The Anti-Terrorism Act and Security Measures in Canada: Public Views, Impacts and Travel Experiences
- 5.3 Racial Profiling
The third section of the survey dealt with racial profiling as previous research conducted by the Department of Justice Canada on views of the ATA demonstrated concern in this area. Specifically, there were concerns that provisions found within the ATA may result in visible minorities being subject to unfair treatment. In order to address this issue, general questions regarding racial profiling were included in the survey as well as questions specific to the ATA. All data for this section can be found in Table 3 of Appendix B.
Approximately two-thirds (69%) of the respondents indicated that they were "familiar" with racial profiling. When asked to describe what they thought racial profiling was, 23% of the respondents indicated they did not know. Almost one-fifth (17%) of the participants identified racial profiling as stereotyping and 11% indicated it was specifically about targeting individuals based on their racial/ethnic or religious background. More non-minority than visible minority participants felt that racial profiling could be described as stereotyping (18% vs. 13%).
More than half (57%) of the participants correctly determined that there was no official policy in Canada to profile individuals based on race. More non-minority respondents indicated that Canada did not have an official policy to racially profile individuals when compared to visible minority respondents (59% vs. 51%). More than half (59%) of the sample felt that screening a person for potential involvement in a terrorist activity solely based on race, ethnicity or religion was inappropriate and most participants (79%) felt racial profiling goes against the principles of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
More than three-quarters (79%) of those surveyed felt that individuals who were targeted because of their ethnic/racial background would still receive a fair trial in Canada, however, fewer visible minority respondents felt that this was the case when compared to non-minority respondents (71% vs. 81%). Not surprisingly, more participants who identified themselves as a visible minority felt that they had been the target of racial profiling over the last four years compared to non-minority participants (20% vs. 6%). When asked the extent to which racial profiling occurs unofficially, 20% of the participants felt it happened "all the time" and 62% felt that it happened "sometimes". There was a difference between the two groups: 27% of visible minority respondents felt that racial profiling occurred unofficially "all the time" compared to 18% of non-minority respondents (see Figure 3).
When asked about the main causes of racial profiling, 33% of participants indicated it was caused by racism and prejudice, 14% thought it was because they felt that some religious or ethnic groups were more likely to commit certain crimes, 13% said it was due to terrorist activity and 12% felt racial profiling was caused by fear. A larger proportion of minority respondents felt racial profiling was the result of racism and prejudice (37% vs. 32%). Conversely, more non-minority than visible minority participants indicated that racial profiling was caused because they felt that some religious or ethnic groups were more likely to commit certain crimes (17% vs. 8%). Finally, larger proportions of non-minority respondents felt that terrorist activity caused racial profiling compared to visible minority respondents (14% vs. 9%).
Q. 30 There is no official policy in Canada to racially profile and target anyone because of their ethnic, religious or racial origin. to what extent do you think thast racial profoling still goes on unofficially? answer: all the time visible minority 27%, non-minority 18%
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