Justice Michael Tulloch was in Brampton on Thursday night for his 5th stop on a Province wide consultation of Regulation 58/16 which outlines Ontario’s news rules on street checks (also referred to as carding). At the start of the consultation, Justice Tulloch emphasized that he is “totally independent” and not an agent of the government. He informed the participants that he wanted “to hear your views, your perspectives, and your experiences” and that “it is critically important for us to have your views so that we can independently assess the situation that gives rise to this regulation.”
The new street check rules apply if a police officer asks you to identify yourself when they are looking in suspicious activities, gathering intelligence or investigating general criminal activity in the community. The new rules also say that a police officer must have a reason for asking for ID and this reason cannot be based on race, cannot be arbitrary, cannot be because you are in a high-crime area and cannot be because you refused to answer a question or walked away.
Police officers must also tell you why they want your identifying information and they must tell you that you can refuse to give that information. However, there are scenarios when these rules do not apply. For more details, refer to ontario.ca/streetchecks.
The review by Justice Tulloch will assess whether police officers, chiefs of police, and police services boards are following the new rules. The review will assess whether the regulations reflects the goals of ensuring that police and public interactions are consistent, bias free, and conducted in a way that promotes public confidence and protects human rights. Justice Tulloch will be submitting his report to the provincial government on November 30th of this year and it will be made available to the public before January 1, 2019.
The consultation in Brampton on Thursday night was moderately attended and included MPP Harinder Malhi, staff from MP Ruby Sahota, and Brampton Mayor Linda Jeffrey. Mayor Jeffrey is also on the Peel Police Services Board which oversees Peel Regional Police. There were no police officials or local Councillors in attendance.
Participants voiced similar concerns, including many saying that instead of following new rules, the practice of street checks should be banned altogether. Participants applauded suggestions for more community policing where officers live in the communities they serve. One participant questioned the training process that officers undergo while others raised concerns about lack of diversity in governance and systemic racism. La Tanya Grant, the cousin of Jermaine Carby who died during a 2014 street check in Brampton, also attended and gave a passionate plea to end the practice.
Justice Tulloch, who grew up in Brampton is the first black judge appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeals. He completed a review of Ontario’s three civilian oversight bodies last year and his recommendations were instrumental in reforming the Police Act that coincidentally passed at Queens Park on Thursday.
Get more information about the review process at streetchecksreview.ca. Written submissions are being accepted until May 31, 2018.