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News brief: Ban carding entirely, Ontario report recommends

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Street checks or carding should be banned in Ontario, a new report recommends.

The report, written by Court of Appeal Justice Michael Tulloch, was requested by the former Ontario government when questions were raised around the efficiency of provincial regulations to constrain and standardize police practices across the province.

Much like in Halifax (and no doubt across all of Nova Scotia) members of racialized communities in Ontario are more likely to be subjected to a police street check than white people.

Better to not do any street checks all, Tulloch concluded after an 11-months review, including extensive consultation with members of the Ontario Black, Indigenous and racialized communities, as well as police representatives.

Tulloch explains that he set himself to answer two questions: does carding work, and should it be allowed?

His answer is nope, and nope.

“I conclude that random street checks, which take considerable time and effort for a police service to conduct, have little to no verifiable benefits relating to the level of crime or even arrests,” Tulloch writes.

“I also consider emergency situations and threats to public safety, and find that the tools police already have, without random street checks, allow them to effectively address such circumstances. I thus recommend discontinuing the use of random street checks altogether.”

As we reported earlier, Tulloch’s recommendations align with what is quickly becoming the consensus in North America.

The Ontario review was initiated by the Liberal government, which since lost power to Doug Ford’s Tories.  

In Halifax Dr. Scott Wortley is engaged in a similar review. He is expected to submit his recommendations sometime this month.

Wortley, whose prior academic work is referenced throughout the Tulley report, will likely recommend constraints on current police practices here in HRM. To what extent we don’t know, because a briefing of the Halifax Police Commissioners by Dr. Wortley was held in secret.


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