Police-Reported Indigenous and Racialized Identity Statistics via the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey

Consultative engagement objectives

Police-Reported Indigenous and Racialized Identity Statistics Initiative

In recent years, there have been increasing demands for better disaggregated data to shed light on people's diverse experiences. Disaggregated data can help identify issues of social inequities, discrimination, and systemic racism within Canadian society. Concerns for the unequal treatment of Indigenous and racialized peoples in the Canadian criminal justice system revealed important gaps in the availability of disaggregated data. This situation is especially true for information on the identity of people who encounter police for various reasons, including criminal incidents.

On July 15, 2020, Statistics Canada and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) announced their commitment to working on the collection of data on the Indigenous and racialized identity of all victims and accused persons in criminal incidents through the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Survey. The UCR Survey collects information on all criminal incidents reported by Canadian police services to monitor the nature and extent of police-reported crime in Canada. This mutual commitment is in response to growing demands for such information as a way of contributing to a better understanding of the experiences of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and racialized communities when interacting with the police.

The purpose of this initiative is not the evaluation of individual police officers. Nor is it intended to single out Indigenous and racialized communities for policing and enforcement purposes. Instead, it seeks to provide insights and further understanding of experiences faced by Indigenous and racialized peoples to address systemic issues of racism, discrimination, and inequity within the Canadian criminal justice system. Although this initiative focuses solely on police-reported criminal incidents, it will nonetheless help shed light on the experiences of Indigenous and racialized communities as it relates to policing and the criminal justice system.

Consultative engagement methodology

Statistics Canada embarked on an engagement process in July 2020 to seek feedback on the collection of Indigenous and racialized identity data through the UCR Survey. This engagement sought advice on the value of collecting this sensitive information, and input on how police should collect and report the data, what information should be reported, how the data should be used and accessed, as well as other related concerns. This engagement process included people from diverse perspectives, including community organizations, academics, police services, the public and other parties of interest at the national, provincial/territorial, municipal, and local government level.

The engagement process was conducted through two main approaches. First, an engagement document was created which included background information on this data collection initiative, a questionnaire to complete and space for respondents to provide any further information that they thought should be considered regarding this project. A shortened version of the engagement document was also created to provide a more accessible document to respondents. Second, a series of virtual group discussions were held with various respondents to complement the responses received through the written submissions. Additionally, formal and informal meetings were held with various partners and other parties of interest about the initiative and the resulting feedback was also compiled.

The engagement initiatives are now closed.

Statistics Canada has the obligation to keep administrative data private, secure, and confidential. The confidentiality of data is governed by the Statistics Act, Privacy Act, and Access to Information Act, and by departmental policies and directives.

Consultative engagement results

There was broad support amongst respondents for this initiative across all sectors canvassed, including community organizations and police services. The feedback received has led to the development of the following recommendations on the best way to move forward with this initiative:

  • Recommendation 1
    The collection of information on the Indigenous and racialized identity of accused persons and victims of crimes through the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey should be conducted through both the "officer perception" method and the "self-identification" method.
  • Recommendation 2
    The collection of information on the Indigenous and racialized identity of accused persons and victims of crimes through the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey be conducted using Statistics Canada's standardized population group categories for both the "self-identification" method and "officer perception" method.
  • Recommendation 3
    The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police work together with Statistics Canada and other parties of interest to establish national collection standards and guidelines that will integrate with police procedures, processes, and workflow.
  • Recommendation 4
    Any training delivered by Statistics Canada or the police community should emphasize the importance of the data collection initiative and the benefits for the Canadian population, policy-makers, and the police.
  • Recommendation 5
    The analysis and use of information on the Indigenous and racialized identity of accused persons and victims of crimes be done in a manner that reflects the realities experienced by Indigenous and racialized communities through the inclusion of context to all its publications and related dissemination products.
  • Recommendation 6
    To ensure consistency, the standards developed in the context of this initiative should be considered for future data collection within justice and community safety sectors.

Statistics Canada thanks participants for their participation in this consultative engagement initiative. Their insights will help guide the agency in providing better disaggregated data on people's diverse experiences in the criminal justice system.

The full report is available in HTML and PDF formats at Report and Draft Recommendations: Police-Reported Indigenous and Racialized Identity Statistics via the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey.

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