Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality


Montreal, February 25, 2011 --- In light of its own recent experiences and a growing number of complaints from victims of discrimination who are unfairly treated by public civil rights protection and other agencies, CRARR is setting up an initiative to document the situation.

One recent example includes a Black deaf indigent citizen who appeared before a provincial administrative tribunal that proceeded to hear his case without an interpreter. The man could not understand and follow deliberations between the tribunal and one witness, who was described by the tribunal as his social worker but who was actually not (the man is not even a licensed social worker). The tribunal dismissed his case, stating in its decision that the man was unable to present, “to the satisfaction“ of the tribunal, the merit of the case, without any mention of the absence of means to accommodate his deafness and his inability to follow the hearing.

Another case involves a civil rights agency's investigation into two Arab mothers' complaint of being subject to racial slurs in and unfairly expelled from a department store when they protested. The investigator in charge relied on the store's videotape of the incident, which did not show the security guard physically push one of the women out of the store, to question the entire credibility of the two women and the merit of the complaint (which the law says the agency cannot do).

In reviewing the videotape evidence, however, CRARR noted a total absence of 1 min 27 sec of video footage, with connecting visual sequences missing in three crucial moments. Furthermore, the videotape shows only three camera angles of the incident, yet a visit to the premises reveals the presence of at least 6 cameras in the area that could have recorded the incident, and that the videotape itself lists a total of 16 cameras on that floor. The investigator, however, did not consider necessary to visit the premises to check the number of cameras, to obtain a floor plan, or to have the videotape evidence assessed by an expert, and recommended that the case be dismissed. In rushing to dismiss the complaint and the racial slurs aspect (which is actually the purpose of the complaint), the investigator even committed a glaring error by describing the women as being of Moroccan background, yet the complaint clearly describes them as being Algerian.

The initiative will be announced on March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.