Analysis of Special Investigations Unit Race-Based Data
IntroductionThe opinions expressed in this report are those of the authors alone and have been derived at arm's length from the SIU.
The SIU conducted data collection, in accordance with the privacy standards stipulated in The Ontario Anti-Racism Act  (hencefoth, the Act), and provided de-identified, aggregated data to the research team. The SIU also commented on previous drafts clarifying the data collection methodology and ensuring accuracy of descriptions. The data provided are used to conduct the required analyses under Order in Council 897/2018, and findings, opinions and recommendations have been derived without input from the SIU.
Understanding Race-Based Data at the Special Investigations Unit (SIU)
The SIU's mandate is typically invoked through notification by police services or members of the public, although there are some other means through which an investigation may be instigated. This limits, to some degree, inferences that can be drawn about the relationship between Race and investigations by the SIU. The report will expand on this throughout.
In compliance with the Act, the SIU gathered RBD on Affected Persons and Subject Officials. These data were collected for cases between October 1st, 2020 and September 30th, 2021, and were provided to the authors on June 9th, 2022.
This report summarizes analyses that meet and exceed the requirements of the Act.
The authors address shortcomings of these data and make recommendations for how to improve data collection.
Self-report surveys do not necessarily reflect investigator/ organizational perception of race.
Disproportionality does not imply systemic discrimination.
There needs to be a better understanding of why people participated (or did not participate) in this survey.
- 398 surveys were distributed to Complainants/Affected Persons and 460 to Subject Officials for investigations commenced between October 1st, 2020 and September 30th, 2021.
- Of those, 98 were returned by Affected Persons (response rate 25%) and nine by Subject Officials (response rate 2%). In death cases, the next-of-kin was provided with a survey to complete on behalf of the Affected Person.
The associated response rate affects both the quantity and quality of data collected. This report recommends augmenting the self-report survey with investigator produced reports of perceived Race to achieve a more robust dataset.
Separate RBD analyses were conducted for both the Affected Persons and Subject Official categories.
Executive Summary - Affected PersonsAn Affected Person is someone who died or was seriously injured during an incident involving an official, at whom a firearm was discharged by an official, or who alleged sexual assault by an official. For the purpose of data collection, in death cases, the next-of-kin was provided with a survey on behalf of the Affected Person. The data demonstrate (as compared to the proportional representation in the Ontario population):
- Black and Indigenous people are represented more frequently.
- People who identify as Black or a racial identity encompassing Black and another racial category are represented nearly 3.5 times more frequently.
- People who identify as Indigenous are nearly 6.25 times more frequently represented.
- People who identify as Latino, Middle Eastern, and Other are represented slightly more frequently.
- People who identify as East or Southeast Asian, South Asian and White are either less frequently or significantly less frequently represented.
- People who self-identified as Indigenous Spirituality were nearly 77 times more frequently represented.
- People who identified as Jewish were twice as frequently represented.
- People who identified as Other religious affiliation are four times as frequently represented.
- People who identified as non-religious were effectively evenly represented.
- People who identified as Muslim and Sikh were less frequently represented.
The SIU collected self-report information on gender. The data demonstrate (as compared to the proportional representation in the Ontario population):
- People who identified as Men were 1.65 times more frequently represented.
- People who identified as Women were nearly three times less frequently represented.
- No respondent identified as Other in these data.
Executive Summary - Subject OfficialsA Subject Official is, in respect of an incident referred to in Section 15 (1) of the SIU Act, an official whose conduct appears, in the opinion of the SIU Director, to have been a cause of the incident under investigation. In addition to municipal and provincial police officers in Ontario, the SIU mandate includes the investigation of the conduct of special constables with the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers of the Legislative Protective Services. Collectively, these persons are known as "officials" under the SIU Act.
Using Statistics Canada data, this report assumes that Ontario police services are more diverse (~ 15% visible minority representation) than the national average (8% visible minority representation).
- Too few Subject Officials participated in the survey.
