Random street checks by police are prohibited in Ontario

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For the first time ever, Ontario issuing the regulation prohibiting random street checks or carding by police to end arbitrary stops, especially those based on race. It sets out rights and duties for both individuals and police officers in an area that never had such rules before. Race will be prohibited for being the only reason for a police officer to collect someone’s ID.

“Collection of identifying information In Certain Circumstances – Prohibition and Duties”, Ontario regulation 58/16 was made under the Police Services Act and published on e-Laws on March 22, 2016. The rules will ensure that police-public interactions are conducted without discrimination or bias.

This regulation will be in effect starting from January 1, 2017.

Police must inform you that you have a right not to talk with them. There were complaints from many people of colour, who said the human rights were being ignored by police who stopped them for no apparent reason. Police must provide a reason for requesting identifying information from someone.

Police can collect personal information during routine traffic stops, when a search warrant is executed, and when someone is being arrested or detained.

Officers are obliged to offer a written record of any interactions with a person, including their name badge number, and contacts of the independent police review director.

If identifying information was collected, a police officer has to submit it within 30 days for review by the local chief of police. The person’s sex, age and race, and the neighbourhoods where the information was collected have to be included into this document.

Police chiefs will have to periodically conduct (at least once a year) a detailed review of a random sample of entries in their database to verify the information was collected in compliance with the regulation. They must also issue an annual public report regarding collections of personal information.

Ontario government posted the draft regulations in October 2015 for public comment and received 510 written submissions from the public and organizations.

Building safer communities and protecting individual rights are fundamental values of our society.

References:

  • https://news.ontario.ca/mcscs/en/2016/03/ontario-prohibits-carding-and-street-checks-sets-out-new-rules-for-police-interactions.html
  • https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/r16058?_ga=1.253038665.1330394912.1458664335
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