Black rights groups call for changes to Ontario’s ‘carding’ rules

The ongoing debate about police carding in Ontario:

The chorus of voices calling for revisions to the province’s carding regulations grew louder Monday as a coalition of black community groups spoke out about the “the deeply problematic gaps” in proposed legislation aimed at halting discriminatory policing in Ontario.

“Ultimately, when it comes to eliminating racial profiling or preventing racial profiling and anti-black racism, the regulation does not go far enough,” said Anthony Morgan, a lawyer with the African Canadian Legal Clinic.

Among the groups speaking out is the Association of Black Law Enforcers (ABLE), which expressed doubt about the effectiveness of carding in a letter to the province this fall.

Carding, also known as street checks, “has yet to be reasonably demonstrated an effective or scientific tool to achieve the intended purpose of public safety,” ABLE president Kenton Chance wrote in a submission to the Ministry of Community Safety earlier this year. The Star recently obtained the submission.

On behalf of membership that includes black police officers across Ontario, Chance told the province that police now have other ways to solve crimes, such as video surveillance, that could be “exponentially more valuable and dependable” than the “hit or miss” information obtained through carding.

ABLE spokesperson Terrence Murray stressed the group does not speak for all black and racialized officers.

But in a statement to the Star, he reiterated that the group could not find any reliable information to prove the effectiveness of carding.

“As black police and peace officers, we live and work in two worlds that have allowed us to develop unique perspectives,” Murray wrote.

In October, Minister of Community Safety Yasir Naqvi unveiled draft regulations aimed at eliminating random and arbitrary police stops. Written after months of public consultation, the proposed regulations would place new limits on how and when police stop, question and document members of the public who are not suspected of a crime.

While many are applauding the sentiment behind the regulation, several dozen rights groups and community leaders have sounded the alarm in recent weeks about problems with the regulations.

Among the major concerns is that the proposed legislation includes too many exceptions that allow police to circumvent the safeguards.

Source: Black rights groups call for changes to Ontario’s ‘carding’ rules | Toronto Star

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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