Ontario consults on new standardized carding regulations
Province plans to have draft carding regulations in place by the end of September
A public consultation in Ottawa on the controversial police practice known as "carding" focused on the need for clear rules on when police can card individuals and how long they can keep that information.
The Friday night meeting at Carleton University was the first of five scheduled in Ontario with the goal of collecting feedback to guide the creation of new provincial standardized regulations on carding.
Also known as "street checks," carding allows police to stop individuals deemed to look or act suspicious, and then enter their personal information — such as address, vehicle details and people they're with — into a police databank.
"Generally, there's a feeling that police officers don't make it clear to them why they're stopping them," said Roy Sengupta, 21, who attended the session.
Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau, who was also at the meeting, said the consultation is a good first step.
"The conversation and the better understanding amongst the parties involved is always productive and helps us to come to a better understanding of how we do our business, but also the impact that may have on our communities," he said.
From 2011 to 2014, more than 45,000 people were entered into the Ottawa police databank as a result of street checks.
Acting inspector Mark Patterson said Ottawa officers use carding as an investigative tool. He said police only record information if they suspect someone is participating in a crime.
"People are not stopped randomly," he said.
Community Safety Minister Yasir Naqvi told CBC News at the meeting that the province plans to have draft regulations in place by the end of September.