Ontario Human Rights Commission Releases Final Report on Anti-Black Racism by Toronto Police Service

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TORONTO – NEWS – The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has released its report, “From Impact to Action,” detailing the findings of its inquiry into anti-Black racism within the Toronto Police Service (TPS).

The comprehensive report comprises over 100 recommendations aimed at instigating meaningful changes to enhance outcomes for Black communities during interactions with the TPS.

The report asserts that Black individuals encounter systemic racial discrimination, racial profiling, and anti-Black racism from both the TPS and the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB).

This conclusion is substantiated by evidence collected during the inquiry, including data analysis and consultations with Black communities. The report underscores the imperative for transformative measures to challenge entrenched practices perpetuating anti-Black racism in Toronto policing.

“From Impact to Action” outlines the results of consultations with Black communities and policing stakeholders, highlighting deficiencies in TPS and TPSB policies and procedures across various areas, including stops and searches, charges and arrests, use of force, anti-racism initiatives, and accountability mechanisms.

Patricia DeGuire, OHRC’s Chief Commissioner, expressed gratitude to the diverse contributors who enriched the report with their insights. DeGuire stated, “Their openness and diligence were essential in delivering the final report and evidence-based practices which, if followed, will enable a cultural transformation within TPS.”

Key recommendations from the OHRC include purging the TPS database of non-conviction biometric information, implementing supervisory approval and/or equity audits for charges, revising policies to define circumstances prohibiting unnecessary force, and expanding the collection and reporting of race-based data in various policing activities.

What is Systemic Racism?

Systemic racism refers to patterns of entrenched discrimination or disadvantage that are embedded in the structures, policies, and practices of institutions, organizations, and society at large. Unlike individual acts of racism, which are perpetrated by individuals, systemic racism operates at a systemic or institutional level, impacting entire groups of people based on their racial or ethnic background.

Key features of systemic racism include:

  1. Structural Inequality: Systemic racism is reflected in disparities in opportunities, resources, and outcomes among different racial or ethnic groups. These disparities often result from historical and ongoing discriminatory practices.
  2. Institutional Bias: Racism is ingrained in various institutions, such as education, criminal justice, healthcare, and employment. These institutions may unintentionally perpetuate discriminatory outcomes through policies and practices.
  3. Cumulative Impact: Over time, systemic racism can lead to the accumulation of disadvantages for certain racial or ethnic groups. This can affect access to education, employment, housing, and other essential aspects of life.
  4. Intersectionality: Systemic racism often intersects with other forms of discrimination, such as sexism or classism. Individuals may face compounded disadvantages based on the intersection of multiple social identities.
  5. Implicit Bias: Unconscious biases held by individuals within institutions can contribute to systemic racism. These biases may influence decision-making processes, perpetuating discriminatory outcomes.

The OHRC’s recommendations include:

 Purging the TPS database of photographs, fingerprints or other biometric information from charges that do not result in convictions

 Requiring supervisory approval and/or equity audits of charges

 Revising policies and procedures to clearly set out circumstances where unnecessary force should not be used

 Expanding the collection, analysis and reporting of race-based data on stop, searches, charges, arrests and use of force

 Providing greater transparency on officer discipline

 Taking proactive investigative steps following tribunal or court decisions that contain findings of racial profiling, racial discrimination or violations of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms

 Integrating scenario-based training on anti-Black racism into other training programs with effective evaluation

 Developing a distinct policy or procedure on racial profiling

 Supporting calls to expand civilian-led mental health crisis response services

The OHRC acknowledges the positive steps the TPS and TPSB have taken to address anti-Black racism and discrimination in policing since the start of the inquiry. The Commission is committed to continued engagement with the TPS and TPSB to work towards implementing

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