- Of the nine respondents, eight self-identified as White and one self identified as Black.
- No reasonable inference about Racial bias toward subject officials exhibited by the SIU could be drawn from either the data themselves or the relationship to the reference group.
Caution should be exercised in reviewing the statistical details in this report. The SIU has extremely limited discretion on what cases it investigates. Inclusion in the dataset should lead to conclusions about policing in general, rather than conclusions about the SIU.
Policing is virtually defined by individual officers' ability to exercise discretion when dealing with the public.
This also complicates the findings from these data, and the report articulates that the data cannot be used to draw strong inference about the prevalence of systemic racism at the SIU. The data are profoundly voluntary, and disproportionality is as likely to demonstrate a willingness to participate in the research as it is to demonstrate any systemic bias or lack thereof at the SIU.
This limits the conclusions that can be drawn about how Race factors into SIU investigations when the method for gathering information about Race is self identification. Data collection shows how individuals identify, not how they are perceived by investigators.
If, for example, an individual identifies as Indigenous but investigators do not perceive Indigeneity, the dynamic between Race and outcome of investigation is obscured. Any data collection technique will present complications, although given the purpose of the Act, the data analysis team proposes that it is preferable to collect data based on investigator perceptions of Race rather than individual's self-report. This is not a solution without its own complications - investigators would need to understand the
purpose of this exercise and recognize the necessity for accurate reporting - but it will almost certainly result in more relevant data for identifying systemic discrimination (see recommendation 2).
LimitationsIf Racial discrimination were occurring at the SIU, it would most likely be evident at the decision stage rather than the investigative stage. For example, if it were the case that the SIU was settling a disproportionate number of cases involving some group by Memo (i.e. prior to full investigation) it may indicate bias. It would then be incumbent upon the SIU and researchers to better understand the relationship between Race and outcome.
However, the data in this report are insufficient to see any such trends. A longitudinal analysis would be required to draw out such phenomena.
This brings us to the serious limitations of this report, and suggestions for strategies to overcome those limitations. Some of these limitations should be very easy to overcome, others likely will require intervention by the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Solicitor General, as well as Ontario police services.
- Quantity of Data - insufficient Subject Official data to draw any conclusions, insufficient Affected Persons data to draw statistical inference on outcomes.
- Quality of Data - self-report surveys are not an ideal instrument for assessing Racial bias in public service organizations of this type.
- Lack of Reference Populations - there is simply too little known about the demographic composition of Ontario police services to form an adequate disparity index.
- Not enough Information to Draw Statistical Inference - longitudinal studies of outcomes will be more likely to provide insights.
- Lack of Nuanced Understanding - need to better understand how Race impacts SIU investigations, rather than how frequently Racialized people are subjects to investigations.
1. Improve the quantity of data by augmenting data collection methodology.Survey response rates, particularly among Subject Officials, are simply too low to be able to draw any significant observations about systemic racism at the SIU. There is little reason to suspect that response rates will improve organically. Augmenting the current data collection methodology with alternate data collection will solve this problem.
Looking to the recently released report by the Toronto Police Service in fulfilment of their Act mandate is instructive. Researchers working with TPS used provincially mandated use-of-force and strip-search data that included information on the Race of subjects to these police procedures. This resulted in a large dataset from which reasonable statistical inference about systemic racism at TPS could be derived.
This report recommends that the SIU undertakes similar data collection practices, mandating investigators to standardly report perceived Race of Affected Persons and Subject Officials as a routine reporting mechanism .
This should be done independently, and in advance of, the self-report data collection methodology, and should be used to augment the self-report methodology. By taking this step, the SIU will be in a position to provide more data for analysis, and data that are more relevant to assessing systemic bias (see recommendation 2).
There are benefits and drawbacks to this approach that will be discussed in the next recommendation, but the sparsity of data from Subject Officials does indicate a need for an alternative data collection methodology.
