Fondé en 1983 --Unis pour la diversité et l'égalité raciale


Montreal, April 23, 2012 --- The Quebec Human Rights Tribunal’s recent decision on racial profiling in Montréal is one of the most important milestones in the fight against racism and biased policing in Québec and in Canada.

Earlier this month, the Tribunal ruled that Montreal Police officer Dominique Chartrand committed racially discriminatory acts against an Arab man in 2007. Officer Chartrand intercepted Milad Rezko using racial slurs (“I don’t give a damn about your Buddhism,... all Arabs are liars”), when he was sitting in a business partner’s Jaguar parked in the Chabanel textile district of Montréal. The officer also reproached him for not wearing a seatbelt or carrying his ID, even though passengers are not required by the Highway Safety Code to identify themselves during a routine traffic stop.

In her decision, Tribunal Chair Michèle Pauzé noted that Officer Chartrand spent 53 minutes carrying out a background check on Mr. Rezko, even though he had not committed any offense and was not suspected of doing so. Mr. Rezko received a fine which he successfully fought in municipal court. The Tribunal ordered the City of Montreal to pay Mr. Rezko $10,000 in moral damages and Officer Chartrand to pay him a further $8,000 in damages.

“This is the first decision of the Human Rights Tribunal on the substance of racial profiling, and it is a very significant precedent that will hopefully pave the way for other cases,” said CRARR Executive Director Fo Niemi.

“For several years, the City of Montréal has used procedural tactics to prevent the human rights commission to investigate complaints more effectively and delay judicial confirmation of racial profiling, all at taxpayers’ expense,” he added. “These tactics create unacceptable delays for investigations of racial profiling complaints, and might have successfully discouraged many victims from coming forward.”

Between 2007 and 2009, CRARR was involved with the Human Rights Commission in a number of racial profiling cases before the Human Rights Tribunal, the Superior Court and the Court of Appeal in which the City's procedural tactics created major barriers in the legal fight against racial profiling.

Two CRARR-assisted racial profiling cases presently before the Human Rights Tribunal involve incidents dating back to 2007 and 2008. The total claim against the City is $27,500. CRARR still has a dozen complaints before the Commission that were filed since 2007 and that are still awaiting a decision.