Systemic solutions are needed to end racial profiling and systemic discrimination experienced by racialized youth
Montréal, October 21, 2020 – The majority of the recommendations issued by the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse in 2011 regarding racial profiling and systemic discrimination have not been implemented or have been implemented only in part. A review of these recommendations has the Commission call on once again the Québec government to adopt a policy aimed at fighting systemic racism and systemic discrimination that provides a plan of action for preventing and eliminating racial profiling.
During a press conference today, the Commission presented the follow up of the implementation of recommendations made in 2011 following a broad public consultation that focused on the racial profiling and systemic discrimination experienced by racialized youth aged 14 to 25 in the public security sector, the education sector and the youth protection system.
“We present this review in a specific context of significant mobilization around the world against systemic discrimination and racial profiling,” declared the President of the Commission, Philippe-André Tessier. “We have to reissue many recommendations made 10 years ago. Given that the Québec government recently set up an antiracism action group, we believe it is more urgent than ever to make it a clear priority to fight systemic racism and systemic discrimination,” he added.
The Commission’s 2011 report brought to light many serious matters and contained 93 recommendations. Started in 2018, the review of these recommendations was made by collecting information from 48 government departments and public bodies. The Commission also interviewed researchers who work on these issues and held focus groups in 5 cities in Québec with more than 75 people: racialized individuals, including young people, and organizations that represent them.
The Commission’s review highlights the persistence of racial profiling and systemic discrimination in the three areas studied, as well as the need for a comprehensive, intersectorial approach to understanding systemic racism and systemic discrimination in all their complexity. A great deal of feedback was received from researchers and focus group participants about recognition of the systemic nature of racial profiling, discrimination and racism.
“This review has shown that most of the parties involved have indeed implemented measures to counter racial profiling and systemic discrimination, and the Commission commends these efforts. Unfortunately, these initiatives have often been limited and sporadic. Moreover, they have largely been implemented in a way that lacks depth, consistency and formalization. Systemic problems call for systemic solutions. It is important to implement long-lasting measures to bring about the necessary changes,” declared Myrlande Pierre, Vice-President of the Commission, responsible for the Charter mandate.
Problems related to racial profiling and systemic discrimination persist in all three areas studied, particularly for youth and people from Black communities. In the public security sector, the feedback from the researchers and focus group participants who took part in this review is in line with the most recent research: the problem of targeted surveillance of racialized minorities persists. Many of the solutions these participants identified echo the Commission’s 2011 recommendations regarding review of police policies and practices – including street checks – supervision of police actions and accountability of police leaders.
Another example from this review is that that Black youth are still overrepresented in DYP reporting and evaluation. In the education sector, the initiatives taken to end stereotypes about the behaviour of racialized students and to eliminate the disproportionate use of discipline against these students have been insufficient.
The importance of participation
One of the objectives of the Commission’s consultation on racial profiling and systemic discrimination was to give a voice to the victims of these treatment. Victims’ testimony must be listened to and taken into account in any attempt to acknowledge and understand racial profiling and its manifestations. Indeed, listening was one of the themes that emerged among the focus groups that were held in this review. That said, meaningful participation by those most affected by an issue is key to any process to end their exclusion and stigma. As a priority, government action against systemic racism and systemic discrimination must provide appropriate participation mechanisms for racialized people. Racialized people must be involved and listened to at all stages, including the development, implementation and evaluation of this action.
A Summary of the Review is available in English : cdpdj.qc.ca/storage/app/media/publications/bilan-profilage-racial_synthese_EN.pdf
Full report (in French):
List of recommendations (in French): cdpdj.qc.ca/storage/app/media/publications/bilan-profilage-racial_recommandations.pdf
The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (Human Rights and Youth Commission) ensures the promotion and respect of the principles set out in the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. It also ensures that the interests of children are protected and that their rights recognized in the Youth Protection Act are respected and promoted. In addition, the Commission oversees compliance with the Act respecting Equal Access to Employment in Public Bodies.
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