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Coalition says Ontario’s carding regulation won’t prevent controversial practice

TORONTO – A coalition of community advocates, human rights and legal experts is calling on tougher regulations on the controversial practice of carding.

The group came together Monday morning at city hall, saying the province has not gone far enough in protecting people from carding.

“This is a provincial regulation but anything the province passes into a regulation has to come back into the municipalities,” said Desmond Cole, who chaired the press conference.

“The warning that we are trying to give the public is that the province says they didn’t want anymore what it calls ‘random and arbitrary stops’ and we’re trying to explain to the public that what they have proposed – although will provide some protection – will not prevent random and arbitrary stops.”

In October, the province drafted new regulations on carding which bans arbitrary police stops to collect personal information, requires police to explain interactions are voluntary and that members of the public have a right to walk away.

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The coalition is concerned that the province’s draft regulations do not apply when police are investigating specific offences.

Cole related the story of one woman who told him she was carded inside her home at the age of 10.

“She was inside of her home watching the police outside on the street doing their business in her community and the police saw her watching, came to her door and demanded that she identify herself,” Cole said.

“The regulations that are proposed here, will not stop an interaction like that from happening.”

READ MORE: Ontario drafts new regulations on carding, bans arbitrary police stops of citizens

Councillor Michael Thompson was on hand at the press conference, saying the province’s draft regulations miss the mark.

“It is evident based on the information released to date by the minister [of community safety and correctional services, Yasir Naqvi],  that those stated goals as related to the draft regulation … have not been fully achieved,” Thompson said.
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“As a former vice-chair of the police service board, I have tremendous respect for the men and women in policing … however, we know that there are times when the encounter has not been very positive, particularly for the members of the black community in this city and I suspect across the province. That has to change.”

Thompson added that although the draft regulations have been proposed by the Naqvi, the buck stops at Premier Kathleen Wynne.

“[Wynne] will have to be involved if the minister does not make the necessary changes,” Thompson said.