TORONTO, April 4, 2005 - The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) congratulates Interim Deputy Chief Bill Blair on his appointment as the new chief of the Toronto Police Services, and looks forward to working with him to improve the relationship between the police and communities in Toronto, in particular the racialized communities.
"We are encouraged by the Chief-designate's comments that he will work with all Toronto's diverse communities and, in so doing, it is our hope that this will include a commitment to addressing the very serious issue of racism and racial discrimination in the context of the police service," said Dr. Karen Mock, Executive Director of the CRRF. "The Foundation is positioned to work with the Chief and the Toronto Police Services Board to strengthen public confidence in the police service.
"We would expect that Chief-designate Blair would build on the positives of his predecessor, Chief Fantino, and distance himself from the negatives. So, we are concerned that, in his initial meeting with the media, he chose to stick to the line that there is no systemic racism in the Toronto Police Services."
A recent Toronto Star report detailed meetings between senior African Canadian officers and the former chief in 2003 in which they confirmed that racial profiling exists in the Toronto Police Services as well as acts of racial harassment they and other colleagues have experienced.
"Every major study of large institutions points to the existence of systemic barriers for racialized groups in recruitment, hiring, promotion and equitable service delivery. Why would the police service be any different," continued Dr. Mock. "We will work with the new chief and the service to enhance understanding of systemic racism and strive to eliminate it...
"We are not expecting that systemic racism and discrimination will be rooted out overnight with a new chief in place. What we hope for is a commitment that the Chief, along with the Toronto Police Services Board, will undertake appropriate and meaningful measures to address this problem."