Acting on behalf of Ayaan Farah, the Black Legal Action Centre (BLAC) and McCarthy Tétrault LLP have commenced a class action against the Toronto Police Service for the practice of “Carding”, which has disproportionately been used to harass and intimidate Black and Indigenous people. The action names as defendants the Toronto Police Services Board and former and current Chiefs of Police Bill Blair, Mark Saunders, James Ramer, and Myron Demkiw. The claim alleges that the Toronto Police Service’s historical and ongoing use of Carding breaches the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Ontario Human Rights Code, was negligent, and unlawfully intruded upon the seclusion of the Class members.
Carding refers to the police practice of stopping individuals without any suspicion of involvement in criminal activity, seizing their personal information, and retaining this information for law enforcement purposes. The Toronto Police Service has, and continues to, disproportionately Card members of Toronto’s Black and Indigenous communities. Once Carded, the Toronto Police Service maintains a permanent record of their personal information, which it uses for law enforcement purposes and shares with other agencies.
The litigation seeks to advance the rights and well-being of Black, First Nations, Inuit and Métis people and their members by:
- Obtaining compensation for individuals that have suffered due to Carding; and
- Seeking injunctive relief to reform police practices.
The proposed class includes Black, First Nations, Inuit and Métis people who were Carded by the Toronto Police Service since 2011.
If you identify as Black, First Nations, Inuit or Metis and have been a victim of Carding since 2011, please contact the lawyers for the proposed class by leaving a message at our toll-free number 1-877-244-7711 extension 542300 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
For more on background on Carding, see the Report of the Independent Street Check Review, of Chief Justice Tulloch, dated December 2018, here.
On August 14, 2023, the claim in this matter was filed and issued. See the Statement of Claim, here.
In the News
- CP24: Class-action lawsuit proposed over Toronto police practice of ‘carding’
- CTV News: Class-action lawsuit proposed over Toronto police ‘carding’
- The Globe and Mail: Proposed class-action lawsuit takes aim at Toronto Police Services Board over carding
- Toronto Star: Toronto police hit with class action lawsuit over ‘carding’ stops
- Toronto Star: Class-action lawsuit proposed over Toronto police practice of ‘carding’
- APTN News: Class action lawsuit filed against chiefs of police and police board for street checks
- Yahoo Finance: CLASS ACTION LAUNCHED AGAINST TORONTO POLICE SERVICE FOR DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICE OF CARDING
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a class action?
A class action is a lawsuit that allows a large group of people with common issues to come together to advance a claim. By joining together, class actions provide a more efficient way to advance legal claims.
What is certification?
The court must first assess whether the claim should be advanced in the form of a class action. The court will consider whether the claim shows an appropriate cause of action, an identifiable class of persons, and issues that are shared in common. The court will also determine whether a class action is a preferable procedure, and whether there is an appropriate representative plaintiff. If the class action is certified by the court, the representative plaintiff or plaintiffs will advance the case on behalf of all class members.
Am I a class member?
The answer will depend on whether a class action is certified, and if so, on what terms. Ms. Farah will be asking the court to include in the class all Black, First Nations, Inuit and Métis people who were Carded by the Toronto Police Service since 2011.
If you meet the court-ordered definition of the class, you will be automatically included in the class unless you take the necessary steps to remove yourself.
Do I have to pay to be part of the class action?
No. This class action will proceed on a contingency fee basis. This means that the lawyers bringing the action will only be paid if the class action succeeds. If successful, the lawyers will be paid a portion of the settlement or judgment, but only with court approval.
Media inquiries should be directed to counsel for Ms. Farah: Michael Rosenberg, Partner,
McCarthy Tétrault LLP at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Atrisha Lewis, Partner,
McCarthy Tétrault LLP at email@example.com.