Blue Line

Addressing Racial Profiling Together

July 8, 2014  By Carol MacPherson

The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) has undertaken the largest race based data collection project in Canadian policing history under an agreement with the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

The Traffic Stop Race Data Collection Project requires police officers to record their perception of the driver’s race, by observation only, for all traffic stops over a two year period. Other information being collected for the study includes: location and reason for stop, driver information such as gender and age, outcome and whether race was perceived prior to the decision to stop the vehicle.

On track and progressing well across the city, officers have already recorded race based data for more than 60,000 traffic stops since last June. That number is expected to grow to more than 100,000 by the time the two year data collection study ends in 2015.

Race based data collection is a recognized tool to address concerns about racial profiling and is already making a positive impact in Ottawa.


“Through this project, the police service can continue its commitment to bias free policing and have meaningful dialogue about racial profiling concerns,” said OPS Insp. Pat Flanagan, who is responsible for the project. “It’s about building a project that will produce accurate, meaningful and measurable data and more importantly, have the confidence of our members and the communities we serve,” he said.

Ottawa police continue to work closely with the human rights commission and York Research Team to build this project with community and police input. The data will be made at the end of the project.

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