Ontario Human Rights Commission releases report on anti-Black racism by the Toronto Police

The report highlights systemic racial discrimination, profiling, and racism

Ontario Human Rights Commission releases report on anti-Black racism by the Toronto Police

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has released its final report, "From Impact to Action," concluding its inquiry into anti-Black racism within the Toronto Police Service (TPS).

The report includes over 100 recommendations for meaningful actions to improve outcomes for Black communities when interacting with the TPS. The report also highlights systemic racial discrimination, profiling, and racism faced by Black individuals at the hands of both the TPS and the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB). The OHRC emphasized that the report confirmed the need for change to challenge longstanding practices which perpetuate anti-Black racism in Toronto policing.

"I am grateful to the many Black communities, individuals, police officers and experts who provided input to make this report and its recommendations comprehensive," OHRC chief commissioner Patricia DeGuire said. "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."

The OHRC's recommendations include purging the TPS database of non-conviction biometric information, requiring supervisory approval for charges, and expanding race-based data collection. The report also calls for greater transparency in officer discipline, proactive steps following racial profiling or discrimination findings, and integrating anti-Black racism training into broader programs.

The OHRC acknowledged positive steps taken by the TPS and TPSB in addressing anti-Black racism during the inquiry and committed to ongoing collaboration for the implementation of legally binding and specific actions based on the recommendations.

Dr. Scot Wortley, professor at the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto, praised the OHRC's "groundbreaking report." Dr. Wortley said, "I am cautiously optimistic that, if adopted, the OHRC's recommendations will help reduce systemic racism, improve public transparency and police oversight, and foster a relationship of trust between the TPS and Toronto's Black communities."

The inquiry, initiated in 2017, aimed to foster trust between Toronto police and Black communities by empirically studying policing, identifying issues causing anti-black racism, and proposing solutions. The final report is the culmination of six and a half years of work and extensive consultations with Toronto's Black communities, policing experts, academics and expert findings by Dr. Scot Wortley.

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