Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality


Montreal, June 14, 2012 --- With CRARR’s assistance, an English-speaking Black mother received financial compensation, after being subjected to Consumer Racial Profiling (CPR), also referred to as “Shopping While Black,“ at a downtown supermarket.

While shopping, the woman was followed by the store manager. Subsequently, at the cash checkout, the manager abruptly grabbed her shopping bag and her purse in front of the cashier and other customers without explanation. Suspecting her for theft, he proceeded to aggressively search her belongings and ignore her objections and her attempts to provide proof that she had, in fact, paid for some of the products at the lottery counter elsewhere in the store. After concluding his search, he berated the biracial cashier in front of all the customers.

Humiliated and embarrassed by this incident, the woman mandated CRARR to file a civil rights complaint on her behalf. The complaint sought $8,000 in moral and punitive damages as well as the mandatory addition of anti-racism training for store managers. Through mediation at the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission, CRARR was able to negotiate a settlement, which included financial compensation, the adoption of a civil rights policy statement and the inclusion of a racial sensitivity in staff training.

This incident is a clear illustration of the practice of CPR. CPR encompasses any type of differential treatment of consumers on the basis of their race or ethnicity. The practice results in racialized customers and shoppers experiencing a denial or degradation of service and products in commercial contexts as well as heightened suspicion and surveillance. Examples include, but are not limited to: increased surveillance, usage of verbal and/or physical attacks, abusive searches, and adverse or negative treatment as if a criminal.

Combating consumer racial profiling and promoting legal acknowledgement of this practice is one of CRARR's priorities, especially as racialized consumers yield increasingly important purchasing power in Montreal.