Today Yasir Naqvi, Ontario’s community safety and correctional services minister announced that random street checks and carding by police is now banned under new regulations.

For months, the issue of carding has been a heated one in Peel Region, with many speaking out against the often discriminatory practice. Jagmeet Singh, MP Bramalea Malton Gore, once targeted by carding himself, came out heavily against the practice and outlined the negative impact it can have against minority groups and those already disenfranchised in the Peel community.

Local Mayors Linda Jeffrey and Bonnie Crombie also made their shared position clear on the issue, stop it immediately. Back in the fall, both Crombie and Jeffrey, along with the majority of the Police Services Board voted to end carding in Peel.

But police chief Jennifer Evans made it clear that she would continue to allow officers to do random street checks, despite the requests from the board to stop and despite public outcry. The request to end carding was also heard time and time again from people of minority groups who have experienced it firsthand. Their experiences were typically negative and helped to highlight what has already been proven: street checks are in large part discriminatory, target minorities and often hinder positive relations with police in at-risk communities.

Under the new regulations, Evans, along with police chiefs across the province, will be required to change how they do things.

An outline of the new regulation

  • Police must inform people that they don’t have to provide identifying information
  • Police must provide a reason for requesting identifying information from someone they’ve stopped
  • Police must make it clear to people that have a right not to talk with them, and refusing to co-operate or walking away can’t be used as reasons to compel information.
  • Police can still gather personal information during routine traffic stops, when someone is being arrested or detained, or when a search warrant is executed.
  • Officers must offer a written record of any interactions with the public, including their name and badge number, as well contact information for the independent police review director.
  • All identifying information collected by officers must be submitted within 30 days for review by the local chief of police.
  • At least once a year, chiefs will have to conduct a detailed review of a random sample of entries in their database to verify that information was collected in compliance with the regulation.
  • Chiefs must issue an annual public report on the number of attempted collections of personal information, the sex, age and race of the individuals stopped, and the neighbourhoods where the information was collected.

What do you think of the province’s new regulations?