2. Improve the quality of data at the same time as improving the quantity by collecting investigator perception of race.
The objective of the Act is to eliminate systemic racism and advance Racial equality. A more thorough understanding of if and how Race factors into SIU interactions with Affected Persons and Subject Officials is required in order to meet these ends. One major complication with current data collection practices is self-report surveys do not necessarily reflect Race as perceived by SIU investigators. How someone identifies may be distinct from how they are perceived by others.
We again look to the example set by TPS and other Ontario police services to collect RBD in a manner that reflects the actions of the organization rather than the expressions of individuals who interact with the organization. By mandating SIU investigators collect RBD in a systematic manner, the gap in data and knowledge can be filled and systemic racism's presence and effect at the SIU can be determined.
Recommendation one states that using investigator reports of Race will improve the quantity of data. We also argue here that recording investigator perception of race improves the quality of data. Understanding perceived Race gives better understanding of how members of the SIU react to the Race of Affected Persons and Subject Officials.
Accuracy and fairness of reporting are at stake if SIU investigators report Race independently of Affected Persons or Subject Officials self-identifications. However, this would be preferable to the current situation, where too little data exists to draw statistical inference about systemic racism, particularly among Racialized police officers in the province of Ontario.
3. Address lack of reference population by standardizing the collection and reporting of police service demographics in Ontario.The Racial disparity index relies on known proportions of the population who identify as the Racial categories proscribed in the Act. Knowing if a Racialized group is experiencing disproportionate outcomes relative to representation in the population is a key factor in understanding the prevalence and impact of systemic racism.
Police services in Ontario do not collect and report service demographic information in a standardized manner. This is a huge roadblock to understanding disproportionate outcomes for Racialized police officers who are subjects of SIU investigations.
This report recommends that the SIU consult with the Solicitor General and/or Ministry of the Attorney General to produce accurate, standardized reporting of police demographics. This would also comply with, if not be required by, the Act, since discrimination in hiring is a contributing source to Racial disparity outcomes in policing.
4. Address the information gap with year-over-year reporting of Race-Based Statistics at the Special Investigations Unit.The SIU's mandate is invoked approximately 300 to 400-times in any year. While this is not an insignificant number of incidents, no single year of reporting is likely to demonstrate the prevalence of Racially disparate outcomes.
This report suggests that statistical methodologies be developed to track the inequality index both in-year and year-over-year to see how trends on Racially disparate outcomes evolve through the data. The data analysis team is committed to this RBD analysis through to 2024, at which point more funding will be required to continue these activities. The data analysis team will work to systematize the standardized statistical reporting procedures required in the Act so the function can be performed by the SIU or another party should future funding for the project not be secured.
However, the capacity to draw theoretically-informed inference from these statistical reporting mechanisms is almost certainly limited to academic practitioners in law, criminology, sociology, and cognate disciplines.
The data analysis team's ambition is to secure long-term funding to continue analyses for the SIU, as well as developing comparative analyses with other civilian police oversight services.
5. Addressing the Understanding Gap through expanded interview based research to analyze how Race is perceived to be a factor in SIU investigations.As we have noted, the SIU is an on-demand service. SIU investigators have very limited discretion to select cases. As a result, nearly all of the statistical observations articulated above are indicative of factors outside of the SIU's control, such as when their mandate is invoked in response to police activity.
This heightens the requirement of the SIU to understand how Race factors into the investigative process, rather than how frequently Racialized people are parties to investigation.
The research team will provide recommendations to the SIU for how to undertake these activities including a recommendation to conduct qualitative interviews with both Affected Persons and Subject Officials who have been parties to SIU investigations. It is important to note the complexities for qualitative data collection and analyses in the context of the SIU. Interview participants would be asked to reflect on challenging and, in some cases, traumatic experiences. They would be asked to share sensitive information, including their perception of how Race impacted the outcomes of investigations to which they were parties. Conducting interviews on Race-based data requires considerable experience, sensitivity, and expertise.
