Toronto police are being accused of pushing a Black woman off an apartment balcony to her death in the city’s High Park neighbourhood.
The incident took place on Wednesday, May 27, at around 5:15 pm. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) said Toronto police responded to a “domestic incident” at an apartment building on High Park Avenue. While inside a unit on the 24th floor, police “observed” a woman on the balcony. “A short time later, the woman fell from the balcony to the ground,” according to a news release from the SIU. Police did not release the woman’s name but family members publicly identified her as Regis Korchinski-Paquet.
In several videos posted on his @rocawrld Instagram account, her cousin alleges that police threw her off the building and left her body at the scene for hours. He says the police claimed she committed suicide.
The family’s lawyer Knia Singh said the victim’s mother, Claudette Beals-Clayton, sought police assistance because Regis was experiencing a mental health crisis, and pleaded with them to take her daughter to CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) for mental health support.
Singh said words were exchanged between Regis and the police officers in the hallway before she went inside her apartment to use the bathroom.
Multiple officers followed her in the unit while her brother was blocked from entering. About two minutes later, her mother and brother heard commotion inside and Regis crying out for help. Eventually an officer came out and told her mother that she was on the ground.
The family is demanding #JusticeforRegis and wants answers to how a call for assistance resulted in her death. Singh finds it suspicious suicide is being mentioned considering Regis asked building management for weeks to install a protective screen around the apartment balcony.
Police Chief Mark Saunders and Mayor John Tory offered condolences to his family, while the SIU is asking anyone with information to contact the lead investigator at 1-800-787-8529 or upload any video evidence on the SIU website.
A protest for Regis has been organized at Christie Pits on Saturday, May 30 at 2:00 pm.
https://acaottawa.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/regis-korchinski-paquet-1.png349620adminhttps://acaottawa.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/logo.pngadmin2020-05-28 06:15:412020-05-30 14:31:25Toronto Police Accused Of Pushing Black Woman From 24th Floor Balcony
A Canadian Human Rights organization is sounding the alarm after Ontario quietly gave police services access to a new database with the names, date of birth, and address of everyone in the province who has tested positive for COVID-19.
The emergency order, issued by the Ministry of Health back in April, allows the personal information of COVID-19 patients to be shared with police, firefighters and paramedics. The government said the data would provide first responders with the “tools they need to do their jobs and keep Ontarians safe.”
In a statement posted on their Twitter account, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) said, “Providing personal health information directly to law enforcement is an extraordinary invasion of privacy. Such a measure should only be taken when clearly authorized by law and absolutely necessary given the particular circumstances.”
Toronto-based lawyer Abby Deshman, Director of the Criminal Justice Program at the CCLA, said the province “needs to be extremely clear what the use for the information is, why it’s necessary and how this is legal.” She told CTV News Toronto police officers are going to get incomplete information because testing is limited, adding, “It’s hard for us to see how police will use this information to protect themselves or the public.”
Deshman emphasized that health information is usually “tightly controlled and disclosed only to health providers” and finds it worrisome it is being shared with law enforcement.
Officials say the database will be inaccessible to first responders once the state of emergency is lifted, but have not disclosed any more details.
After months of pressure from Black community advocates and health experts, Ontario announced it will soon begin collecting race-based and socioeconomic data on COVID-19. Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Williams said the province is consulting with health equity experts to determine what information to collect. So far, no further details have been provided. However, Ontario health official Dr. Barbara Yaffe revealed they are in the process of updating the questionnaire distributed to patients by public health units.
Just last month, community leaders issued a joint statement on COVID-19’s devastating impact on Black communities in Ontario, and urged public health officials to collect race-based data to better inform the government’s pandemic response. Ottawa’s first Black councillor Rawlson King also authored a letter of support, noting the importance of using the data to design a more equitable healthcare system, as well as improve resource allocations for Black communities.
Citing long-standing structural and systemic inequities rooted in anti-Black racism, they outlined concerns the pandemic has amplified existing health and socioeconomic disparities, including poorer health outcomes; poverty; low income; unaffordable housing; and incarceration, which research has shown affects the Black population at disproportionately higher rates.
