RCMP Race-Based Data Collection Initiative
On this page
Canada, with its diverse provinces and territories, is a complex multi-racial and ethnic mosaic that requires a modern, robust, evidence-based approach to address systemic racism and discriminatory practices. The RCMP Race-Based Data Collection Initiative is the first national approach to race-based data collection in Canada. It has taken the best practices and lessons learned by other police services in Canada, and globally, who have already started collecting race-based data.
Collecting and analyzing race-based data serves two purposes: to identify and understand differences in policing outcomes, particularly for Indigenous, Black and other racialized groups, and to work collaboratively with communities and local detachments. This collaborative effort aims to find solutions that contribute to greater equity in policing services, justice outcomes, and community trust. By combining the insights derived from race-based data with meaningful engagement amongst communities and employees, the RCMP seeks to determine actionable steps to eliminate systemic racism from the organization's policies and practices.
The importance of race-based data collection
The RCMP is committed to addressing systemic racism and discrimination. The Race-Based Data Collection Initiative provides valuable data to identify and monitor trends in our interactions with the public. This will help us make decisions and develop policies, practices and training that are informed by evidence, are responsive to community needs, and best support frontline members in the delivery of fair and equitable policing services.
Race-based data refers to information about a person's race and Indigenous identity. The RCMP will collect race-based data based on a police officer's perceived race of an individual based on appearance and other information known to the officer at the time of the interaction. Officers will be asked to record their best estimate of a person's race and Indigenous identity during specific policing interactions.
Perceived race may not be the same as how a person may self-identify.
Using officer-perception data
Race-based perception data will help the RCMP to identify any systemic biases in policing interactions and understand Indigenous, Black and racialized communities' unique experiences. Using officer-perception data can help us understand how implicit biases, policies, practices and processes may shape police decision-making and the outcome of policing interactions.
The Race-Based Data Collection Initiative is intended to help the RCMP better understand and address systemic racism and systemic racial biases arising from the organization's policies and practices.
In all interactions with the public, RCMP employees are guided by the RCMP's Bias-Free Policing Policy, which is based on the principles of non-discrimination and the equitable treatment of all people.
The collection, management and use of race-based data is consistent with RCMP's responsibilities under the Privacy Act and RCMP Act. When reporting results, data will be presented in summary form and properly de-identified so individuals cannot be identified.
The Race-Based Data Collection Initiative pilot will begin in January 2024 in:
- in Whitehorse, Yukon (M Division);
- Wood Buffalo (Fort McMurray), Alberta (K Division); and
- Thompson, Manitoba (D Division)
Additional pilots are being scheduled in British Columbia (E Division) and Nova Scotia.
These sites were chosen based on a number of factors including public consultations held throughout 2022 and 2023. Piloting the Race-Based Data Collection Initiative will provide an opportunity for the RCMP to test out processes and make improvements and adjustments before a national rollout.
Data collection during pilot project
During the pilot program, the RCMP will collect perceived race-based data to analyze and understand outcomes of police-public interactions in the following categories:
- use of force
- wellness checks
Community engagement and consultation during the Race-Based Data Collection Initiative
Community engagement and consultation is critical to the success of the Race-Based Data Collection Initiative. The RCMP will be partnering with community organizations at pilot locations and engaging with the public through town halls, focus groups, surveys, and events.