Interviews would assist in better understanding what the consequences of disproportionality means at the SIU.
Some data manipulation was required to gain alignment between StatsCan categories of visible minorities with those mandated in the Act. The Census Profile uses a variety of Ethnic/National categories, such as "Chinese", "Japanese", "Filipino", etc. and these were coded according to the formalized categories provided for in the Act. This produces a relatively robust reference population from which to produce the Racial disparity index.
Subject Official reference populations were derived from StatsCan Police Resources in Canada, 2019 report. The report states that, across Canada, 4% of police officers identify as Indigenous, 8% of officers identify as visible minorities. However, Toronto Police Service and York Regional Police are both cited in this report as having higher visible minority representation (22%, 19% respectively).
1.0 Aggregated Demographics of Affected Persons RespondentsThe following aggregated data were drawn from the spreadsheet provided by the SIU:
2.0 DisproportionalityThe Racial disparity index was prepared for the Affected Persons population. The table articulates relative Racial disparity by group:
|Black||E/SE Asian||Indigenous||Latino||Middle Eastern||South Asian||White||Other|
The bolded figures represent disproportionality relative to Ontario population. All other figures represent disproportionality relative to cross-referenced group.
- People identifying as Black are nearly 3.5 times more frequently represented in this dataset to proportion of people identifying as Black in the Ontario population.
- People identifying as White are underrepresented in this data 1.14 times less frequently in proportion of people identifying as White in the Ontario population.
- People who identify as Black are nearly four times more frequently represented in this data than people who identify as White.
- People who identify as Black or Indigenous are markedly more frequently represented in data collected about Affected Persons relative to the Ontario population of people who identify as Black or Indigenous.
- People who identify as Latino, Middle Eastern, or Other Race are moderately overrepresented.
- People who identify as White are moderately underrepresented.
- People who identify as East or Southeast Asian and South Asian are markedly underrepresented in these data.
These data indicate (relative to proportion of the Ontario population):
- Individuals who identify as Jewish, Indigenous Spirituality, and Other religious affiliation are more frequently or extremely more frequently represented.
- All other religious affiliations, including people who identify as no religious affiliation, are represented as nearly proportionate or underrepresented.
These data indicate (relative to proportion of the Ontario population):
- People who identify as Man are moderately overrepresented.
- People who identify as Woman are significantly underrepresented.
- No individuals identified as other than Man or Woman in the dataset.
3.0 IntersectionalityThe report conducts intersectional analyses on Black and Indigenous identifying individuals, as well as White individuals as the majority Race identified in the survey data due to the disproportionality in representation relative to the Ontario population.
Intersectional analyses centered on Race, Gender, Age, Investigation Type and Outcome. These data indicate (relative to proportion of the Ontario population):
- Indigenous men under 37.5 years of age comprised the most overrepresented respondents.
- Younger Indigenous men are approx.18-times more frequently represented in this dataset.
- Older Indigenous men and younger Black men also responded to the survey 15- times and 13-times more frequently.
< 37 .5
|Black Man < 37.5||13.0769||5.613367102||0.737179451||0.897436073||4.921308144||9.755240582|
|Black Man >37.5||0.178146197||2.3296||0.131325716||0.159874823||0.876712329||1.737859008|
|Indigenous Man <37.5||1.356521806||7.614654876||17.7391||1.217391603||6.675861809||13.23319657|
|Indigenous Man >37.5||1.114285496||.254893544||0.82142837||14.5714||5.483742285||10.87012309|
|White Man <37.5||0.203198006||1.140625||0.149793394||0.18235722||2.6572||1.982245431|
|White Man >37 .5||0.102509004||0.575420673||0.075567532||0.091995278||0.504478398||1.3405|
These data indicate (relative to proportion of the Ontario population):
- Black women both under and over the age of 37.5 and younger Indigenous women respond to the survey nearly or over twice as frequently.
- Indigenous women older than 37.5 were not represented in these data at all. Only one younger Indigenous woman responded to the survey.
