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Human Rights Commission questions Ontario Provincial Police

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One of the best things about Ontario and Canada in general is that it truly is a multicultural mosaic of different cultures and peoples. There are immigrants living next to native-born Canadians. There are people of various skin colours, religions and ethnic backgrounds all living and working together. At the same time, there are some who believe that certain groups are more prone to violent crime. This can be especially problematic if those people are members of the Ontario Provincial Police.

Sadly, the Ontario Human Rights Commission has been investigating the OPP after an incident in which the branch of law enforcement requested DNA samples from an estimated 100 male migrant workers. Law enforcement says that it was trying to crack a sexual assault case, but the group Justicia for Migrant Workers says that it was illegal racial profiling.

The OPP commissioner has released a statement denying that officers were racially profiling the “Indo and Afro-Caribbean” migrant workers. The commissioner stated that no law enforcement action is taken “that relies upon stereotypes.”

The investigation eventually led to an arrest and conviction, but it is not entirely clear if the individual convicted of sexual assault was from this migrant community in southwestern Ontario. If he had been, it is unknown what evidence police had outside of this widespread DNA testing linking the man to the crime.

It should be clear that racial profiling of any kind is not acceptable under the Ontario Human Rights Code or the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Nor should it ever be used in law enforcement.

Source: Toronto Sun, “OPP denies racial profiling of migrant workers in sex assault case,” July 19, 2014

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