Toronto – Findings from the Ottawa Police Service’s Race Data and Traffic Stops in Ottawa report released today challenge all policing institutions to acknowledge the systemic nature of racial profiling, examine their practices and take action to address racial discrimination.
The report shows that ‘Middle Easterner’ and ‘Black’ groups have proportionally higher incidents of traffic stops by police. The significant disproportion in traffic stops is consistent with racial profiling and sends a strong message that work against racial discrimination must now translate into action and accountability.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) supports the Ottawa Police Service’s efforts to address racial profiling. Race-based data is the cornerstone of any strategy for reducing the practice of racial profiling and the OHRC credits the Ottawa Police Service for being the first major police service in Canada to collect data on such a scale. Other police services should follow suit and the OHRC calls on Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services to mandate race-based data collection by police services across Ontario. We call on the Ottawa Police Service to immediately implement the recommendations outlined in the report.
“Racial profiling has a negative impact on individuals and their families and undermines the relationship between law enforcement and communities,” said OHRC Chief Commissioner Renu Mandhane. “We should all be treated equally by the institutions empowered to protect us.”
Data for the report was collected through the Traffic Stop Race Data Collection Project, part of a settlement agreement between the Ottawa Police Services Board and the OHRC. The Ottawa Police Service continues to collect the data beyond the 2 years required by the settlement. The settlement agreement resulted from a human rights complaint filed by Chad Aiken, alleging racial profiling by Ottawa police at a traffic stop.
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— The OHRC (@OntHumanRights) October 24, 2016