- White women both over and under the age of 37.5 were represented in these data at a fraction of the proportion of the population.
< 37 .5
|Black Woman < 37.5||2.372||1.220855422||1.162745098||0||5.456636761||5.964294694|
|Black Woman >37.5||0.819097808||1.9429||0.952401961||0||4.469519209||4.885340709|
|Indigenous Woman <37.5||0.860033727||1.049976839||2.04||0||4.692891649||5.129494594|
|Indigenous Woman >37.5||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|White Woman <37.5||0.183263069||0.22373771||0.213088235||0||0.4347||1.093034951|
|White Woman >37 .5||0.167664418||.204694014||0.19495098||0||.914883828||0.3977|
- The disproportionality of participation by Black and Indigenous people may show the higher risk of these individuals being subjects to interactions with officials, or
- These individuals are more willing to participate in the data collection exercise.
4.0 Investigation TypesThe SIU's mandate is invoked in any incident where officials are involved resulting in serious injury or death, where an allegation of sexual assault has been made against an official, or where a firearm is discharged by an official at a person. The SIU gathered data on investigation type to which survey respondents were parties.
|Custody Death||18 (18%)||Custody Injury||44 (45%)|
|Firearm Death||5 (5%)||Firearm Injury||3 (3%)|
|Firearm Discharged at a Person||5 (5%)||Other Death||3 (3%)|
|Sexual Assault Alleg.||9 (9%)||Other Injury||0(0%)|
|Vehicle Injury||10 (10%)||Vehicle Death||1 (1%)|
|Custody Death||2 (22%)||Custody Injury||3 (33%)|
|Firearm Death||0 (0%)||Firearm Injury||1 (11%)|
|Firearm Discharged at a Person||1 (11%)||Other Death||0 (0%)|
|Sexual Assault Alleg.||0 (0%)||Other Injury||0(0%)|
|Vehicle Injury||2 (22%)||Vehicle Death||0 (0%)|
In both the Affected Persons and Subject Officials datasets:
- Custody Death and Injury, Firearm Death, Injury and Discharge at a Person, and Other Death comprise the majority of survey responses.
- 80% of Affected Persons and 77% of Subject Official surveys fall into these categories.
In fiscal year 2020-2021, the SIU investigated a total of 390 cases as follows:
|Custody Death||34 (9%)||Custody Injury||201 (52%)|
|Firearm Death||12 (3%)||Firearm Injury||12 (3%)|
|Firearm Discharged at a Person||7 (2%)||Other Death||3 (<1%)|
|Sexual Assault Alleg.||63 (16%)||Other Injury||1(<1%)|
|Vehicle Injury||49 (13%)||Vehicle Death||8 (2%)|
Comparative analysis of survey responses by investigation type against SIU total recorded investigation types can provide insight on the types of cases that are more likely to invoke a survey response.
|Survey Response Affected Person Case Types vs. Total SIU Investigation Types|
|Custody Death||18 (18%)||34 (9%)||+100%||CD|
|Custody Injury||44 (45%)||201 (52%)||-13.5%||CI|
|Firearm Death||5(5%)||12 (3%)||+66.7%||FD|
|Firearm Injury||3(3%)||12 (3%)||0%||FI|
|Firearm Discharge at a Person||5(5%)||7 (2%)||+150%||FP|
|Other Death||3(3%)||3 (<1%)||+300%||OD|
|Sexual Assault||9 (9%)||63 (16%)||-43.8%||SA|
|Vehicle Death||1 (1%)||8 (2%)||-50%||VD|
|Vehicle Injury||10 (10%)||49 (13%)||-23.1%||VI|
This analysis shows us that:
- Affected Persons for official-involved deaths (i.e. deceased's survivors) are proportionately more likely participate in the survey relative to the number of official-involved death investigations undertaken by the SIU.
- Affected Persons where the outcome is death (CD, FD, OD) participated more frequently in the survey than all other groups.
