New Ontario Carding Regulation a Mixed Bag

March 22, 2016

Ontario’s new regulation on carding, announced today, provides new and stronger protections against arbitrary police stops, while not adequately protecting youth, as well as racialized and other marginalized people, who are stopped and questioned by police. In addition, significant concerns remain with respect to data collection and retention.

Since last summer, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) has consulted extensively with Ontario Ministry and government staff and provided recommendations aimed at ending carding. CCLA also worked collaboratively with a large network of organizations and individuals to create a joint response to the draft regulation released in October 2015.

Some significant concerns were addressed, at least to some extent, in the new carding regulation released today. It applies to a great deal (though not all) police stops and activities, and has tightened up the prohibition against carding and its exemptions. CCLA notes with appreciation that the new regulation explicitly addresses one of the network’s previously stated concerns that too many individuals were stopped by police simply for meeting the description of “young black man”.

However, several key concerns with the regulation remain and new ones have emerged. These include: no new protections to ensure that youth who are stopped by police have the opportunity to consult with a parent or lawyer; individuals are no longer informed of their right to walk away from a “voluntary” police encounter; police reports on stops do not have to be made available to the public; and while there will be a new independent review of the regulation (as we had recommended), this review will not necessarily monitor for compliance with the regulation or for community responses to its effectiveness. Perhaps of greatest concern, the regulation leaves a great deal of improperly collected data in the hands of police for no legitimate policing purpose, and it does so indefinitely.

CCLA will continue to study the regulation in the coming days and speak out against carding or street checks by police across Canada.

>> Read CCLA’s most recent submission to the Minister on carding

>> Read the network’s Joint Statement

>> Read CCLA’s submission to the Ministry as part of the consultative process to develop the regulation