Update: see previous posts – January 23, 2013 Toronto Police: Does Carding and Issuing Receipts Violate Charter and Human Rights Legislation?, November 15, 2012 Toronto Police Rename Practice of “Carding” into “Street Checks” – Board Reviews Receipts
Toronto officers who stop and document people, or “card”, will begin handing out receipts for the interaction in July.
Toronto police will begin handing out receipts for the controversial practice of carding in July after the police services board passed several motions Thursday, April 25, 2013.
The move by the board comes a year after Known to Police — the latest series in a 10-year Star investigation into race, policing and crime — analyzed police contact card data and found that Toronto officers stop and document black and brown people at disproportionately high rates.
Some see issuing receipts as a way to track the stops and make police more accountable.
The receipt — called a Form 306 — is an interim measure while the police service and the city’s auditor general investigate carding, which many civil rights groups say violates the Charter in the first place.
The city’s solicitor has been asked to weigh in on the legality of carding, also called street checks.
“What they’re trying to do is use all these little interim measures to make the thing palatable, hoping everybody will go away and stop complaining,” said Howard Morton of the Law Union of Ontario. “But the whole thing is unlawful. The key issue is whether this is a Charter violation and a Human Rights Code violation. If it’s not, then the interim measures are great.
“If we’re right, and it is, then the interim measures don’t matter much.”
Form 306 will include the individual’s name, the name of the officer issuing the receipt, as well as the location, date, time and reason for the stop.
Police Chief Bill Blair had the forms printed up and ready to go in November after an earlier directive from the board, but the receipts were put on hold.
Some civil rights groups questioned why the abbreviated receipt doesn’t contain all the information recorded by police, who ask for other details including parents’ names and marital status.
Others were critical that it contained open-ended categories such as “general investigation” and “community engagement” as reasons for the stop.
“There is a need for transparency and accountability with respect to race-based harassment and ‘street checks,’ ” wrote Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, in a deputation to the board Thursday. “Form 306 does not satisfy this.”
The police chief has always defended street checks as good police work in high crime areas.
After the meeting he said “we have reason to be in neighbourhoods where there is a lot of victimization and violence, to engage with the people who are there . . . to identify those individuals who might be victimizing others. And to gather information.”
It’s that “intelligence gathering” that has irked critics such as Morton, who say labelling street checks as a form of community engagement is a misnomer.
The motion was one of several put forward Thursday by a subcommittee of the board that is pulling everything that has been at the board on carding since the series ran.
The Star investigation found that while blacks make up 8.3 per cent of Toronto’s population, they accounted for 25 per cent of the cards filled out between 2008 and mid-2011.
And the number of black and brown males aged 15 to 24 who had been documented since 2008 outnumbered the actual populations of young black and brown men who live in the city.
Organizations such as the Toronto Police Accountability Coalition, the CCLA and Black is Not a Crime have all spoken out about the issue at police board meetings.
Other motions passed Thursday include asking the chief to define what types of interactions constitute community engagement, to post information on the Toronto police website as well as internally to explain the purpose of street checks and to report back with on the viability of providing more complete receipts.
The chief said issuing the receipts was part of a “large and complex process,” but that he could make the deadline set by the board.
“There’s an implementation process and as I indicated to the board, it involves not just the printing of the form, but we’ll have to train our officers, revise our procedures,” he said. “Public communication will have to take place as well.”
Lawyer, Paul D. Copeland of the Law Union of Ontario, wrote a document to advise citizen’s being stopped and questioned by the police, of their rights. The document is titled “APPROACHED BY POLICE … KNOW YOUR RIGHTS – What do you do if you are stopped and questioned by police?“.
The document refers to the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision dated July 23, 2004 in the case R. v. Mann (see: R. v. Mann,  3 S.C.R. 59, 2004 SCC 52). This is an exerpt from that decision made by the Supreme Court justices:
Although there is no general power of detention for investigative purposes, police officers may detain an individual if there are reasonable grounds to suspect in all the circumstances that the individual is connected to a particular crime and that the detention is reasonably necessary on an objective view of the circumstances. These circumstances include the extent to which the interference with individual liberty is necessary to the performance of the officer’s duty, to the liberty interfered with, and to the nature and extent of the interference. At a minimum, individuals who are detained for investigative purposes must be advised, in clear and simple language, of the reasons for the detention. Investigative detentions carried out in accordance with the common law power recognized in this case will not infringe the detainee’s rights under s. 9 of the Charter. They should be brief in duration, so compliance with s. 10 (b) will not excuse prolonging, unduly and artificially, any such detention. Investigative detentions do not impose an obligation on the detained individual to answer questions posed by the police. Where a police officer has reasonable grounds to believe that his safety or the safety of others is at risk, the officer may engage in a protective pat-down search of the detained individual. The investigative detention and protective search power must be distinguished from an arrest and the incidental power to search on arrest.
The document titled “APPROACHED BY POLICE … KNOW YOUR RIGHTS – What do you do if you are stopped and questioned by police? is two pages in length and contains much more useful information within it.