Black workers, particularly Black women, are overrepresented among essential workers in frontline jobs like PSWs or RPNs; and in service jobs that require close contact with the public. Many of them are providing essential services – such as grocery store clerks, cleaners, and warehouse workers – yet unable to access social and financial relief for their families.
Black families are more likely to live in multi-generational households and may find it difficult to practice physical distancing or self-isolation. Black Canadians are also more likely to have pre-existing health conditions (i.e. diabetes, hypertension, etc.), and lack access to healthcare, putting them at increased risk for severe illness or death from COVID-19.
https://acaottawa.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/ontario-covid-19-race-based-data-e1590768675753.jpg5791030adminhttps://acaottawa.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/logo.pngadmin2020-05-21 18:00:512020-05-29 16:11:33Ontario To Start Collecting Race-Based Data From COVID-19 Patients
In the United States, data from 29 states shows that the coronavirus has killed Black Americans at a disproportionate rate, according to the Atlantic.
Earlier in April, an analysis by the Associated Press found that 42 per cent of COVID-19-related deaths in the U.S. are Black people, double their share of the population. Health disparities, a higher chance of working front-line jobs, less access to health care and being more likely to live in crowded, denser neighbourhoods are all factors contributing to a higher death rate, according to the AP.
In Canada, race-based data about which groups have been impacted by COVID-19 hasn’t been collected. Toronto Public Health announced on April 22 that it would begin to collect this information so it can address health inequities.
U.S. minorities face greater risk of death from COVID-19
U.S. minorities face greater risk of death from COVID-19
Even without that data, the health of Canada’s Black communities has long been a concern and has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis, according to a statement from Black leaders in health care across Ontario published by the Alliance for Healthier Communities on April 2.
In Ontario specifically, research shows Black people face barriers to employment and often rely on gig economy jobs, which are more precarious. Black women are more likely to be working front-line jobs as personal support workers (PSWs) or registered practical nurses, for example, according to the same statement.
A study by Ryerson University in 2009 — the most recent study available — found that 42 per cent of PSWs identified as a visible minority, close to double their share of Canada’s population at the time.
This week, the death of 51-year-old Arlene Reid, a Black woman who provided home care in Peel Region outside Toronto, sparked comments from the union representing community health-care workers across Ontario, claiming PSWs do not receive proper protection.
Why health inequalities exist in Canada
Black Canadians historically have worse health outcomes due to a myriad of factors that all stem from anti-Black racism — including the types of jobs to which they have access, where they live, income levels and lack of available resources, said Arjumand Siddiqi, Canada Research Chair in population health equity.
“What we know about the relationship between race and health suggests that it’s almost impossible to imagine that these disparities aren’t happening,” said Siddiqi, who’s also an associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.
For instance, Black women are 43 per cent more likely to die of breast cancer than white women, according to the Black Health Alliance, a national health advocacy organization. Black women are consistently underscreened for breast and cervical cancer, Global News reported last year.
Those who face various forms of systematic oppression and a lack of resources as a result almost always suffer the worst health, Siddiqi said.
Lack of access to safer jobs during the coronavirus pandemic — meaning workers can stay at home — is also a concern for Black communities, as they are currently more likely to be front-line workers, she says.
“Autonomy and income from those jobs also provides us with the resources to eat better and to live in more comfortable homes,” she said. “This is why these kinds of fundamental things about your resources, and your status, start to affect every mechanism to every disease.”
COVID-19 pandemic has ‘highlighted disparities’
Safia Ahmed, executive director of the Rexdale Community Health Centre west of Toronto, says she sees a clear health disparity in the communities her organization serves.
“What COVID-19 has done is that it’s highlighted those disparities,” she said.
Ahmed says her organization provides health promotion services to residents in the community of Rexdale and addresses social determinants of health that may prevent them from accessing care.
Many of their clients are either new immigrants or Black Canadians and have either lost their jobs due to COVID-19 or are working on the front lines, she says.
“People in these communities are experiencing food security issues, unemployment issues, and some are struggling to pay rent,” she said. “There are all these other social factors impacting one’s health … not having access to medication, your outcome when you contract disease is worse.”
