Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality


Montreal, October 25, 2019 — CRARR fully endorses City Councillor Marvin Rotrand’s motion calling on the City of Montreal and the Quebec Government to enact measures to ban discriminatory street checks and racial profiling in the province’s metropolis.

Joining other community groups serving racialized and Indigenous peoples at a press conference held today by Councillor Rotrand (Ind.-Snowdon) to announce his motion to end arbitrary street checks in the territory and agglomeration of Montreal, CRARR stressed the urgent need for actions to curtail, sanction and end these racially biased police practices.

A research report released by the Montreal Police Department (SPVM) two weeks ago shows that street checks rose by 143% between 2014 and 2017, and that Indigenous people, Blacks and Arabs (especially those between 15 and 24) are stopped 4 or 5 times more often than whites. These individuals are often asked to provide ID information without any justification. This personal data is then entered and kept into a police database for undisclosed use.

The study confirmed what many in different neighborhoods of Montreal have known for years: that Walking While Black, like Driving While Black, in particular is a rampant police practice in the city. The findings render charges of systemic racism in the SPVM irrefutable.

“Montreal, we have a problem,” said CRARR Advisor Alain Babineau. “The problem is systemic racism in policing.”

“The research findings are similar to those which were revealed a few years ago in Toronto, Ottawa and Kingston, and more recently in Halifax, where street checks and carding by the police had become a routine practice. Street checks target racialized and Indigenous people, which violate their constitutional rights and expose them to abusive criminalization and financial hardship,” Babineau noted.

“We must take all means proper and necessary to end racial disparities in street checks and traffic stops as soon as possible. We call on Mayor Valérie Plante to act now, and on Premier François Legault to follow the lead of Ontario in 2017 and Nova Scotia, which a few days ago has announced steps to legislate against these discriminatory practices,” Babineau added.

“Let us be clear: we are not against street checks per se. We are against street checks that discriminate on the basis of race. Now is the time for Montreal and Quebec to commit to the goals of the UN Decade for People of African Descent, which Canada signed on in 2018,” Babineau concluded.

CRARR also calls on the City of Montreal to end all practices against incivilities, which it has consistently denounced since 2003 when it filed major civil rights complaints on behalf of Black and Arab public housing residents in Saint-Michel. Inspired by then-New York City Mayor Giuliani’s policy, anti-incivilities measures were adopted by the SPVM, the Montreal Transit Authority and the Montreal Public Housing Authority, without public discussion, as a pretext to justify racial profiling. These measures are still applied to this day to a certain degree.