The Urban Alliance on Race Relations commends the Ontario Human Rights Commission for its work on presenting the findings in their interim report, A Collective Impact — data that reveals deeply disturbing acts of racial profiling and anti-Black racism by the Toronto Police. The UARR calls on the Toronto Police Service, the Toronto Police Services Board, the City of Toronto, and the Government of Ontario to acknowledge the racial disparities and community experiences outlined in the interim report, and to act immediately.
Thirty years of reports tell us that anti-Black racism is at the core of the disproportionately deadly interactions of Toronto police with the Black community. The UARR stands with community to demand that the TPS hold itself to a higher standard.
Interactions between Black people and the Toronto Police Service have resulted in fear, trauma, and mistrust. The over-policing of Black communities and the aggressive use of police force does not help to foster the positive relationship needed for a safer city; rather, it further contributes to the growing inequities and racial divide that continue to plague the city of Toronto.
Furthermore, the UARR is concerned by the provincial government’s rollback of Bill 175, which included necessary reforms to strengthen police oversight; the recent cuts to Ontario’s Anti-Racism Directorate, a body doing crucial work toward racial justice; and the appointment of a long-time friend of the Premier to the role of Commissioner to the Ontario Provincial Police. These recent decisions have led the UARR to remain sceptical that the Government of Ontario will implement the recommendations outlined in the report.
Lastly, the City of Toronto must also use its powers to implement the recommendations in the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism, the first of its kind in the country, having great potential to improve the lives of Black people across the city.
The interim report is disheartening, but unsurprising. We hope the TPS and TPSB will continue to support the OHRC’s inquiry into racial profiling and racial discrimination against Black persons.