|December 21, 2016
Supporting Public Safety, Protecting Civil Liberties
As of Jan. 1, 2017, a new regulation comes into effect that will prohibit police from requesting identifying information arbitrarily, or based on a person’s race or presence in a high-crime neighbourhood during certain police-public interactions.
The regulation reflects feedback from public consultations on how to improve transparency, oversight and public confidence, and establishes new training, record-keeping, and reporting requirements to strengthen accountability. The regulation also sets out new rules that police must follow when requesting identifying information, and outlines in what situations these new rules apply.
The new rules apply if an officer asks the person for identifying information or to see an identifying document while:
- Looking into suspicious activities
- Gathering intelligence
- Investigating possible criminal activity.
The new rules do not apply if police ask for identifying information or to see an identifying document while:
- Doing a traffic stop
- Arresting or detaining someone
- Executing a warrant
- Investigating a specific crime.
Ontario is the first jurisdiction in Canada to set out clear and consistent rules for voluntary police-public interactions where police are seeking to collect identifying information. These rules will ensure these interactions are conducted without bias or discrimination, and done in a manner that promotes public confidence and keeps Ontario communities safe.
Supporting safe, healthy communities is part of the government’s plan to create a fair and inclusive society and help people in their everyday lives.
- Training, which was developed in consultation with an expert roundtable, has also been incorporated into the basic training program for new police recruits at the Ontario Police College.
- The Code of Conduct for police has been updated to reflect the new regulation; failure to follow the rules will be considered a Code of Conduct violation that may result in discipline.
- Ontario will appoint an independent reviewer to complete a review of the regulation within two years of full regulatory implementation in consultation with Ontario’s Anti-Racism Directorate.
- In 2017, Ontario will launch a multi-year academic study to understand the impact of collecting information on the ability of police to solve crime, analyze and identify the impact of race-based collections and analyze the impact of the new regulations on this practice.
“These new rules protect the rights of people who are not under investigation while also laying the foundation for more positive, trusting and respectful relationships between police and the public – relationships that can help police continue to solve and prevent crimes and keep our communities safe.”
— Kevin Flynn, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services
“It is absolutely essential that everyone in this province be treated with dignity and respect regardless of their race or religion. Working through the Anti-Racism Directorate, I am committed to finding ways to break down systemic barriers. I look forward to continuing to work with Minister Flynn and the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services to address and eliminate systemic racism in the justice sector, and build a more inclusive society.”
— Michael Coteau, Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism and Minister of Children and Youth Services