Dear Minister, Please find attached is the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s (OHRC) submission in response to the 2014 review of the Child and Family Services Act.
In 1948, before Ontario’s Human Rights Code came to life, Hugh Burnett launched the National Unity Association in Dresden – the home of Uncle Tom’s cabin. Racial discrimination was commonplace during that era, with restaurants refusing to serve Black clients. Activists – people like Burnett, Donna Hill, Ruth Lor Malloy and Bromley Armstrong – led efforts to create anti-discrimination laws and advance human rights in our province.
Racial profiling is a longstanding and deeply troubling concern of the African Canadian community, other affected racialized communities, and of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “OHRC”). In the past few years, many racialized people have experienced carding as yet another form of racial profiling.
The OHRC has frequently identified two key issues in the Toronto Police Service Procedure on Community Engagements that are critical to prevent racial profiling. To be consistent with the Human Rights Code and Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Procedure:
Not just today – let’s challenge racism every day
It’s easy to identify discrimination when we hear hateful slurs or overt forms of bigotry. However, there are also many examples of more subtle – but equally pernicious – racism and racial discrimination.
There’s the judge who asks a Black woman in court where her lawyer is. In fact, the woman is the lawyer waiting for her client.
A Middle Eastern woman takes a seat at an empty restaurant. A White customer who enters after her is served first.
Racial profiling by the Toronto Police Service is a recognized problem in need of an effective solution. I am very disappointed that what appeared to be progress, in the Board’s 2014 policy, has failed to materialize.
Dear Chief Blair,
I am writing further to the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s (OHRC) deputation to the Toronto Police Service Board (TPSB) on April 2, 2015 in regards to the revised Policy and Procedure on Community Engagements.
You will recall, at the TPSB meeting on April 2, 2015, I said on behalf of the OHRC:
Editor, The Toronto Star
This week Mark Saunders was sworn in as Chief of the Toronto Police Service. He arrived amid a controversy that marred his predecessor’s final days and one that refuses to go away – the police procedure commonly known as “carding.” As Chief Saunders starts down this new road he has a choice – to hear the voices of the community and work to end racial profiling or to allow a deeply troubling practice to continue.
Chief Administrative Officer, City of Thorold
Dear Mr. Fabiano,
I am writing in response to your request for advice regarding the issue raised by people of Aboriginal heritage in your community who find objectionable the current Black Hawk warrior image used by local hockey teams and their associations in Thorold, Ontario.
Chief Paul Cook
President, Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police
Dear Chief Cook,
On behalf of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), I would like to congratulate the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) for its updated version of the LEARN Guideline for Police Record Checks with a clearer presumption against disclosure of non-conviction records.
Toronto - The Ontario Human Rights Commission is seeking leave to intervene as a friend of the Court in the “Neptune 4” case, being heard by the Toronto Police Service Disciplinary Tribunal. The action is part of a longstanding effort by the OHRC to tackle racial profiling – an issue at the heart of the Commission’s mandate to promote and advance respect for human rights in Ontario.