Toronto – The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has long been concerned with systemic discrimination in policing, which is a lived reality for many Ontarians. The result is mistrust that undermines effective policing and ultimately public safety.
The OHRC welcomes the Honourable Michael H. Tulloch’s recommendations, which are a significant step forward in terms of rebuilding public trust. Taken together, the recommendations provide a framework that would allow for better monitoring and accountability for systemic discrimination through:
- Demographic data collection by police oversight bodies
- Independent prosecution and adjudication of public complaints, with interventions by third parties
- The ability of the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) to initiate investigations in the public interest, even if no complaint is filed
- Mandatory social and cultural competency training for staff, developed and delivered in partnership with Indigenous and other community organizations
- Recruitment to ensure that staff and leadership more closely reflect the communities they serve.
While implementation of Justice Tulloch’s recommendations is essential, systemic discrimination will not be addressed unless there is a cultural shift within police oversight agencies. “The SIU and OIPRD must prioritize acknowledging and addressing systemic discrimination and the intergenerational impact of colonialism for there to be real change on the ground,” says OHRC Chief Commissioner Renu Mandhane. “We can’t forget that it was the death of Andrew Loku and community demands for a complete overhaul of the current system that led to this review.”
The OHRC looks forward to the government’s implementation of the recommendations and commenting on future legislation when it is introduced.
Senior Communications Advisor (Acting)
Ontario Human Rights Commission
416 314 4528 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Implementing recommendations essential, but systemic discrimination won't change until police oversight agencies make a cultural shift. pic.twitter.com/JMTgnXFq2o
— The OHRC (@OntHumanRights) April 7, 2017