The announcement that Toronto Public Health will start collecting race-based data for COVID-19 has been encouraging, and she hopes this data will be used to inform decisions and tackle health disparities in communities like the ones she serves, she says.
But beyond Toronto, the provinces and the federal government need to commit to keeping this kind of data as well, otherwise, it’s difficult to glean a full picture of how minority communities are being impacted, she says.
The need for race-based data
The lack of data available, along with the absence of a national conversation on which groups are the most impacted by COVID-19, continues to put minority groups in danger, said Kathy Hogarth, an associate professor of social work at the University of Waterloo.
“When our society is built on inequality, we already have those that are way outside that social safety net,” said Hogarth. “And it makes some bodies disposable.”
“Without data, it’s all speculation, and as long as it remains in speculation, we can dismiss it,” she says. “What we need is a very rigorous way of collecting our data that looks at inequalities. I guarantee you there are inequalities; we are not all impacted in the same way.”
As Canada goes through this pandemic, it’s important that we think about how we want to collect data so we can better prepare in the future and work to protect marginalized communities, she says.
“Though we haven’t put the resources into collecting that kind of data, will we do it now? I wish that we would because I think it’s a detriment that we don’t.”
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.
https://acaottawa.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/covid-19.jpg183275adminhttps://acaottawa.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/logo.pngadmin2020-05-17 23:24:172020-05-30 22:36:23Canada’s lack of race-based COVID-19 data hurting Black Canadians
Arlene Huggins was handpicked by Education Minister Stephen Lecce to investigate the PDSB’s compliance after its failure to adhere to 27 Ministerial Directions it received. The former president of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) earned a law degree from the University of Toronto in 1989. She was also on the founding Board of […]
https://acaottawa.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Arlene-Huggins.jpg10011500adminhttps://acaottawa.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/logo.pngadmin2020-05-17 15:30:512020-05-29 01:27:40Province Appoints Arleen Huggins to Investigate Peel District School Board’s Compliance
Following the release of a damning report of systemic anti-Black racism within the Peel District School Board (PDSB), Ontario’s Education Minister Stephen Lecce issued 27 directives on March 13, 2020 that were to be implemented by the organization under strict timelines.
In a news release, the Ministry of Education stated that these directives to the PDSB are “aimed at addressing the systemic discrimination, specifically anti-Black racism; human resources practices; board leadership and governance issues.”
The PDSB, which is responsible for over 155,000 students across 257 schools in Caledon, Brampton, and Mississauga, has since admitted to “systemic racism” within the Board, and issued a formal apology for the “hurt and harm” inflicted on the Black community.
Last November, the Ontario government announced a formal review of Canada’s second largest school board, stemming from years of racism and human rights complaints. The three-member Review team was led by Human Rights lawyer Ena Chadha, lawyer and former president of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) Shawn Richard, and former deputy minister Suzanne Herbert.
From December 2019 to early February 2020, they considered over 160 written submissions, conducted 115 interviews and held 4 community and engagement sessions, where they heard from more than 300 individuals in various Peel and Toronto locations.
Below are some key findings from the Review published in March:
83% of high school students in the PDSB are racialized yet 67% of its teachers are white
Black students were subjected to constant police intervention
Black students were grossly overrepresented in suspensions, some as early as junior kindergarten. They are only 10.2% of the secondary school population, but account for 22.5% of the students receiving suspensions
Black students felt that they were held to higher standards and different codes of conduct in comparison to White or other racialized students
Black students expressed that Black History should be a part of the curriculum and it should be more than just about slavery
Teachers and principals made degrading, inappropriate and racist comments about Black students and staff
Failure to intervene on the part of teachers regarding the frequent use of the N-word by students and micro-aggressions in the classroom
PDSB Director of Education Peter Joshua has served in his role since July 2017 but has never had a performance appraisal
Numerous Black educators had been promoted out of their positions when they spoke out against White supremacy and oppression
Despite saying work had already begun on the directives, reports are that little has changed in the Board. After a breakdown in mediation last month, Education Minister Stephen Lecce took further action and appointed lawyer Arleen Huggins to conduct an investigation into the PDSB’s compliance with the Minister’s binding Directions.
