Thunder Bay (Canada)
A City’s good practice towards the elimination of discrimination
Within the framework of the Canadian Coalition’s Ten Point Plan of Action, the City of Thunder Bay has launched the Diversity in Policing Project. In 2002, a study conducted in Thunder Bay called ‘A Community of Acceptance’ highlighted that policing was one of the leading social domains in which racism was evident. In response to the report’s findings, Diversity Thunder Bay and two member organisations (the Thunder Bay Multicultural Centre and the Thunder Bay Indian Friendship Centre) in collaboration with the Thunder Bay Police Services developed a proposal to address the systemic racism in local policing. In 2004 the ‘Diversity in Policing Project’ was launched with funding from Heritage Canada (until 2008).
The ‘Diversity in Policing Project’ consisted of three research phases. In the first phase, a series of community consultations with groups of different origins were organised. The second phase consisted of internal assessment and review of institutional policies, procedures, employment systems alongside research and development training. From this research, a training programme was developed that covered a range of topics, including how to apply the law in an unbiased way and discussion around the issue of racial profiling. The third phase of the project established the research Validation Group in a Standing Committee, with purpose to advise the Police Chief and the Service, to implement and evaluate the project recommendations and to promote the project’s concept, methodology and results to other agencies.
The Diversity in Policing Project is a promising practice in addressing discrimination as acknowledging policing as leading area for discrimination is essential step towards problem solution. Further, the project was undertaken by representatives from local aboriginal centres and police services. The project’s structure as a three-phase plan was an effective way to organise the tasks and keep partners on track. The focus on the internal policy and procedures of the police services was vital for the success of the process and shows the willingness of the City to improve its services.
The City of Thunder Bay is the second most populous municipality in Northern Ontario. The census metropolitan area of Thunder Bay has a population of 122,907, and consists of the city of Thunder Bay, the municipalities of Oliver Paipoonge and Neebing, the townships of Shuniah, Conmee, O'Connor and Gillies and the Fort William First Nation. The city is characterized by a "knowledge economy" based on medical research and education.
Thunder Bay has been a member of the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities against Racism and Discrimination since September 2009.
For more information, please visit: Diversity in Policing Project