Sudbury police keeping eye on carding numbers as province reviews practice
Ontario judge to hold public consultation in April
Sudbury police stopped and carded a dozen people in 2017 — the same year the province introduced new rules limiting the circumstances in which police can ask people for their personal information.
The Ontario government updated the regulation in response to criticism that the practice was racially biased and discriminatory.
According to a report presented to the Greater Sudbury Police Services Board on Thursday, five of the 12 people stopped by police were perceived to be Indigenous, while three were perceived to be South Asian.
Police Chief Paul Pedersen cautions that it's difficult to draw conclusions from such a small sample.
"One collection per month is tough to draw a lot of analysis from," he said.
Pedersen says the small sample size did allow the department to carefully review each instance of carding, and determine that none of the 12 are what the regulation would consider 'arbitrary'.
"None of them were done for the wrong reasons — because of somebody's race, somebody's gender, or the particular neighbourhood."
"And that gives me some reassurance to know that our officers are conducting themselves in a bias-free manner," Pedersen said.
Province-wide review coming to Sudbury
An Ontario judge is conducting an independent review to examine how police departments across the province have adopted the new regulation.
Justice Michael Tulloch will be in Sudbury on April 26, to hold a public consultation as part of that review.
Police will have a chance to weigh in at the consultation, and talk about how the new rules for carding are working in a smaller city like Sudbury.
Pedersen adds that it will be important to keep an eye on the numbers in the future, as the department gathers more data to analyze.
"We want to make sure that we aren't disproportionately collecting information from one group over another group, and [that is] certainly something we'll be keeping our eye on."