Lecce said he would not tolerate “delay or inaction” when it comes to “confronting racism and discrimination” and “will do whatever it takes to ensure these issues are addressed immediately and effectively.”
Ms. Huggins is expected to deliver her report to the Minister by May 18, 2020.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass), unveiled a sweeping criminal justice reform resolution on Thursday that could begin dismantling a racist system that disproportionately targets, incarcerates, and kills members of Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities.
The United States, a nation addicted to punishment and cages, is the number one jailer in the world, something that Pressley is seeking to change. The first words of her resolution—”Recognizing that the United States has a moral obligation to meet its foundational promise of guaranteed justice for all”—echo Dr. Martin Luther King’s call out of the same hypocrisy.
“All we say to America is, ‘Be true to what you said on paper.’” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., April 3, 1968
“The criminal legal system is racist, xenophobic, rogue, and fundamentally flawed beyond reform,” Pressley told reporters on a call Wednesday. “It must be dismantled and radically transformed through a large-scale decarceration effort.”
Pressley lays out several potentially transformative proposals in her resolution, which she calls The People’s Justice Guarantee, including: reinstituting the Department of Justice’s role in investigating police departments that repeatedly violate citizens’ civil rights, and establishing adequate over- sight of consent decrees. While no police officers were held accountable for civil rights violations under Eric Holder’s DoJ—nor, of course, thus far under William Barr’s—the ability to check power is still necessary.
Pressley also calls for banning law enforcement from using facial recognition software; stopping the transfer of military equipment to local police departments (the militarization of police forces became a national point of contention during the Ferguson uprising); dismantling and rebuilding a compassionate, just, and humane immigration; providing resources for non-law enforcement led, community-based violence and trauma interruption models; banning the death penalty; and the decriminalization of addiction and sex work, among other proposals.
Yes, That Crime Bill
In a move that is powerful in both historical and contemporary contexts, Pressley calls for the federal government to provide tax incentives to local governments, as well as for states that repeal Truth in Sentencing and Three Strikes provisions and that reduce their prison populations by 2035. Under the resolution, “communities would be encouraged to repeal and dismantle the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 and other federal policies that caused the country’s prison population to explode since the 1970s,” the Appeal reports.
The OverExplainer, Danielle Young, breaks down why the term “woke” is important and how it will always remain relevant in this society.
When the crime bill passed in 1994, it was with the help of 22 members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the support of NIMBY Black community leaders who believed that increased punitive punishment would save “good” children from “bad” children. Professor Michelle Alexander explained that some of these leaders were expecting reinvestment in Black communities—schools, better housing, health care and jobs. But that’s not what happened.
Before the 1994 crime bill could make it through the House, it was stripped of the Racial Justice Act, which would have allowed death row inmates to use data showing racial inequities in sentencing. The bill was also stripped of $3.3 billion—two-thirds of it from prevention programs. A provision that would have made 16,000 low-level drug offenders eligible for early release was also removed.
More states would soon be passing their own version of “three strikes” laws, and they would be awarded Truth in Sentencing grants to build and expand prisons.
Pressley’s plan to flip the inherently corrupt structure of 1994 bill by awarding states that reduce, not explode prison and jail populations, is what institutional justice looks like.
Click here to read more on Pressley’s resolution, The People’s Justice Guarantee.
Anti-Black racism is a cancer in our society. Racism and particularly ant-black racism is endemic in the modern Canadian society and must be fought and conquered and destroyed.
“As Mandela said “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite”.
This committee is committed to working with partners to kick racism out of our society. This includes advocating for policy reviews to address systemic racism.
This committee is also working to ensure Criminal Justice Reform becomes a reality. There are 70 per cent more Black Canadians in federal prisons than there were 10 years ago.
What are we doing about it? There is an opportunity to join this committee as we work to address obvious systemic issues affecting the black community. The hyper incarceration of black youth is troubling, and we cannot stay silence.
Education i.e. how do we hold the Gov’t accountable AND how are we as a people holding ourselves accountable on this?
Complaint mechanism and support network.
Criminal Justice system reforms
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