Judge who found little proof that carding works, set to discuss findings Friday

TORONTO – An Ontario judge who issued a report on the police practice of street checks, widely known as carding, is set to discuss his findings today.

Justice Michael Tulloch issued a report earlier this week saying carding has little to no value as a law enforcement tool and should be significantly limited in the province.

The report does allow that police may have legitimate grounds to conduct street checks in certain circumstances, but notes those are very specific and the practice as a whole should be sharply curtailed.

Tulloch is set to speak about his conclusions and recommendations in a news conference in Toronto at 11 a.m.

He was appointed by Ontario’s previous Liberal government to assess the effectiveness of new regulations meant to limit the impact of street checks on racialized groups.

Tulloch was asked to turn his attention to carding months after the previous government took steps to eliminate what it described as systemic racism in law enforcement.

Street checks began to come under intense scrutiny several years ago amid data showing officers were disproportionately stopping black and other racialized people.

The province introduced rules more than two years ago stating that police must inform people that they don’t have to provide identifying information during street checks, and that refusing to co-operate or walking away cannot then be used as reasons to compel information.

The change aimed to end arbitrary stops, especially those based on race. But critics have said the new rules don’t go far enough and have called for carding to be abolished altogether.

Race is prohibited as forming any part of a police officer’s reason for attempting to collect someone’s identifying information.

Police had long argued that street checks have value as an investigative tool, a notion Tulloch challenged in his report.

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