Racial profiling is an insidious and particularly damaging type of racial discrimination that relates to notions of safety and security. Racial profiling violates people’s rights under the Ontario Human Rights Code (Code). People from many different communities experience racial profiling. However, it is often directed at First Nations, Métis, Inuit and other Indigenous peoples, Muslims, Arabs, West Asians and Black people, and is often influenced by the negative stereotypes that people in these communities face.
April 19, 2017 - Dear Minister Naqvi, we are writing today to ask you to work with your federal-provincial-territorial (FPT) counterparts to develop a national, whole-of-government action plan to address the systemic issues that have led to the over-representation of Black and First Nations, Métis, and Inuit (Indigenous) people, and those with mental health and developmental disabilities in the criminal justice system (national action plan).
May 3, 2017 - During the consultation, we heard many perspectives and experiences. We heard concerns about racialized and Indigenous peoples being subjected to unwarranted surveillance, investigation and other forms of scrutiny, punitive actions and heavy-handed treatment. We also tried to explore other, less well-understood forms of racial profiling, which may be systemic in nature. This report presents what we learned about institutional policies, practices, prediction and assessment tools, and decision-making processes, which may seem neutral but may nonetheless amount to systemic racial profiling.
Toronto – The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has long been concerned with systemic discrimination in policing, which is a lived reality for many Ontarians. The result is mistrust that undermines effective policing and ultimately public safety.
February 28, 2017 - Dear Minister Lalonde, I am writing today to provide you with a summary of what we learned. There are some issues that appear unique to the Kenora Jail that raise human rights concerns and warrant further consideration and action on the part of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS). I look forward to discussing these issues further at our upcoming meeting scheduled for early March.
Robyn Doolittle’s ground-breaking investigation “Unfounded” exposes how police services across Canada are “ill-equipped or unwilling to investigate sexual assault cases” with nearly 20% being dismissed as “unfounded.” At one point in the story, Doolittle asks police to explain the disproportionate “unfounded” rates. She is told by the police that the explanation might lie in coding errors or misclassification of cases, but we know that there are more factors at play. With “unfounded” rates of 19% across Canada and as high as nearly 60% in some jurisdictions, part of the answer must also lie in systemic bias against women – which is a human rights issue.
In July 2015, the OHRC intervened in a Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario Application concerning the treatment of trans persons in custody.
November 2016 - For nearly two decades, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has raised concerns about systemic discrimination that are part of the culture of policing in our province. There have been far too many instances of racial profiling, discriminatory use of force on people with mental health disabilities and/or addictions, and racism and sexism in investigations of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Ontario to ignore. These incidents and related concerns have sparked multiple coroner’s inquests, recommendations, reviews and reports, stretching back for decades. Yet they all have failed to eliminate systemic discrimination in policing.
Thank you once again for your hospitality and candour. During the meeting, we discussed concerns that leaders and members of the Indigenous community brought to my attention earlier in the day; namely, alleged racism and systemic discrimination within the Thunder Bay Police Service (TBPS). We discussed more generally the relationship between the TBPS and Indigenous communities in light of recent events.
Toronto – In a supplementary submission released today, the OHRC again calls on the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) to end the practice of segregation (also known as solitary confinement) in Ontario’s correctional facilities.