Ontario Implements New Rules for Police ‘Street Checks’ to Help Combat Systemic Racism

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Under the new rules, people will not be required to provide police with their personal information during “street checks.” (Photo by Paul Bradbury/Getty Images)

As part of Ontario’s ongoing efforts to fight racism, the government has appointed a federal judge to review regulations on ID checks by police.

Last year, the Ontarian government rolled out new rules limiting the unnecessary collection of identifying information by authorities, according to news site Insauga.com. Now, Ontario Court of Appeals Justice Michael Tulloch will be in charge of heading an independent review of the new policies.

“The issues involved are important to all Ontarians, and I commit to approach this new task with the same level of objectivity and judicial fairness with which I bring to all my judicial duties,” Tulloch said.

Under the new rules, people will not be required to give police any¬†identifying information during said “street checks” nor will the police be allowed to stop people due to their racial background, if they’re in a high-crime area or not or if they refuse to answer questions or walk away.

Moreover, police are required to inform citizens of why their information is needed and that they have the right to refuse giving such personal details about themselves. The cops must also offer a receipt, regardless of whether information was taken or not, that gives the officer’s name, badge number and the person to¬†contact to access their personal information on file, Insauga.com reported.

The rules, which took effect in January, indicate that during a street check, officers also must tell citizens how to get in touch with the Office of the Independent Review Director, which handles all complaints about law enforcement in Ontario.

There are some exceptions to the policies, however.

The new rules don’t apply to officers conducting a traffic stop, arresting/detaining someone, executing a search warrant or investigating any specific crime, according to the news site.

Tulloch is expected to make recommendations on all facets of the use of police street checks, including how the province might improve its current policies, by Jan. 21, 2019. His review will mainly focus on officer application of the regulations without racial bias, the effectiveness of the oversight methods of the new regulations and whether carding practices are still necessary in the province’s policing strategy.

The goal? To determine whether the continued use of street checks and the regulations properly reflect the government’s goal of combating systemic racism.

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