This past summer we wrote a post about civil rights activists in Toronto who were seeking to end the practice of carding. Carding is a way that law enforcement can gather information that is then stored in a secret database indefinitely, for future use. According to critics, the activity is often used as a way to target individuals from ethnic minorities.
In that earlier post we indicated the activists were hoping that several changes would transpire. The first is that police officers would inform those detained that the stop is optional. Next, that the database of information collected in the course of carding be purged. Last, that officers be required to provide their name and badge number as well as the information recorded, to the person who is being carded.
In the months since the last post lawmakers appear to have considered the activists’ request. Liberals from the province indicated they would like the practice to end and will be taking steps to do so. Specifically they would like to ban any arbitrary or random stops by police from occurring. In addition, in situations where people voluntarily provide information to to law enforcement, the rights of those individuals as laid out in the charter and the human rights code, would be preserved.
According to one of the supporters of the change suspects being searched under reasonable grounds and in the course of a criminal investigation, will not be impacted. It is expected the changes to the regulations sought will be shared in the course of the next several weeks.
How such changes would affect arrests in Ontario remains to be seen. It is possible it could lead to a reduction in the number of prosecutions taking place.