By Gerald V. Paul
Frantz St. Fleur, a Haitian-born citizen of Canada, has filed a $225, 000 lawsuit alleging racial profiling.
All he was trying to do was to deposit a $9,000 cheque, a refunded real estate transaction, at the Scotiabank at Scarborough Town Centre but, according to the statement of claim, after he presented the cheque for deposit a bank employee escorted him to her office.
She offered St. Fleur investment products, the claim states but he just wanted to deposit the cheque as he was rushing off to work.
St. Fleur said the teller left and soon after, police arrived to arrest him. He was questioned and released once police determined the cheque was valid.
St. Fleur is Black.
Scotiabank is the title sponsor of the annual Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival, which caters to a largely Black audience of thousands, including many who visit Toronto from the U.S. for the event.
The cheque was to return a deposit St. Fleur had paid toward a condo, using funds he had withdrawn from his Scotiabank tax-free savings account. The deal did not go through and Re/Max returned the funds to St. Fleur via the cheque.
St. Fleur, who has several accounts with Scotiabank and has been doing business with them for some 10 years, filed a statement of claim in court which contains allegations that have not been tested in court.
Scotiabank apologized to St. Fleur in a letter sent shortly after the incident. It offered to refund two years’ worth of banking fees to St. Fleur – around $100.
Scotiabank’s Andrew Chornenky told The Camera on Tuesday: “Customers are our number one priority and are treated with utmost respect regardless of race, national ethnic origin, gender, colour, sexual orientation or religion.
“Unfortunately, because this matter is before the courts we can’t comment on the specifics.”