What is Carding?

October 6, 2019


New legislation will regulate controversial police carding practices.
New legislation will regulate controversial police carding practices.


  • Carding, also known as police checks, is the police practice of arbitrarily and randomly stopping an individual and requesting that they identify themselves, often leading to further questioning.
  • This practice had become more common in the last ten years due to police initiatives such as TAVIS, which have resulted in an increased police presence in neighbourhoods experiencing higher crime rates for their size.

 Why has carding been criticized?

  • This practice has been widely criticized as racist and a violation of human rights.
  • Carding checks have also been criticized for increasing tension between the police and Toronto residents.
  • Members of the communities most affected by carding have voiced that they feel targeted and harassed by carding practices, siting that the Human Rights Code has been essential ignored during police carding checks.

 How have carding regulations changed recently?

  •  Provincial legislation has beebn recently amended to reflect these concerns in an effort to regulate the practice of carding.
  • New legislation regarding carding was introduced March 2016 and will be passed January 2017.
  • This legislation outlines what rights citizens have during police carding stops.
  • As of January 2017, the new regulations ban police from randomly and arbitrarily stopping people to collect personal information.
  • This legislation is intended by the Provincial Government to introduce “clear and consistent rules” for the police to abide by during voluntary interactions with the public.
  • Race is prohibited from being any part of the police reasoning for carding an individual.
  • The police will be required to let individuals know that they have a right not to talk with them, and that refusing to comply and leaving, cannot then be used as reasons to compel information from the individual in question.
  • Police will be required to provide a written record of any interactions with individuals in the public.
  • Police officers will be required to include their name and badge number, and offer instruction on how to contact the Independent Police Review Director.
  • All information collected by police visa vie police checks will have to be submitted into the police data base within 30 days for review by the local chief of police.
  • Police chiefs will be required to annually conduct a review of a random sample of entries in their database to verify it was collected in compliance with the new regulations.
  • Police Chiefs must produce a yearly public report on the number of attempted collections of personal information, the sex, age and race of the individuals stopped, and the neighbourhoods where the information was collected.
  • It is anticipated that experts will be made to advise the Ontario Police College on how to best introduce new training of police officers on racism, bias awareness and discrimination.
  • All police officers are promised to be trained by the time this legislation passes, January 2017.
  • The police will still be allowed to gather personal information during routine traffic stops, when an individual is being arrested or detained, or when a search warrant is executed.
  • This legislation reflects a change in the provincial government’s attitude regarding police practices, as this legislation and other recently amended policies, favour preventative community strategies to reduce crime, over carding and other hard-line approaches.
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