The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is cracking down on racism in the police force starting this fall. The civilian oversight agency will now be collecting data on the race of those injured or killed by police. The SIU race-based data aims to "advance the fair treatment of everyone."
SIU spokesperson Monica Hudon informed Narcity about the changes, which are set to take effect on October 1, 2020.
Currently, the police watchdog only collects data based on gender and age of the complainants, Hudon wrote in an email.
However, in a move to better understand the links between race and police brutality, the SIU will "gather info on the race, ethnicity, religion and Indigenous identity of complainants and subject officers in the investigations."
This is a policy that the Ontario government approved back in April under the Anti-Racism Act, Hudon wrote.
The info will also be made available to the public through the SIU.
"Collecting race-based data will help identify and monitor racial disparity in access to the SIU’s services and outcomes, identify potential barriers within our agency and increase transparency through public reporting."
JUNE 10: SIU provides further updates with regards to the Unit's investigation into the circumstances surrounding t… https://t.co/7xVmw4fEty— SIU (@SIU)1591818571.0
This move comes after the Ontario Human Right Commission's (OHRC) 2018 Collective Impact Report on racial profiling found that in Toronto, a Black person was 20 times more likely than a White person to be shot and killed by the police.
The report also found that Black people are "nearly four times more likely than a White person to be involved in a TPS use of force incident that resulted in serious injury or death."
Now, the SIU is acknowledging the issue by recording and studying patterns that link race to their investigations.
"By identifying and monitoring systemic racial disparities, public sector organizations will be better able to close gaps, eliminate barriers, and advance the fair treatment of everyone," Hudon said.
The SIU is currently investigating several cases in Ontario, including the one of Regis Korchinski-Paquet who died during a police call this year.
The agency is still determining how to collect race-based data in a respectful way while maintaining the confidentiality of the case.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has admitted that systemic racism plagues "all our police forces."