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Human Rights Complaint Coming Over Police Carding

Complaint alleges the practice is discriminatory, and calls for its elimination.

For years, community activists have been working to put an end to the police practice of carding, which involves stopping people on the street—often without cause—collecting their personal information, and then adding that information to an internal database. Critics says carding promotes and enables racial profiling: “A disproportionate amount of individuals stopped are young Black and Brown coloured males or members from other visible minority groups,” explains the Stop Police Carding website. “This practice is discriminatory and must be stopped.”

The Campaign to Stop Police Carding, which has been focusing on community meetings and deputations to the Toronto Police Services Board, has now decided to take the legal route: it’s teaming up with the Law Union of Ontario to submit a complaint to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.

The law union and Stop Police Carding, which held a meeting last night to discuss the planned legal action, are now inviting people who’ve been carded to participate in the challenge—complainants will receive free legal support from the Law Union and the Human Rights Legal Support Centre. Once the complaint is filed, the Toronto police will have 45 days to respond, and both parties will participate in a mediation process. If mediation produces no results, the tribunal will likely hear the case this year.

If the tribunal finds that carding is racially discriminatory, it could award financial compensation to complainants, direct the police to make changes along the lines of additional training for police—or order an end to the practice of carding.

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