New policy on racial profiling

OHRC’s Chief Commissioner Renu Mandhane
OHRC’s Chief Commissioner Renu Mandhane

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is currently drafting a new policy on racial profiling. This policy will help organizations, legal decision-makers and affected community members to better identify, address and prevent racial profiling as racial discrimination under Ontario’s Human Rights Code.

This was revealed by the OHRC’s Chief Commissioner Renu Mandhane, in its   2015-2016 annual report, released yesterday.

“Racial profiling is an issue at the heart of the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s mandate to promote respect for human rights….The new provincial regulation, a good first step, but not enough to end racial profiling,” Mandhane said.

However, she  welcomed the Ontario’s government’s efforts to address arbitrary discriminatory stops by police.

The community speaks with a single voice: “End Carding.”

The annual  report entitled, ‘Reconnect. Renew. Results.’  noted that the OHRC is well positioned to embark on a bold new approach that emphasizes community trust, human rights, accountability, and measurable impact.

Mandhane said the OHRC and its many community partners are still concerned that the regulations will not be sufficient to end arbitrary stops, some of which amount to racial profiling. The regulation will still permit random and arbitrary police stops of racialized individuals, including the collection and storage of personal information.

The report noted that while this regulation is a good step forward, it won’t solve all the issues and it will not on its own rebuild the trust that police need to provide effect service to the communities across Ontario.

Racial profiling is more than street checks- it can and does occur in traffic stops, searches, DNA sampling, arrests, and incidents of officer use of force the report said.

The OHRC will be looking for more changes as the Government reviews the Police Act this coming year.