- All other investigation types participated less frequently in the survey relative to the number of investigations by type conducted by the SIU.
- Younger and older Indigenous men are respectively 13- and 16-times more represented.
- Younger Black men are 15-times more represented in these data .
- Younger White men are nearly twice as frequently represented.
- Older White men appear 1.6-times as frequently.
- Younger Black women were nearly three-times as frequently represented in these data for Custody Injuries.
- Older Black women were just over twice as frequently represented.
- White women, both older and younger, were underrepresented in these data four times less frequently.
For example, in the Type of Investigation "Firearm Discharge at a Person", Indigenous young men are overrepresented 43 times relative to proportion of the Ontario population. However, that outcome is a single case in the survey data out of five total firearms discharge at a person incidents. This drastically skews the statistical analyses.
However, the comparative value stands, as the proportion of case types investigated by the SIU year-over-year remains fairly consistent, meaning these data are good enough for devising what case types most frequently result in participation in RBD collection.
From there, the analysis team may be able to make some inferences toward what motivates respondents to participate in RBD collection, an important step to comprehending what disproportionality in Racial representation means at the SIU.
5.0 Resolution by MemoAn area in which the report took an interest was Outcome Memo.
Memo is one occasion where the SIU director can exercise some discretion whether to investigate incidents that fall within the SIU mandate. It can also be the case that, following an initial investigation, it is discovered that the SIU does not have mandate and/or jurisdiction to investigate any further.
The Annual Report 2020-2021 presents two exemplar cases resolved by memo. In these cases, the SIU Director invoked his discretion to close the investigation prior to completion based on preliminary evidence reviewed or found upon initial investigations that there was patently nothing further to investigate. In the first case, the custody suite video evidenced that injuries were caused by the Affected Person, not Subject Officials, and therefore there was patently nothing further to investigate. In the second case, following officer and civilian witness interviews, it was determined Subject Officials did not contribute to the death of an individual to whom those officers administered first-aid.
There are some difficulties with drawing conclusions about the prevalence of systemic racism in memo decisions. In some cases an investigation will have been closed prior to collecting RBD, meaning there will be a report of a commenced investigation closed by memo, but no opportunity for the Subject Official or Affected Person to provide RBD. In other cases closed by memo, RBD will have been collected prior to closure. The result is a data set that does not necessarily accurately reflect the racial composition of cases closed by memo due to data collection limitations. That said, given the Act's mandate to analyze outcome measures, we proceeded with our analysis, acknowledging and accepting the shortcoming.
The report analyzed whether Memo was used more frequently to close cases of Black, Indigenous, or White people in the dataset. Intersectional analyses were run on the above-mentioned groups against the outcome "Memo".
16 cases in this dataset were resolved by Memo. One of those cases did not include age data and was removed from intersectional analysis - identity features selected in that case were "White" and "Woman". A second case self-identified as Black, White, Indigenous, and Male. In accordance with the instructions for RBD Analysis in Ontario Order in Council 897/2018, this individual was taken out of the code "White" but
included twice in intersectional analyses, once for "Black" and once for "Indigenous".
Therefore, data are included for 17-cases of resolution by Memo( n=l6), one case is removed for missing age data, and one case is counted twice for the two separate self-identifications:
< 37 .5
|2 (13%)||0(0%)||2 (13%)||2 (13%)||3 (19%)||4 (25%)|
< 37 .5
|0 (0%)||0 (0%)||0 (0%)||0 (0%)||2 (13%)||1 (6%)|
To determine disproportionality of outcomes based on intersectional analyses, the report made as-close-to-accurate-as-possible estimations of demographic characteristics of Ontario. This report was able to derive approximate populations of Black and White Men and Women in Ontario from StatsCan database of visible minority status. The report uses 2016 Census StatsCan Focus on Geography series to derive Indigenous population by age and gender.
These data indicate (relative to proportion of the Ontario population):
- Black and Indigenous men are markedly overrepresented in this dataset.
