Collection, Analysis and Reporting of Race-Based Data Policy

Background about the Anti-Racism Act, 2017

  1. Racism is a persistent reality in Ontario and occurs in many forms. Systemic racism occurs when institutions help create or maintain racial inequality. This form of racism may be unintentional and can occur when policies, procedures or practices appear neutral on their face, but privilege or disadvantage people based on race.

  2. The Anti-Racism Act, 2017 (the “Act”) recognizes that systemic racism exists in Ontario. The Act requires public sector organizations to collect, analyze and report race-based data with the goal of identifying and eliminating systemic racism and racial disparity in access to services and outcomes. The legislation takes a whole-of-government approach and applies to organizations across the education, child welfare and justice sectors.

  3. O. Reg. 267/18 (the “Regulation”) authorizes the Unit to collect personal information from complainants and subject officers regarding their Indigenous identity, ethnic origin, race and religion. The Regulation also requires the Unit to comply with the Data Standards for the Identification and Monitoring of Systemic Racism (the “Data Standards”).

  4. The objective of this policy is to ensure the Unit’s compliance with the Act, the Regulation and the Data Standards.

Objectives Under the Act

  1. The purpose of collecting personal information under the Act, the Regulation and the Data Standards is to eliminate systemic racism and advance racial equity.

  2. The Unit’s objectives under the Act are to:

    • Identify and monitor potential racial disparity in access to the Unit’s services and outcomes,
    • Increase transparency and accountability through public reporting,
    • Help identify and remove barriers within the Unit, and
    • Publish de-identified data for the purpose of informing the evaluation, management and improvement of policing in Ontario.

  3. Eliminating racial disparity first requires acknowledging and tracking its existence. By gathering this information, the Unit will gain valuable insight into the identity of complainants and subject officers which can be used to take remedial action if racial disparity is identified. Public reporting of the analysis and data keeps the Unit’s functions transparent, helps build public trust through accountability and provides police services a valuable resource to use when assessing their own policies and practices.

Responsibility for Implementation

  1. The Unit shall have a Data Collection Committee (the “Committee”) which is responsible for the overall implementation of the Act, the Regulation and the Data Standards.

  2. The Affected Persons Program (“APP”) shall be responsible for requesting personal information about deceased complainants. Lead investigators are responsible for requesting personal information about subject officers and all other complainants involved in their investigations. The lead investigator must either personally request this information or ensure another person (i.e. an investigator, investigative manager or APP staff) has done so.

  3. The APP is responsible for data management. The APP shall receive all personal information collected and ensure it is stored securely and in a manner that preserves its accuracy.

Public Outreach and Consultation

  1. The Unit shall have ongoing consultation with representatives of affected communities including community groups, academics and legal advocacy groups. The Unit should also consult with policing groups, especially those representing the interests of racialized police officers.

  2. The primary method of consultation shall be the Director’s Resource Committee (“DRC”). The proper implementation of the Act should be discussed at every DRC meeting and members of the DRC shall be invited to make submissions respecting the Unit’s objectives under the Act and the manner of collection, analysis and reporting.

  3. Public communication about data collection under the Act shall occur through the Unit’s website. The website shall include information about the purpose and manner of data collection, and the contact information of a Unit member who can answer additional questions about the Act.

Collecting Personal Information Under the Act

  1. The Regulation authorizes the Unit to collect information about the Indigenous identity, ethnic origin, race and religion of complainants and subject officers. The Unit will also collect information about age and gender identity to ensure that a meaningful intersectional analysis of the data can be conducted.

  2. The Unit is only required to attempt to collect personal information and individuals may decline to participate. Unit members must keep a record of attempts to collect personal information and never pressure an individual to provide information. All participation must be premised on voluntary and express consent.

  3. Personal information must be collected directly from the complainant or subject officer unless:

    1. Another person is legally authorized to act on the complainant or subject officer’s behalf (i.e. a parent, legal guardian or power of attorney). In these circumstances, the Unit member must verify the legal relationship with the complainant or subject officer and, if disputed, require documentary proof.
    2. The complainant or subject officer authorizes another person to provide their information. In this case, the complainant or subject officer shall fill out the Authorization for Indirect Collection Form.
    3. The complainant or subject officer is deceased. In this case, the Unit member is permitted to collect personal information from the deceased’s next-of-kin if there is no apparent estate trustee.

  4. Respecting dignity and personal autonomy during data collection is paramount. Unit members shall not challenge how a complainant or subject officer self-identifies.

    Personal Information about Deceased Complainants

  5. The APP shall be responsible for contacting the appropriate individual to collect personal information about a deceased complainant. Timing and manner of collection shall be in the discretion of the APP.

    Personal Information about All Other Complainants

  6. The timing and manner of collection of personal information from complainants should be flexible and sensitive to the complainant’s circumstances and abilities.

