Police-Reported Indigenous and Racialized Identity Data Collection through the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey

Opened: July 2021
Results posted: September 2022
Updated posted: July 2023

Police-Reported Indigenous and Racialized Identity Data Collection 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 to contribute 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, shed light on the experiences of Indigenous and racialized communities in relation to the policing and the criminal justice system.

Using a multi-phased approach, Statistics Canada began working toward the goal of enabling the collection of these data by police services.

Phase I: Consultative engagement

Statistics Canada embarked on a consultative engagement process in July 2020 to seek feedback on the collection of Indigenous and racialized identity data through the UCR Survey. The engagement process 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. It 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 via two main approaches. First, an engagement document was created which included background information on the data collection initiative, a questionnaire to complete and space for respondents to provide additional information they thought should be considered as part of the project. Based on feedback, a shortened version of the engagement document was then created to improve accessibility and reduce respondent burden. 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.

This phase of engagement is 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 Findings

There was broad support amongst respondents for the initiative across all sectors canvassed - including community organizations and police services. The feedback received resulted in the following six key recommendations as the best way to move forward with the 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 should 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, policymakers, 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.

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

Phase II: Operationalization

Statistics Canada is currently working on the second phase of the initiative, which focuses on the operationalization of the recommendations from phase I. This second phase includes another series of consultative engagements, the results of which will be published at a later date. To communicate the status of the initiative, a progress report of on-going activities and planned next steps was published in July 2023 in HTML and PDF formats: Police-reported Indigenous and Racialized Identity Data Through the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey: Progress Update and Next Steps

Statistics Canada thanks participants for engaging in this initiative. Their insights will help guide the agency in the provision of better disaggregated data on people's diverse experiences with the criminal justice system.