The Current

'End carding now,' says coalition of prominent Torontonians

It's called carding and statistically every man of colour in Toronto has experienced it more than once. Police describe it as intelligence-led policing. Civil liberties advocates call it racial profiling and a prominent group of Torontonians calls it discriminatory and socially corrosive.
A growing number of people say the practice of carding should be stopped because it is racist and counter-productive. (Stewart Rand/Flickr)
Like me, the group Concerned Citizens to End Carding, belive that carding is a discriminatory, socially corrosive practice that demeans the people it targets.- Michael Thompson, Toronto City Councillor 

There's a newly formed group of Toronto leaders called Concerned Citizens to End Carding... all well-known and politically connected. They banded together in one of the most heated debates roiling Canada's largest city. All to do with police relations and race. 

And if many of the names involved in yesterday's conference -- former mayors and provincial cabinet ministers among them -- needed little introduction, "carding" might.

Carding is the practice of police officers stopping someone with no reason to believe they've committed a crime... taking down their name and I.D., then filing that information away for future use.

And it has been pervasive. 

Mark Saunders defends carding

7 years ago
Duration 2:12
Toronto police chief says force relies on intelligence gleaned from carding to keep lid on gang violence

Police carded people more than 2 million times between 2008 and 2013. That's according to police reports obtained by the Toronto Star under a freedom of information request.  The statistics visible minorities, especially African-Canadians, were significantly more likely to be stopped and carded. In about 450,000 of those cases, the person carded was African-Canadian...  and that's in a city with 200,000 African-Canadians living it.

Toronto police put carding on hold in January. But many activists say so-called carding reforms still allow police to target racial minorities. Police say they need to gather intelligence, and prevent violence. 

We requested an interview with Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders. He wasn't available this morning, nor was anyone else from the Toronto Police Service. We also requested an interview with Toronto Mayor John Tory, but did not get a reply. 

This segment was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar and Gord Westmacott. 


Interrogated by police more than 50 times because I'm black - Desmond Cole, Toronto Life

Toronto police board passes revised carding policy - Toronto Star

Known to Police 2013 - Toronto Star Investigation