APPEAL VOLUME 25
In recent years, police de partments across Canad a have faced scrutiny because ra cialized,1
Indigenous, 2 and marginalized3 persons a re disproportionately subject to the pol ice
practice of “carding” or “street c hecks.” ese checks ty pically involve police stopping
and questioning people on the stree t, absent grounds for arrest or dete ntion, to collect
identifying in formation, which is then entered and stored i n a centralize d database for
intelligence gathering purposes.4
Advocates defend the pract ice as a necessary tool for solving a nd preventing crime, but the
resulting har m to those inordinately tar geted, who nd themselves subjec t to pervasive
and ongoing haras sment and surveillance, is unden iable.
Paired with mounting ev idence
regarding the i necacy of street che cks,6 the practic e is becoming increa singly dicu lt
for police departments to just ify.
e most recent, high-prole indic tment comes from the Ontario Cour t of Appeal’s
Honourable Michael Tulloch. In January 2019, Justice Tulloch released his long-awaited
Report of the Independent Street Checks Review,7 which conrmed what cr itics of carding
have been saying for year s: it is an ineective polici ng tool that comes at a tremendous
social cost, a nd as such, should be banned.8 W hile Justice Tulloch’s condemnation of
carding ma rks an importa nt turn in public d iscourse, it is unclea r how his ndings wi ll
1 “Racialization” refers to the processes th at produce and sustain race as a real and une qual
2 As the Ontario Human Rights Commission exp lains, while Indigenous peopl e are also racialized,
this designation “fails to re cognize that many members of First Nati ons, Metis and Inuit
communities object to be ing referred to as a racial group,” and thus I will b e using the term
Indigenous separatel y to give recognition to the unique historic al experience of Indigenous
communities in Canada. See O ntario Human Rights Commission, “Un der Suspicion: Research
and consultation repor t on racial proling in Ontario” Ontario Human Rights Commission (April
2017), online: <http://ohrc.on.ca/sites/default/les/Under%20suspicion_research%20and%20
consultation%20rep ort%20on%20racia l%20proling%20in%20Onta rio_2017.pdf> at 15
archived at [https://perma.cc/9W ND-VU3P].
3 While street check data clearly indicates t hat racialized and Indigenous per sons are subject to
disproportionate p olice attention, the way in which pover ty and social marginalizatio n also
determine who is unfairly t argeted has been more dicult to tr ack. However, policing poverty is
a pervasive, inextricable problem that often aects those who experience intersecting forms of
4 Law Union of Ontario, “Submissions to Toronto Police Servi ces Board Re: Community Contacts
Policy” Law Uni on of Ontario (25 May 2014), online: <http://www.lawunion.ca/tag /carding/>
archived at [https://perma.cc/YA6Z-Q4UB].
5 The harmful eects of racial prolin g are well-documented. As D esmond Cole stated, “because
of that unwanted scrutiny, that discriminator y surveillance, I’m a prisoner in my own cit y.”
SeeDesmond Cole, “T he Skin I’m In” Toronto Life (21 April 2015), online: <https: //torontolife.
com/city/life/skin-im-ive-interrogated-p olice-50-times-im-black/> archived at [https://perma.
6 CBC News, “An Ontario judge says carding doesn’t work . But will politicians listen?” CBC News
(4 January 2019), online: <https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-carding-review-
michael-tulloch-1.4964768> archived at [https://perma.cc/S576-SR2A].
7 The Honourable Michael T. Tulloch, Report of the Independent Street Checks Review (Queen’s
Printer for Ontario: 2018), online: <http://www.mcscs.jus .gov.on.ca/sites/default/les/content/
mcscs/docs/StreetChecks.pdf> archived at [https://perma.cc/ZA24-CKBP]. (“The Tulloch
8 On April 17, 2019, Nova Scotia’s Justice Minister directed poli ce across the province to
immediately yet temporarily suspend the practice of street check s. This decision came shortl y
after a landmark repo rt indicated that Black peopl e in Halifax were being dispropor tionately
targeted. See Taryn Grant , “Nova Scotia suspends police stre et checks” The Star Halifax (17
April 2019), online: <https://www.thestar.com/halifax/2019/04/17/nova-scotia-announces-
immediate-suspension-of-p olice-street-checks.html> archived at [https://perma.cc/K6D6 -