Test case profile

Knia Singh’s human rights application

In 2014, George “Knia” Singh was a law student who requested a ride-along with Toronto police. His request was denied because of information about him recorded by the police during numerous “street checks” starting when he was as young as 16.

A “street check” is when police stop and question someone even if they are not a suspect in a crime. In fact, sometimes, particularly in low-income neighbourhoods, police stop and question people, even if they are not investigating any particular crime.

When Mr. Singh was stopped and questioned, the information was recorded and kept by the police. This is what is known as “carding.” Studies show that racialized people, and in particular, young Black men, are disproportionately carded.

Mr. Singh, who has no criminal record, has started a legal action in the Divisional Court seeking a declaration that his constitutional right to equality before the law was breached on the grounds of race and colour, ancestry, ethnic origin and reprisal or threat of reprisal. He hopes that his application will serve as a deterrent to future conduct of a similar nature by police.

As of September 2016, Mr. Singh’s application is still awaiting a hearing date.

Quotes

"The test case funding LAO has provided for my judicial review is a prime example of how human rights and social justice can be protected by the effective allocation of provincial resources. Without their support this would be a daunting task for social justice advocates and lawyers. I am thankful to LAO and reassured that we have one of the world's best legal aid systems."

— Knia Singh

“Although legislative changes have recently been introduced to regulate the practice of ‘street checks’ and ‘carding,’ LAO is supporting this case, as part of its Racialized Communities Justice Strategy, to test the constitutionality of these practices. LAO is committed to working with communities to ensure that government regulations are enforced.”

— Kimberly Roach, Co-Lead, Racialized Communities Strategy