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Canadian police detain thousands of racialized persons in suspicionless roadside stops each year. These police powers enable racial profiling and we believe they are unconstitutional.

The CCLA will fight for the right of every person to be free to live their lives without the risk created by arbitrary exercise of police powers.

Why Police Vehicle Stops are an Issue

Police across Canada have been granted the power to randomly pull over cars, question the occupants, and demand identification from drivers. The police do not need to have seen someone driving erratically, or have any suspicion of wrongdoing, in order to stop and question people. It is an arbitrary detention power that is unnecessary and has resulted in decades of racial profiling, discrimination, and harassment- and we believe it is unconstitutional. There is nothing truly ‘random’ about suspicionless roadside stops. They provide an opportunity for discriminatory policing and harassment—whether as a pretext or due to unconscious bias. There is no doubt that the practice disproportionately affects Black individuals and members of other racialized groups. It undermines public confidence in law enforcement and the justice system as a whole.

Learn more about your rights during police stops here.

Read our primer on anti-Black racism in the Canadian justice system here.

Racial profiling has serious and pervasive negative impacts on individuals and communities. Heightened visibility and more encounters with law enforcement subject racialized individuals to an increased risk of police violence and abuse, which can lead to serious injury, long-lasting trauma, and death. Arbitrary, discriminatory police stops, even very short ones, are a serious interference with individuals’ dignity, safety and mental well-being.

The fact that racialized individuals are more likely to be targeted by these police powers also means that their activities face greater visibility and exposure to police scrutiny, surveillance and intervention. This heightened visibility is one of many contributors to the overrepresentation of Black, Indigenous, and racialized individuals in the criminal justice system—for example, because these individuals are more likely to be charged with administration of justice offences or other offences as a result.

Laws that facilitate unjust treatment also erode the perceived legitimacy of the police, the state, and the justice system as a whole. They make trust in and voluntary cooperation with public authorities less likely. The practice of racial profiling in particular undermines the belief and expectation — fundamental to any democratic society — that all individuals are equal before the law.

CCLA's Response

CCLA has been fighting against discriminatory policing since its inception – fighting racial profiling at the Supreme Court, in the legislatures, and through community education. This case is a crucial step in that decades-long fight.

We are alleging that the legal authority Canadian police have been granted to carry out suspicionless roadside stops is unconstitutional – an unjustifiable grant of arbitrary police power. It is used in a manner that disproportionately impacts racialized and marginalized individuals, and represents a significant violation of individual rights guaranteed by the Charter. Its use by police forces must cease.

CCLA has been granted conservatory intervenor status in the case – which means that it has joined the applicant to support his claims, and by bringing evidence and fully participating in the trial. The case will be heard by the Quebec Superior Court in June 2022.

CCLA is grateful for the support and pro bono contribution of our outstanding litigation team and their firm: Bruce Johnston and Lex Gill of Trudel Johnston & Lespérance.

The Timeline


October 25, 2022

Victory at Quebec Superior Court

Huge victory against racial profiling at Quebec Superior Court. The decision can be read here:

May 30, 2022

First Day of Trial

The first day of trial in Quebec Superior Court; proceedings are expected to continue throughout June 2022.


May 18, 2021

CCLA Files Materials

CCLA files materials to participate as a conservatory intervenor.

February 2, 2021

Amended Originating Application Filed

An amended originating application is filed in Quebec Superior Court. 

Click here for the French copy. 

Click here for the unofficial English translation. 


November 9, 2020

Case First Filed in Quebec Superior Court
Materials & Documents

Latest Updates and Briefs


CCLA Argues Before the Quebec Court of Appeal in Landmark Racial Profiling Case

MONTREAL — The Canadian Civil Liberties Association will appear before the Court of Appeal of Quebec…
March 5, 2024

CCLA intervening in major case on police background checks at Court of Appeal for Ontario

The Court of Appeal for Ontario has granted leave to intervene to the CCLA in…
February 15, 2024

CCLA Reacts to R v McColman Decision

OTTAWA — Shakir Rahim, Director of Criminal Justice for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA),…
March 27, 2023

The Guardian: Canada court rules random traffic stops are racist and unconstitutional

A Canadian court has ruled that random traffic stops violate the country’s charter, striking down…
October 26, 2022

Huge Victory Against Racial Profiling in Quebec Superior Court

MONTREAL — The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (“CCLA”), as a party intervening in the case…
October 26, 2022

Landmark Racial Profiling Decision – Unofficial English Translation – Quebec Superior Court (select passages)

UNOFFICIAL TRANSLATION of Joseph-Christopher Luamba (Plaintiff) v Attorney General of Québec and Attorney General of…
October 25, 2022

Huge Victory Against Racial Profiling: Decision from Quebec Superior Court

Huge victory against racial profiling in Quebec! We were very happy to work in support…
October 25, 2022

Human Rights Tribunal Finds Police DNA Sweep was Discriminatory

Earlier this week the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ruled that the Ontario Provincial Police (“OPP”)…
August 23, 2022

CCLA argues against expanded police detention powers at Supreme Court

CCLA is intervening in a case before the Supreme Court to argue that the police…
August 10, 2022

La lutte contre le profilage racial se poursuit devant les tribunaux et dans les communautés

July 7, 2022

Racial Profiling on Trial: an Update from the Frontlines

Last year the CCLA became involved in a constitutional challenge to the laws that grant…
June 28, 2022

Trial Begins in Major Constitutional Challenge Targeting Racial Profiling

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) is joining with a diverse group of civil society…
May 30, 2022

CCLA Launches Latest Tool to Combat Carding & Racial Profiling

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) today released their next salvo in the fight against…
December 13, 2021

CCLA Intervenes in Court Challenge Against Racial Profiling

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) is intervening in a constitutional challenge before the Superior Court…
July 20, 2021

CCLA to Appear Before Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario in Police Background Checks Case

Thairu Taban and Josslyn Mounsey were hired by Metrolinx as Transit Safety Communications Operators. They…
June 29, 2021

Rethinking Community Safety

A Step Forward for Toronto
January 12, 2021
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