  7. The Data Standards requires personal information to be collected at the earliest appropriate time. In most cases, the investigator should collect personal information immediately after the complainant provides his or her statement. However, it may be appropriate to delay collection where a complainant is in emotional distress, physical pain or exhibiting behaviour that causes concern over the complainant’s capacity to consent. The lead investigator has discretion to delay collection for any reason provided he or she acts in good faith.

  8. The investigator shall read the complainant the following notice if they determine that collection is appropriate:

    The SIU is authorized to collect information about your Indigenous identity, ethnic origin, race and religion under the Anti-Racism Act. This information will be used to identify and monitor systemic racial disparities within the public sector. You are not required to provide this information and may decline. Are you interested in participating in this process?

    The notice and the complainant’s initial answer should be captured on the audio or video recording of the complainant’s interview. Afterwards, the recording shall be immediately turned off.

  9. If the complainant agrees to participate, the investigator shall provide them with the Anti-Racism Act Survey attached as Appendix A. The complainant should be given privacy to fill out the survey independently and place it in a sealed envelope before providing the envelope to the investigator. However:

    • If the complainant does not want to fill out the survey immediately, the survey may be left with them with a postage paid envelope addressed to the APP, or
    • If the complainant requires assistance reading or filling out the survey, the investigator may assist the complainant in filling out the survey.

  10. The investigator must take steps to minimize the intrusion on the complainant’s privacy while collecting their personal information. Results from the survey must never be recorded in the investigator’s notes and the survey must never be photocopied or scanned. If the survey is provided to the investigator in a sealed envelope, the investigator must not open the envelope.

  11. The investigator shall provide original, completed surveys to the APP in person, by mail or by courier.

  12. Information about attempts to collect personal information (and not the personal information itself) shall be recorded in the investigator’s notes. This information shall also be conveyed to the APP through email or over the phone in a timely manner, so the APP can track responses and determine whether follow-up is necessary.

    Personal Information about Subject Officers

  13. If a police officer is designated a subject officer using a letter, the letter should be provided along with the survey attached as Appendix B to this policy. If the police officer is designated by way of a designation snap set, a hard copy of the survey should be provided to the subject officer or the police service’s liaison officer to be provided to the subject officer. Investigators who provide a hard copy survey shall send a follow up email to the APP confirming the survey has been provided.

  14. When a subject officer is re-designated as a witness officer, the lead investigator must notify the APP who will destroy any personal information collected from the officer. The APP must keep a record indicating the date the personal information was destroyed and reason for destruction.

Training of SIU Members

  1. Investigators and APP members shall receive training on how to collect data in compliance with the Act, the Regulation and Data Standards. This training shall also address the causes of the deep mistrust that Indigenous people and communities have in government systems and data collection efforts.

  2. Any other Unit members with direct contact with public should be familiar with this policy and able to answer basic questions about the Unit’s data collection under the Act, including the purpose of collection, how the information will used, when it can and cannot be disclosed and how privacy will be protected.

Information Management and Security

  1. Access to personal information obtained under this Act shall be limited to access on a “need to know” basis. That means that only employees or agents of the Unit who require the personal information for a purpose consistent with the Act may access personal information. The personal information shall not be accessed or used for any other purpose.

  2. Hard copies of surveys shall be maintained in a secure storage facility that is accessible only to the APP. The APP shall also aggregate data from surveys into a secure electronic database.

  3. Information collected under the Act will be retained for at least five years after it was last used for analysis. When this period elapses, SIU legal counsel shall consider whether it should be destroyed in accordance with the Data Standards.

  4. Potential security breaches involving data collected under the Act shall immediately be reported to SIU legal counsel, who shall respond to the potential breach in accordance with the Anti-Racism Act’s Privacy Breach Management and Response Protocol.

Accessing and Updating Information and Withdrawing Consent

  1. Individuals who provide the Unit with personal information under the Act, its Regulations and the Data Standards may want to access or change their information or withdraw their consent to its use. These requests are to be referred to the APP, who shall process the requests with consultation of SIU legal counsel.

  2. Individuals may withdraw their consent to the use of their information both verbally and in writing. If an individual withdraws their consent verbally, the Unit member should immediately notify the APP of the withdrawal. All other requests must be submitted to the APP in writing.

Analysis and Reporting

  1. The Committee shall be responsible for ensuring that analysis and reporting is done on a regular basis and may employ someone with expertise in race-based data analysis for this purpose. If a third party is retained to perform the analysis, the third party shall be required to understand and comply with the Anti-Racism Act, its Regulation and the Data Standards.

  2. The analysis and de-identified data shall be posted on the Unit’s website after consultation with affected communities and SIU legal counsel. Counsel shall ensure that publication of the analysis and data complies with Ontario’s Open Data Directive and all other privacy laws.

Remedial Actions Based on Racial Disparities

  1. If racial disparity is identified, the Committee, in consultation with affected groups, shall identify and implement remedial measures to reduce the disparity and/or eliminate systemic barriers.

  2. Remedial actions may include, but are not limited to, policy review and development, increased training, targeted public outreach and increasing representation on the DRC.

Electronically approved by
Joseph Martino