Human Rights Commission orders Quebec municipality to pay $35 thousand for racial profiling

Quebec’s Human Rights Commission has ordered the city of Repentigny to pay $35 thousand to a man who says he was racially profiled by local police.

The decision is not legally binding. The case will continue to the Human Rights Tribunal, which can make legal orders. 

In December 2017, Francois Ducas reported that he had been pulled over several times by local police, for reasons he says were racially motivated. 

“Every time I’m stopped, I’m asked ‘if this is my car.’ It’s disrespectful,” said Ducas. “I can’t accept that I can’t drive around town without being stopped by the police.”

He said he’s been pulled over many times, and that the stress of it has affected his health. He’s reported having symptoms of insomnia and persisting anger. He said he has needed to take time off work because of the stress. 

After the Commission heard his report, it ordered the Quebec municipality to compensate Ducas, and to introduce anti-profiling sensitivity training in its police force. 

It also ordered police record race data following police stops, something advocates have been calling on police forces to do across Canada.

Repentigny Police Chief Helen Dion said she wants to see changes on the force. 

“We are determined to create a police institution that is ever more inclusive, divers and in proximity with the population,” said the chief in a statement on Nov. 16. 

It’s a necessary change, according to former RCMP officer and advisor to the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations. 

“Who in their right mind,” said Babineau, “would be interested in going a police service that they believe is oppressing their community?”

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