- White men are marginally overrepresented in this dataset.
- No Black or Indigenous women had cases resolved by Memo in this dataset.
6.0 Data Collection Limitations
Of the 98 Affected Persons cases in these data, 76 cases were outcome No Charge (78%), 16 outcome Memo (16%), 4 outcome Outstanding (4%), 2 outcome Charge (2%).
7.0 Qualitative Interviewing
The analysis team identified a significant complication with the data represented above; that the SIU's limited discretion to choose what cases it investigates means limited inference can be drawn from the overrepresentation of Racialized persons in the data. The data above likely say more about police interactions with Racialized peoples than SIU interactions, given how the SIU's mandate is invoked. Because police services are more likely to use force against Racialized people the SIU's mandate is more likely to be invoked in those interactions. Inclusion in this data set indicates two things: the respondent had been seriously injured or killed while interacting with an official, is next-of-kin of a deceased Affected Person, had a firearm discharged at them by an official, or alleged sexual assault against an official; and the respondent has volunteered their information to the SIU via the survey.
To better understand how Race factors into SIU investigations, it is important to analyze the relationship between Subject Officials or Affected Persons and the SIU. This requires speaking with these individuals about their experience and learning how the individuals themselves see their Race as a contributing factor to SIU investigations and outcomes.
Instructions from the Anti-Racism Data StandardsIn Data Standard 32 (Setting Thresholds to Identify Notable Differences), the Anti Racism Data Standards - Order in Council 897/2018 gives the following instruction:
Racial disproportionality or disparities on their own may not be conclusive of systemic racial inequalities.
Methods of further analysis could focus on determining the extent to which a racial disproportionality may be attributed, in whole or in part, to systemic racism. Multivariate analysis is one method used to identify other factors, such as socioeconomic conditions, that may help explain differences in group outcomes.
Draw on other sources of information to help in the interpretation and understanding of findings. PSOs should use multiple methods, such as qualitative information obtained through focus groups, individual interviews with clients, employees, and experts, police and program evaluations, research literature reviews, etc.
It is our opinion that this is a crucial endeavour to achieve the Act's objectives. Consulting with (i.e. interviewing) both Affected Persons and Subject Officials will help improve interpretation of RBD gathered for this report. Disproportionality, in this data, is expected. The question that remains is how that disproportionality is experienced by individuals who are party to SIU investigations.
Given the impact incidents the SIU investigates have on Affected Persons and Subject Officials, the preferred qualitative methodology is individual interviews (as opposed to focus groups).
- Toronto Police Service (2022). Race& Identity Based Data Collection Strategy: Understanding Use of Force & Strip Searches in 2020.
- Ontario Human Rights Commission. (2020). A Disparate Impact: 2ndInterim Report on Inquiry into Racial Profiling and Racial Discrimination of Black persons by the Toronto Police Service. Toronto, ON. Government of Ontario.
ConclusionThe SIU's collection of RBD in compliance with the Act is a marked step forward in understanding how Race factors into investigations conducted by the SIU. It is a landmark opportunity to understand more about the SIU's relationship with racialized people, although the current data collection methodology is as likely to be a commentary on policing in Ontario as commentary on the SIU itself. Adding further methods of data collection and analysis will be crucial for better understanding how the SIU is performing in interactions with Racialized people.
Trust in the institution of policing and in the criminal justice system generally are degrading across North America, and sections of the public are demanding more civilian input into these institutions.
However, there is much more that remains to be done. This report recognizes the accomplishment of gathering and beginning to analyze RBD, and looks forward to developing that understanding in the coming years.
AcknowledgementsWe thank our fellow researchers, Dr. Carmen Nave, Dr. Jason Turowetz and Dr. Waverly Duck, and our research assistant, Hannah Feldbloom, for their assistance in preparation of aspects of this report. We are also grateful to Dr. Scott Blandford for his assistance. Report design by S. Reibling.
This report draws on research supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.