By Jacques Gallant, Toronto Star Staff Reporter
At the height of the controversial practice of carding in 2012 in Toronto, police were conducting street checks at a rate of about 20 times that of Ottawa, the province's second largest city.
In 2012, out of population of close to 900,000, almost 7,000 contact cards were filled out in Ottawa, representing 1 for every 128 residents. In Toronto that year, just over 400,000 cards were filled out in a city of 2.7 million. In other words, 1 card for every 6.5 residents.
Non-residents are also carded. But in order to compare rates, the Star looked at contact cards per capita based on the populations of Ottawa and Toronto.
The stark differences speak to just how often Toronto police officers were stopping, questioning and documenting citizens in encounters that typically involve no arrests or charges.
Everything changed in 2013, when a new policy required officers to give a receipt to people who had been carded. The numbers began to drop significantly in Toronto. By 2014, the year before carding was suspended by former Chief Bill Blair, the degree of carding in Ottawa and Toronto had levelled out.
Toronto police filled out just over 11,000 contact cards in 2014, or 1 for every 232 residents, compared to 1 for every 221 in Ottawa.