Statistics Canada to report racially-based fatal police encounters

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Statistics Canada, Toronto police, nor the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services does not collect any race-based statistics on fatal police encounters. Furthermore, Statistics Canada only tracks fatal police shootings if an officer is criminally charged. The Toronto Police Services keeps statistics regarding use-of-force incidents; however, they neglect to record the person’s racial background. It is important to identify the racial background of victims of fatal police encounters to accurately portray how Black and Indigenous Canadians are being overrepresented in these encounters.

Scot Wortley, a University of Toronto criminologist conducted, examined data released from the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area and found that eight of the 12 shootings during this time involved black people, representing 66% of the Toronto police shootings in that time period. This is alarming when black residents represented 6.7% of the Toronto Metropolitan Area at the time. There have been other media studies that suggest that Black and Indigenous Canadians were severely overrepresented in fatal police encounters.

Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto Police Association, says that race data on police use of force is not relevant and is misleading. However, in the past week, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a 29-year-old Black woman, and Chantel Moore, a 26-year-old Indigenous woman, died during police encounters.

It is hard to gauge and represent how bad police racial violence is in Canada when there is no official national record of the number of people killed during encounters with the police. We are demanding a database that tracks fatal police encounters with the data broken down by race, gender, and location. These statistics must be released to the public. We cannot turn a blind eye to the systemic racism in Canada any longer.

Sources:

Natasha Simpson. 2020. Canada Has Race-Based Police Violence Too. We Don’t Know How Much. The Tyee. https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2020/06/02/Canada-Race-Based-Violence/

Wendy Gillis. 2015. How many black men have been killed by Toronto police? We can’t know. Toronto Star. https://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2015/08/16/how-many-black-men-have-been-killed-by-toronto-police-we-cant-know.html