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Montréal, June 1st, 2020 — Last Tuesday, Montreal’s City Council decided to refer Councillor Marvin Rotrand’s motion regarding the collection of race-based data on all police stops to the Public Security Commission for further study.

In doing so, City Council has once again delayed the implementation of measures by the Montreal Police Service (SPVM) that could be used to document and reduce discriminatory police stops of Indigenous and racialized persons. In the absence of a precise timetable for the Commission’s work, it is impossible to predict the fate of this motion.

Introduced last Monday May 25th, Councillor Rotrand’s motion asks the SPVM to collect race-based data for all stops of pedestrians and drivers, and on charges that may result from such stops, as well as for all situations involving the use of weapons.

The motion, which was 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 the new policy on race-based data collection.

Last fall, Montreal’s City Council adopted a motion calling on the SPVM to end discriminatory street checks of Black, Arab, and Indigenous persons, a practice that has been confirmed by an SPVM study made public in October 2019. The SPVM promised to present a new policy by March 2020. To date, no such policy has been presented.

According to CRARR Advisor, Alain Babineau, “To date, we have received no indication from the Public Security Commission and the SPVM, as to a timeline regarding the study on colllecting race-based data, and for the presentation of the policy on police stops that had been promised.”

“For communities most affected by racial profiling, it is above all a question of trust, accountability, and the City respecting its own commitments. During this COVID-19 public health crisis, we saw how groups such as Indigenous persons and homeless youth, continue to be subjected to police interventions with disproportionate impact, despite the pledge to fight against social and racial profiling,” said Babineau, a retired RCMP officer.

“We ask the Chair of the Montreal Public Security Commission, to promptly inform Montrealers when and how the City will proceed against discriminatory police stops and racial profiling, and when race-based data collection will begin,” he concluded.

Last September, the City of Toronto adopted a detailed policy on the issue and set up a Community Advisory Working Group to help develop guidelines and procedures for the collection, analysis and reporting of race-based data.

Due to the inertia displayed by the SPVM in addressing this urgent matter, CRARR will set up a committee of experts and community members to see to the development and implementation by the City of Montreal of necessary measures to reduce and prevent discriminatory police interventions, including race-based data collection.