Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality


Montréal, May 21, 2020 — Two Black community groups in Côte-des-Neiges and CRARR join City Councillor Marvin Rotrand (Ind.-Snowdon) in calling on the Montreal Police Service (SPVM) to collect and report on data based on race on all police stops and physical or social distancing.

Councillor Rotrand will introduce a Motion at the May 25 City Council meeting to ask the SPVM to collect race-based data for all stops of pedestrians and drivers, and on charges and arrests that may result from such stops as well as for all situations involving the use of weapons.

The Motion, which is seconded by Giuliana Fumagalli, Mayor of the Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc Extension Borough, also calls on City Council to mandate the Executive Committee to set up an advisory committee on racism, to be made up of police officials, experts and community members, to work on a new policy on race-based data collection.

In light of concerns and reports that draconian police fines for violating physical distancing rules may disproportionately affect men of color and residents of low-income areas, the Motion has taken on new dimensions under the present COVID-19 confinement situation.

“While we understand that COVID-19 has changed priorities in policing in Montreal, it does not relieve the SPVM of its commitment to adopt a policy to end discriminatory stops of pedestrians and drivers,” Councillor Rotrand said. “This non-partisan motion is a reminder that racial profiling still remains a major concern of City Council, and that we need action now more than ever, ” he added.

Last fall, Montreal’s City Council adopted a motion calling on the SPVM to adopt a policy to end discriminatory street checks and racial profiling. The policy was promised by March 2020. In addition, in December 2019, a coalition of groups joined Councillor Rotrand and other independent councillors to publicly press the SPVM to collect race-based data.

For CRARR Advisor Alain Babineau, “Race-based data is about accurately measuring the problem and solutions – who gets stopped, who gets fined, who gets arrested, who gets charged and who gets acquitted or convicted. We need data to better document racial profiling, its nature, its scope and its impact.”

“It is also about accountability, as the COVID-19 crisis is not a valid reason to shelve obligations to adopt a policy and concrete actions against racial profiling, especially due to concerns about disproportionate fines for violating physical distancing orders,” Babineau added.

“Race-based data, whether in policing or health care, seeks to achieve the same thing: better documentation, better evaluation, better planning and better services. This is the lesson of COVID-19, and this is what many of us are demanding both from the police and health authorities,” added Tiffany Callender, Executive Director of the Côte-des-Neiges Black Community Association (CDNBCA).

“We are disproportionately affected by racial profiling, social and economic inequalities, and coronavirus infection; we see it and live in on the ground. Data based on race and other factors will convincingly show how they affect our communities,” she noted.

The Jamaica Association of Montreal (JAM) also supports Councillor Rotrand’s Motion.

“The motion seeks to create a task force with the police, experts and the communities to work on data collection and reporting, and ensure active community input in the process. Our communities, especially the English-speaking Black communities, have not had, for years, any opportunity to participate actively in police planning, training, evaluation and oversight. We want to change that,” said Sharon Nelson, JAM’s First Vice President.