FAQs TSRDCP

How the project will work...

Why is the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) conducting the Traffic Stop Race Data Collection Project?

What does the OPS hope to accomplish through this Project?

How can officers correctly identify the race of drivers by observation only?

What categories of race will be used for the project?

Does the collection of information on perceived race violate the Human Rights Code or privacy legislation?

Who will have access to the data?

Can I know what race I was recorded as?

Do I need to give permission to be part of the study? What if I don’t want to participate in this race data study?

Why does collection of race data only apply to the traffic stop?

Will officers face disciplinary action during this study as a result of the data collected?

What is the OPS policy on racial profiling?

 

Answers

How the project will work...

Starting June 27 th 2013, OPS officers will record their perception of driver race using the existing in-car computer system, as part of the regular process used for conducting traffic stops.

The categories of race have been developed with the Research Team in consultation with the OHRC and community partners and are consistent with current policing practices.  The recording of perception will be conducted in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code and applicable privacy legislation.

The collection process has been designed to have minimal impact on regular duties and will not be noticeable to drivers. Drivers will not be asked to self-identify their own race. 

The data will be made available to the OHRC at the conclusion of the two-year data collection period following the extraction and de-identification of the data. It will also be available publicly on ottawapolice.ca/race.  In consultation with the Research Team, the data will be limited to relevant information required for analysis and will have no personal identifiers attached of either the driver or the officer.

Why is the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) conducting the Traffic Stop Race Data Collection Project?

The Project is the result of a settlement agreement between the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) and the Ottawa Police Services Board (OPSB).  As per the agreement, officers will record their perception of driver race at traffic stops for a two-year period.

What does the OPS hope to accomplish through this Project?

In addition to continuing our ongoing work to ensure bias-free policing, the OPS is looking to continue to promote trust and confidence in the police by addressing community concerns about racial profiling.

Through this project, the OPS can continue its commitment to openness and accountability, while advancing the study of race-based data collection, and use the learnings and recommendations to strengthen service to the community.

How can officers correctly identify the race of drivers by observation only?

As perception and stereotyping are at the heart of racial profiling, the focus of the Project is of the perception of race that police officers have.  A person’s self identification of race is not relevant to this study. The purpose of the study is to determine the perception of the officer and if it contributes to officer conduct.

To learn more about racial profiling and the OPS’ policy on racial profiling, please visit the OPS Traffic Stop Data Collection Project website at ottawapolice.ca/race.  Moreover, please visit the OHRC’s website (www.ohrc.on.ca) to view the OHRC’s Policy and Guidelines on Racism and Racial discrimination and the OHRC’s inquiry report Paying the Price: The Human Cost of Racial profiling.

To learn more about the collection of human rights-based data, please visit the OHRC’s website to view its guide Collecting Human Rights-Based Data: Count Me In!

What categories of race will be used for the project?

The categories of race have been developed in consultation with communities and are consistent with current policing practices. The categories that will be used for the study are: Aboriginal Peoples; White; Black; East Asian, Southeast Asian; South Asian; Middle Eastern; and other racialized communities. For more information about the categories and how they were chosen, visit ottawapolice.ca/race.

Does the collection of information on perceived race violate the Human Rights Code or privacy legislation?

Collecting and analyzing human rights-based data will be conducted in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code and applicable privacy legislation.

Who will have access to the data?

It will be made available to the Ontario Human Rights Commission at the conclusion of the two-year data collection period. The data will be limited to relevant information required for analysis.

Can I know what race I was recorded as?

If asked, officers can provide an answer as to what observational data was recorded (race, reason for stop) during the traffic stop. 

Questions about the collection of personal information in connection with the project should be directed to ottawapolice.ca/race or 613-236-1222, Ext.5586.

Do I need to give permission to be part of the study? What if I don’t want to participate in this race data study?

Permission is not required as the focus of the Project is officer perception of the driver’s race in traffic stops.

Why does collection of race data only apply to the traffic stop?

The settlement agreement between the OHRC and the OPSB specifically states that the collection of the race-based data by officers will take place during all traffic (vehicle) stops.

Over 50,000 traffic stops are conducted each year. The research team, the OHRC and the OPS agree that this data will provide us with a suitable sampling for the purpose of the project. It will be the largest and longest study of its type ever conducted in Canada.

Will officers face disciplinary action during this study as a result of the data collected?

As per the settlement agreement, the race-based data collected will not be used for the purpose of discipline or performance evaluation of its officers.


What is the OPS policy on racial profiling?

The OPS firmly believes that everyone has the right to live and work in an environment that is free of police action based on racial bias or racial profiling. The OPS has been a leader in raising awareness around this issue and continues to work with the community and train its members.

In August of 2011, the OPS was the first police service in Canada to introduce a Racial Profiling Policy. The policy was created in consultation with both police and community groups to act as a guide in ensuring bias-free policing.

Contact Us