For immediate release

Racial profiling and systemic discrimination of racialized youth

MONTRÉAL, May 11, 2011 – The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse has issued a wake-up call to the government to seriously tackle racial profiling and ensure social peace in Québec.

“The government must adopt a policy aimed at fighting racism and a real action plan to prevent and put a stop to racial profiling,” today said, the president of the Commission, Gaétan Cousineau, at a news conference during which the Report of the consultation on racial profiling and its consequence was released. “Québec cannot allow some of its citizens to lose their trust in its institutions and to feel like foreigners in their own society. Social peace depends on it,” he said.

The report entitled: Racial profiling and systemic discrimination of racialized youth invites Québec to mobilize to end racial profiling and systemic discrimination that threatens the future of youth from minority groups.

“The situation must change. It is not a choice, but rather an obligation in order to uphold the right to equality of racialized minorities as guaranteed in the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms,” added the president of the Commission.

To that end, the Commission has addressed more than 90 detailed recommendations to all levels of governments, to public institutions and organizations which can ensure better social cohesion, in particular, police, schools, social services and the youth protection system. The Commission has also undertaken to improve its own practices as they relate to racial profiling complaints and its judicial strategy.

More particularly, the Commission recommends that the government adopt an official definition of discriminatory profiling and that it be included in the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. As well, racial profiling should be prohibited in the Police Act and in the Code of Ethics of Police Officers of Québec, and that offences be sanctioned.

Mr. Cousineau insisted on the importance of restoring the confidence of members of racialized groups in Québec, who, too often feel excluded and marginalized. It is up to elected officials and decision-makers to review the laws, standards and organizational policies, whose effect, though often subtle or unconsciously, reinforces these feelings of alienation.

The Commission recommends a review of practices and regulations in the three key sectors which were the focus of the consultation: public security, education and the youth protection system, including tangible measures to improve the representation of ethnic and racialized minorities at all levels of the public administration.

Moreover, antiracist and intercultural training should be given to all employees working in these sectors, while data analysis and collection mechanisms should be put in place as well as solid accountability procedures with a view to detecting racial profiling.

Mr. Cousineau acknowledged that the Commission has submitted an ambitious program that will not become reality without the active participation and support of community groups representing minority groups. During the public hearings the Commission was heartened to hear of the existence of interesting initiatives, as well as successful projects and partnerships which have made a difference despite the fact that these were generally the result of isolated acts rather than institutionalized practices.

The Commission’s consultation process

The Commission launched its consultation in September 2009 in order to find possible solutions to counter racial profiling and systemic discrimination, as the complaints handling process and judicial representation offered limited opportunity for fundamental change. It chose to focus on the experiences of 14 to 25-year olds from racialized minority groups.

In the first phase it collected more than 150 submissions from youth, their parents, experts and community organization representatives who all agreed to share their experiences of racial profiling whether in the education sector, the youth protection system or in the public security sector.

Based on these submissions as well as the data and research analysis, the Commission made public in March 2010 its Consultation Document to guide discussion and public exchanges during its public hearings which were held in Montreal and in Québec City last spring. The Commission received 54 written presentations, and approximately 75 persons, including academics, community or public institution representatives as well as engaged citizens, took part.

The report: Racial profiling and systemic discrimination of racialized youth is the result of this process.

To find out more about the report and the recommendations please see detailed news releases focusing on public security, the education sector, the youth protection system as well as the Commission’s commitments at


Contact :           Patricia Poirier
                        (514) 873-5146 or 1 800 361-6477 ext. 358