This report summarizes the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s (OHRC) observations and recommendations on the issues of homelessness and drug addiction in Kenora, Ontario. Under section 29 of the Ontario Human Rights Code, the OHRC can initiate reviews and inquiries and make recommendations related to incidents of tension or conflict in a community.
March 30, 2017 - Dear Mayor Canfield, thank you for taking the time to meet with us on February 15 in Kenora. As you know, we met with various members of the local Indigenous community at the Ne-Chee Friendship Centre, visited the Kenora Jail and met with Treaty 3 Grand Chief Francis Kavanaugh. During these visits we heard about challenges faced by Indigenous people related to education, child welfare, policing, corrections, and housing.
When child welfare authorities remove children from their caregivers because of concerns about abuse or neglect, it can be traumatic and tragic for everyone involved – children, their families and even their communities. Being admitted into care comes with far-reaching consequences that can have a negative impact on children’s future ability to thrive. It is an unfortunate reality that some children need to be placed in care to keep them safe. But too often, for First Nations, Métis, Inuit, Black and other racialized families, being involved with the child welfare system and having a child removed is fraught with concerns that the system is not meeting their or their children’s needs, is harmful, and may be discriminatory.
In November 2017, the OHRC launched its inquiry into racial profiling and racial discrimination of Black persons by the TPS to help build trust between the police and Black communities. The goal of the inquiry was to pinpoint problem areas and make recommendations. This Interim Report describes what the OHRC has done to date. It provides findings relating to SIU investigations of police use of force resulting in serious injury or death, describes the lived experiences of Black individuals, and offers highlights of legal decisions.