On August 13, 2015, the Urban Alliance on Race Relations joined a number of community leaders and legal experts for a consultation on police street checks, a practice widely known as carding, conducted by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. Among the participating organizations were the Human Rights Legal Support Centre and the Campaign to Stop Police Carding. The objective, as outlined in a document shared prior to the meeting, was to develop a “single, clear standard to ensure that police officers across the province conduct street checks.”
Representing the UARR, Board member Ilaneet Goren provided comments on unconscious bias and racism embedded in carding, a practice the Province is now seeking to regulate, not necessarily to eradicate. As one participant commented, “to legitimize police street checks is to legitimize racial profiling.”
Ryan Teschner, Special Counsel and Advisor to the Deputy Minister, chaired a large portion of the session and began by stating his team has been monitoring the conversation across the province and has conducted preliminary, albeit not extensive, research to inform the drafting of the Regulatory Registry document. Mr. Teschner also said that a “variety of groups” were consulted in order to move forward with developing the proposed regulation, but no details were provided on who those consultants were. Participants were disappointed to learn the Province has not collected and reviewed all of the deputations submitted on the issue thus far before proposing the new regulation. They challenged the Ministry to conduct more thorough and systematic research in order to fully grasp the issue, its nuances and complexities, and to reconsider simply regulating a practice that continues to harm our communities.
Participants also learned that four public consultations will be conducted throughout Ontario, only one of which is being held in the GTA, which led to significant concern among attendees. A draft of the proposed regulation is scheduled to be released mid-September followed by another round of consultations, with opportunities for groups to again provide further feedback and share concerns. Written submissions can also be submitted.
For more information on the public consultations and to submit your comments go to:
-Ilaneet Goren, UARR Board Member