(Ottawa – March 23, 2016) The World Sikh Organization of Canada welcomes Ontario's ban on random stopping of citizens by police, a practice known as carding or street checks. Ontario Community Safety Minister Yasir Naqvi, making the announcement yesterday, noted that the changes will be effective January 1, 2017 and are designed to be the "first right-based framework surrounding police interactions in Ontario's history".
The new regulations ban the random and arbitrary collection of civilian information and also require officers provide justification as to why civilians are stopped. By regulating voluntary interactions with police, Canadians are protected from potential cases of discrimination based on their ethnicity and residential location.
WSO VP Ontario, Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria said, “Canada has an international reputation as a champion of human rights. Many young people in Ontario, including Sikhs had been negatively impacted by carding. This change by the government of Ontario aligns with Canada’s values and is another step towards safeguarding against people being judged by the colour of their skin.”
WSO President, Mukhbir Singh said, “We are happy to see these regulations that ban random and arbitrary collection of personal information from people, and which establish procedures for taking information when people voluntarily speak with officers. There should be zero tolerance for any form of racism or discrimination, particularly by bodies like police forces – these regulations further emphasize this. We would like to see more provinces establish similar regulations.”
The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of Canadian Sikhs, as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights of all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status.