For immediate publication
Toronto - "Racial profiling has no place in our society. We have to stop debating the issue and start acting on it," was the key message delivered today by Chief Commissioner Keith Norton at the release of the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s report on the effects of racial profiling.
Entitled, Paying the Price: The Human Cost of Racial Profiling, the Report is based on over 400 personal accounts of experiences with profiling that individuals shared with the Commission during the course of its Racial Profiling Inquiry held earlier this year. The Report looks at the human cost of racial profiling on individuals who have experienced it, their families and their communities and the detrimental impacts of this practice on society as a whole.
"When we launched our inquiry, we found that existing research undertaken both here and in jurisdictions outside Canada provided adequate evidence that racial profiling does occur. Right from the start, I have said that what has been noticeably absent from public discussion on this issue is the effect that racial profiling has on those directly impacted by it, and on Ontario society," stated Mr. Norton adding that, "The Report is not another statistical study; it focuses on personal experiences of profiling incidents in a number of contexts."
The purpose of the Commission’s racial profiling inquiry is twofold: to give a voice to individuals who have experienced profiling, and in doing so, raise awareness of the negative consequences of profiling among people who have not been impacted by it. Ultimately, the Commission hopes to bridge the divide between those who deny the existence of profiling and communities that have long felt that they are being targeted.
To this end, the Report provides recommendations aimed at ending the practice of profiling where it already exists, improving the monitoring of situations where it is alleged to occur, and preventing incidents of profiling from occurring in the first place. The Report also sets out the Commission’s commitment to undertake a large public education initiative and to move forward with its project on race that was initiated earlier last year.
"The Commission hopes that the Report will serve as a useful educational tool for individuals and organizations as well as those in positions of influence and authority in helping them understand and address the problem. Racial profiling is wrong. These individuals have had the courage to come forward with often very personal details of their experiences. It’s time we got the message and acted to eliminate this practice," continued Mr. Norton.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission defines racial profiling as any action taken for reasons of safety, security or public protection that relies on stereotypes about race, colour, ethnicity, ancestry, religion or place of origin, rather than on reasonable suspicion.
Please visit the Ontario Human Rights Commission Web site to view the Report online.