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New anti-racism & discrimination agreement to be approved for Toronto Police Service

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March 21, 2007

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For immediate release

Toronto –  Toronto Police Service (TPS), the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB), and the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) have reached a milestone agreement to bring about institutional change in combating racism and discrimination.

Police Chief William Blair, Board Chair Alok Mukherjee, and Human Rights Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall made the announcement together during celebrations held today at Toronto Police Services headquarters marking International Day for the Elimination of Racism.

“This agreement is the first of its kind and shows that Toronto Police Service is serious about addressing racism and discrimination”, commented Chief Commissioner Hall.

The agreement, set out in a detailed Project Charter, establishes a joint Working Group with representatives from the TPS, TPSB and OHRC who will identify human rights issues, design response plans and direct initiatives, as well as measure and report publicly on progress. Initiatives to eliminate racism and other forms of discrimination are focusing on the employment policies of the TPSB and the practices of the TPS in the provision of policing services to the residents of the City of Toronto.

“The Toronto Police Service has been making real progress over the last year in the areas of human rights and delivering fair, equitable and bias-free policing,” said Chief Blair. “By signing this Project Charter, we will learn from our past experiences and get guidance for the future delivery of policing in Toronto.”

Alok Mukherjee, the Chair of the civilian Board that oversees the TPS, stated, “There is no place for bias or discrimination, such as racial profiling, in the way we serve the community and hire, promote and treat those who work for us. The unique partnership expressed through this Charter will help us strengthen our ongoing effort to identify and eliminate any discriminatory practices, enhance the skills and knowledge of our employees and make our workforce truly reflective of the city.”

Chief Commissioner Hall added, “This type of successful cooperation benefits the broader community and is exactly what the Commission will focus more on as we move forward under our new mandate. The agreement serves as a model for other police services across the province to take up their responsibility to address racism and discrimination with the same leadership being demonstrated by Toronto Police Service.”

Nothing in the agreement prevents the OHRC from continuing to enforce Ontario’s Human Rights Code and seek public interest remedies in resolving complaints filed against the TPS or TPSB.

The agreement is being considered by the Toronto Police Services Board at its monthly public meeting tomorrow March 22nd.

For further information see the attached Backgrounder.

Read the Toronto Police Service News Release

Jeff Poirier
Manager, Communications
Policy and Education Branch

Afroze Edwards
Sr. Communications Officer
Policy and Education Branch

Meaghan Gray
Public Information
Toronto Police Service

Sandy Adelson
Toronto Police Services Board