code. If carding continues in any form, with or without receipts, it is the Commission's position that human rights-based data should be collected and analyzed to identify, monitor and remove potential systemic barriers, including possible patterns of behaviour that are consistent with racial profiling. Receipts can help ensure transparency and accountability in the process.

Reflecting our work together on the Human Rights Project Charter, we would be pleased to work with the Board and the Toronto Police Service to provide input on the practice of carding with a human rights lens and share our experience in human rights-based data collection and analysis.

Yours truly,
Barbara Hall
Chief Commissioner

c: Chief William Blair