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December 9, 2011News Release

Racial Profiling: The Commission Wins a Legal Battle

​The Québec Court of Appeal sided with the Commission against the the Montreal police force (SPVM) in a racial profiling case. This decision will have important impacts on more than a dozen racial profiling investigations that have been stalled due to the police’s legal challenge.

MONTREAL,March 22, 2011 - The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de lajeunesse has won an important legal battle against the Montreal police force(SPVM) in a racial profiling case.

The Québec Court of Appeal sided with the Commissionwhich has long argued that the Human Rights Tribunal has jurisdiction to hearcases of racial profiling when the complainant had been found guilty of theoffence charged.

“The central question at issue […] is to determinewhether a practice or an intervention put in place by the appellant (SPVM) hasa discriminatory effect and infringes on the rights granted to certain groupsof persons by article 10 of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. There isno doubt that this question falls within the jurisdiction of the Human RightsTribunal,” said the Court of Appeal in a March 17, 2011 ruling.

The president of the Commission des droits de lapersonne et des droits de la jeunesse, Gaétan Cousineau, hailed the decisionwhich will have important impacts on more than a dozen racial profilinginvestigations that have been stalled due to the police’s legal challenge.

“The fact that a complainant has been found guilty ofan offence does not lessen the discriminatory nature of a police action basedon racial profiling,” said Mr. Cousineau.

The Commission deplores the lengthy delays imposed oncomplainants due to the many legal actions which prevented the Human RightsTribunal from ruling on the merits of racial profiling cases involving the Montreal police.

As a result of the court’s ruling, the Commission willbring back this 2003 case before the Tribunal. It involves a Black complainantwho was a minor at the time. Montrealpolice gave him a ticket for breaching the municipal bylaw on cleanliness andprotection of the public and urban areas because he was sitting on a low fencenear his home, a housing project in the Saint-Michel neighbourhood.

According to the Commission’s investigation, thepolice behaved in a discriminatory and contemptuous manner toward the youth andlinked his friends to “street gangs”.


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