June 15th, 2022

NDP Statement on Toronto Police Race-Based Data Findings

TORONTO — NDP MPPs Jill Andrew (Toronto—St. Paul’s) and Laura Mae Lindo (Kitchener Centre) released the following statement in response to the Toronto Police Service’s release today of race-based statistics on officers' use of force and strip searches.

“Today, Black, Indigenous and racialized communities across Toronto and Ontario are once again facing the painful reality of structural racism and violence in policing. The report notes, for example, that Black Torontians were 230 per cent more likely to have a police officer point a firearm at them when they appeared to be unarmed than their white counterparts. These statistics and the traumatic real-life experiences of particularly Black and Indigenous folks they illustrate are alarming, but they are certainly not new.

It has long been clear that Black folks, as well as Indigenous and racialized people are treated inequitably by police as a result of systemic racism and are deeply fearful of interactions with police. We thank Dr. Notisha Massaquoi and her team for their leadership and years of hard work in bringing this first report to light.

The Toronto Police Service’s findings today are not isolated incidents, but part of a longstanding pattern in Toronto, Ontario, and Canada. The only way to finally break this vicious cycle and ensure lasting justice and equity for Ontarians is to fundamentally change these broken structures.

It is the government’s responsibility to work to eradicate systemic discrimination in our province. That is why the Ford Conservatives’ gutting of the Anti-Racism Directorate and the vital work it was meant to do has been so corrosive. People deserve to feel protected and safe in their communities. The Ford government’s refusal to step up and support this vital work is wrong, and continues to drag our province backwards.

Systemic racism in policing and individual acts of police violence have been studied, reported on and apologized for repeatedly over the past several decades. Black, Indigenous and racialized communities have given substantial input on what steps must be taken. It is long past time to actually take urgent action to tackle these challenges.

We must reimagine how we keep our communities safe. New Democrats are committed to doing the vital work of ending structural racism and police violence, as laid out in End Police Violence: Invest in Black, Indigenous and Racialized People’s Lives. This includes a real carding ban with real monitoring, real consequences, and the destruction of all illegally obtained information. We cannot simply continue to drive corrosive, discriminatory and unlawful practices underground, only to come to light when the damage is long since done.

We must also heavily invest instead in the programs, services and supports that improve our health, and build up and knit together our communities. And we must urgently and completely overhaul police oversight so Ontarians can have confidence that police are being held meaningfully accountable to the public and communities they serve.”