September 20, 2019
Amnesty International entirely agrees that the need to address racial profiling in law enforcement is one of the most pressing human rights concerns in Ontario. The Ontario Human Rights Commission’s new policy is a welcome and urgently-needed tool for pressing forward with the concrete progress that is long overdue. It is a policy that will require and benefit from ongoing review and updating. Amnesty International calls on the Government of Ontario and all law enforcement entities in the province to recognize their responsibilities to bring racial profiling to an end and take immediate steps to take up the Commission’s recommendations.
Black Action Defense Committee (BADC)
The impact of racial profiling on the Black community and other communities of colour is catastrophic. It prevents us from reaching our highest potential in a country that boasts about its diversity being its strength. It is similar to slavery and it feels like it. We feel more terrorized by the people who our tax dollars pay their salaries and benefits to police us, than the relatively few people who participate in the madness of violence. If that is not unacceptable and shameful, nothing else is.
We fully endorse the principles and recommendations of the OHRC’s Policy on eliminating racial profiling in law enforcement.
– Valarie Steele, Vice-President
Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Racial profiling is a harmful reality: it harms those caught up unnecessarily in the criminal justice system; and it harms public safety and effective policing through the erosion of community trust and collaboration. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association strongly endorses this thorough Policy of the OHRC that seeks to end racial profiling by all measures necessary from training, to policy, operations, accountability and oversight.
– Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, Equality Program Director
Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers)
We can no longer ignore the impact of racial profiling on our communities and the ways that deeply-seeded biases within our mainstream culture have led to practices that harm Indigenous and racialized people. We recognize that racial profiling is a systemic issue that has contributed to the gross overrepresentation of Indigenous and racialized people within our criminal justice system and needs to be addressed by all levels of law enforcement. The OHRC’s Policy on eliminating racial profiling in law enforcement offers us a roadmap that can help us dismantle not only the practice of racial profiling, but some of the underlying attitudes and biases that have led us to this point.
Community Coalition Against Racism, Hamilton
We applaud the OHRC for publishing this extremely comprehensive new policy which we feel, if followed, will significantly reduce incidents of racial profiling by police. CCAR participated heavily in the public campaign vs carding which forced the provincial government to introduce regulations limiting the practice. Now, we look to the security services to dismantle their municipal “Countering Violent Extremism” tables which disproportionately target Arab and Muslim Canadians.
– Ken Stone, Chair
Human Rights Legal Support Centre
This new OHRC Policy is an important resource – for law enforcement authorities, advocates, affected individuals and communities. We know that the Policy will help our clients identify and rectify individual and systemic racial profiling in law enforcement. The Human Rights Legal Support Centre appreciates the recommendations made for policing organizations and the government. The seven key principles must form the basis for positive change and respect for human rights in law enforcement.
– Sharmaine Hall, Executive Director
Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario
Under its mandate in the Human Rights Code, the Ontario Human Rights Commission makes an important public contribution when it issues policies on significant issues. This policy will be an important reference for all to consider.
Kutty & Associates
Thank you Ontario Human Rights Commission for your continued leadership in making Ontario a better and safer place for all of us. Racial profiling is a deeply troubling and longstanding problem that exists despite it being illegal and against the conscience of most of us. I am optimistic that these 62 well thought-out recommendations which begin by calling on stakeholders to acknowledge the elephant in the room and then to take concrete steps to tackle the problem will be a turning point in combating this scourge.
– Faisal Kutty, J.D., LL.M., Principal
Maytree welcomes the release of the OHRC’s Policy on eliminating racial profiling in law enforcement. We know that racial profiling has a negative impact on people’s dignity and mental health as well as their opportunities for employment, education, and social mobility. The policy is an important guide on how best to confront the harms of this systemic problem. With its recommendations, the OHRC continues to further human rights protections for everyone in Ontario.
– Elizabeth McIsaac, President, Maytree
Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres
Urban Indigenous communities across Ontario routinely experience systemic discrimination, racial profiling, over-policing and under-policing. Our experience is shaped by colonialism, which continues to harm the health and well-being of Indigenous communities. Law enforcement agencies have an obligation to address and prevent racial profiling and the OHRC’s Policy on Eliminating Racial Profiling in Law Enforcement is an important resource for creating and sustaining organizational change, which will have a positive impact on our communities.
– Sylvia Maracle, Executive Director
Ontario Federation of Labour
The reality is that workers of colour – particularly Indigenous and Black workers – believe that the justice system fails to protect them and instead, it actively works against them. The Ontario Human Rights Commission’s policy and recommendations on racial profiling in law enforcement reinforce the collective ownership we share in ensuring justice for all.
– Ahmad Gaied, Executive Vice President
OHRC Community Advisory Group member
Racial profiling is harmful. It can be deadly. This policy takes a unique systems change approach to an issue impacting communities of colour across Canada. Without a systems change mindset in policies that mean life of death for many, much of our efforts may go
in vain. It is now our collective responsibility to hold institutions such as law enforcement accountable and this is a powerful and groundbreaking tool.
– Mojdeh Cox, human rights expert and advocate for victims of carding
Rexdale Community Legal Clinic
The Ontario Human Rights Commission has rendered its recommendations after a thorough and careful consultation and review. Rexdale Community Legal Clinic was pleased to host consultation meetings so that members of the community of Northwest Toronto could make their voices heard. The resulting recommendations reflect the hard work of the commission staff. The recommendations to law enforcement agencies and oversight bodies are fair, thoughtful, current, and faithful to what they heard and observed. These recommendations offer many challenges, but also hope for a way forward.
Unifor members have highlighted the violence and destruction that state-sponsored racial profiling causes to Black, Indigenous and racialized communities across the country, bringing forward resolutions to end the practice through our union’s regional and Canadian councils. I applaud the Ontario Human Rights Commission for tackling the serious issue of racial profiling head-on, as this is the only way to root out this dangerous practice. Our union will continue to work with all stakeholders to build a society that is free from hate and discrimination.
– Jerry Dias, Unifor National President
The Policy on racial profiling in law enforcement report is monumental in addressing racial profiling in our communities. As a union, Unifor has and will continue to educate members
on the impacts of institutional and systemic racism faced by Indigenous, Black and racialized communities in Canada. I hope that jurisdictions across the country follow the vital lessons learned from this report and that Ontario and nationally, we see the deep systemic changes needed to end racial profiling by law enforcement.
– Naureen Rizvi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director
Urban Alliance on Race Relations
UARR is happy to endorse your recommendations to end racial profiling and racial under-policing in the report.
– Neethan Shan, Interim Executive Director
Other endorsing organizations
Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO)
ARCH Disability Law
Canadian Arab Federation
Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic
Council of Agencies Serving South Asians (CASSA)
National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM)
South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario
Toronto Police Accountability Coalition