Summary of article “Surge of racial profiling complaints posisble as procedural hurdle cleared” by Lisa-Marie Hill

The article, Surge of Racial Profiling Complaints Possible as Procedural Hurdle Cleared, centers on the concern of a possible flow of racial profiling complaints now that the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario will be open to hearing cases already considered to have been dealt with.

The police argue that they already have a system in place to deal with complaints like racial profiling. Many of the complaints against police are referred back to the force for review and potential investigation. Last year, the Ontario Provincial Police started a judicial review in the decision of Claybourn v. Toronto Police Services Board. In this case, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario heard complaints against the police even though there was an internal investigation that had already shown the complaints to be unmerited. The judicial review application stated that the tribunal did not interpret the Human Rights Code properly, and parties should not be able to re-litigate issues that have already been decided.

Human Rights lawyer Bruce Best, along with many others, believes there needs to be independence when handling these complaints, which simply cannot happen when police investigate themselves. The tribunal has heard at least five cases stemming from racial profiling in the last few weeks, even despite the judicial review in the Claybourn v. Toronto Police case. Avvy Go, a Toronto lawyer, says that police are not qualified to make decisions regarding human rights complaints. Advocates who agree that racial profiling cases already heard by the police can be heard again by the tribunal say it is a matter of fairness. It would not be fair for someone who has a complaint regarding discrimination not to be able to voice that complaint in front of the Human Rights Tribunal. These advocates say that discrimination complaints just simply cannot be dealt with under the Police Services Act, and must be addressed according to the Human Rights Act.

By Lisa-Marie Hill
300 772 538


Surge of Racial Profiling Complaints Possible as Procedural Hurdle Cleared
Written by Yamri Taddese
Pubished Monday March 31, 2014
Retrieved on May 30, 2014 at

About the Author

Paralegal Student
Communications Students.

4 Comments on "Summary of article “Surge of racial profiling complaints posisble as procedural hurdle cleared” by Lisa-Marie Hill"

  1. Agatha Small | June 7, 2014 at 10:25 am |

    Well this question to retry cases under a different Act or Legislation I believe should not be allowed.
    If the system wants to change how they handle issues of police misconduct then I believe it should only take affect of future cases that arise and not those that have already been heard.

  2. Harkirat Singh Kang | June 7, 2014 at 5:49 pm |

    For procedural fairness no one should be allowed to be judge in his own cause. The same is the situation by allowing Police to investigate complaints against its own employees. It’s necessary to allow tribunal to hear racial profiling complaints for the decision and investigation to be made by independent body. People will loose trust if tribunal’s jurisdiction is removed and for victims to get justice it’s necessary not to remove jurisdiction from Human Rights Tribunal. Also there shouldn’t be double jeopardy for accused and for the same reason a proper framework is required to allow only tribunal to hear complaints.

  3. I agreed with Human Rights Lawyer Bruce Best and Amy Go’s call for an independent tribunal for racial profiling that infringed human rights. However, in order to uphold procedural fairness and even legitimacy of the police, an independent commission to investigate any dispute between general public and the force is necessary. Although there are multiple agency watchdogs and some of them have significant civilian input (e.g. Ontario Civilian Police Commission), they are still member of the Force. It applies to investigation conducted by other police from other jurisdiction too (e.g OPP or even RCMP). Multiple agencies from the Force also worsen the level of bureaucracy. It is such a waste of resources and tremendous loss of efficiency for applicants/victims to endure when police board investigation is a prerequisite to any involvement from an independent tribunal’s (e.g. HRTO for this occasion).

    Recall the loss of legitimacy for Special Investigation Unit of the Toronto Police:

    Clayton C. Ruby: One rule for us, another for the cops from National Post Retrieved from:

  4. Pagan E Cheung | June 8, 2014 at 5:05 pm |

    Lisa, Human Rights lawyer Bruce Best along with advocates are correct in that the police cannot simply investigate their own complaints due to the fact that there maybe a perception by the public of bias in their findings, even if it is not the case.

    It is only fair that an individual has a right to be heard in the HRTO even if they had previously, unsuccessfully lodged a complaint to the Ontario Provincial Police.

    Thank you for the interesting summary.

Comments are closed.