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OHRC confronts and condemns anti-Black racism

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June 3, 2020

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The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) stands with Black communities in Ontario, in Canada and around the world in confronting and condemning anti-Black racism as it is experienced through racial profiling and other forms of systemic racial discrimination.

Canadian courts and human rights tribunals have long recognized that racial profiling and systemic racial discrimination exist, affect people from Black communities, and are contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and human rights laws, including the Ontario Human Rights Code.

The OHRC is currently in the midst of an inquiry into racial profiling and racial discrimination against Black persons by the Toronto Police Service (TPS), and has already found disturbing data confirming racial disparities in how policing is provided in Toronto. 

In its interim report A Collective Impact, the OHRC found that Black people are grossly over-represented in cases involving police use of force that results in serious injury or death, and little has changed since the early 2000s. Between 2013 and 2017:

  • A Black person in Toronto was nearly 20 times more likely than a White person to be involved in a fatal shooting by the TPS
  • Despite making up only 8.8% of Toronto’s population, Black people were over-represented in use of force cases (28.8%), shootings (36%), deadly encounters (61.5%) and fatal shootings (70%)
  • Despite making up 4.1% of Toronto’s population, Black men were complainants in one-quarter of Special Investigations Unit cases alleging sexual assault by TPS officers.

The OHRC’s critical work on this inquiry continues, and it expects to release its final report with recommendations before the end of 2020.

Anti-Black racism is a lived reality for Black people in Ontario and in Canada. Only once it is acknowledged and understood, can it be addressed and eliminated. The OHRC will continue to stand with communities to push for the systemic changes that are necessary to protect and respect Black lives.


Policy and guidelines on racism and racial discrimination

Call it Out: racism, racial discrimination and human rights

Under Suspicion: Research and consultation report on racial profiling in Ontario

A Collective Impact: Interim report on the inquiry into racial profiling and racial discrimination of Black persons by the Toronto Police Service

Policy on eliminating racial profiling in law enforcement