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New carding regulations in effect in Ontario

January 26, 2017

New police street checks regulations in Ontario have increased restrictions on when officers can ask for identification from those they are questioning.

The carding regulations came into effect Jan. 1 and make Ontario the first province to impose such limitations.

Police officers now must inform people of their right not to provide identifying information during the following interactions when:

  • Investigating general criminal activity in a community.
  • Inquiring into suspicious activities to detect offences.
  • Gathering information for intelligence purposes.

Officers will be required to provide a reason for requesting any identifying information from an individual. That reason cannot be arbitrary, based on race or being present in a high-crime neighbourhood. A person may decline to speak with police in these circumstances and police may not use that as justification for further questioning or other action.

The government also appointed a roundtable of experts to develop new training for police officers to cover important areas such as discrimination, racism, bias awareness, and avoiding psychological detention. The provincial government announced that all officers in Ontario have completed this training as of Jan. 1.

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