Press Release: Civil Liberties and First Nations groups file amendment to complaint on VPD street checks; concern with over representation of Indigenous women in new numbers released.

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For Immediate Release

VANCOUVER / xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Skxwú7mesh & səlil̓wətaʔɬ territories (July 12, 2018) – This morning, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (“UBCIC”) and the BC Civil Liberties Association (“BCCLA”) filed an amendment to the complaint with the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (“OPCC”) against the Vancouver Police Department (“VPD”) on the force’s practice of what is known as “street checks” or “police stops.” Street checks are the practice of stopping a person where no particular offence is being investigated, questioning them, and recording their personal information.

The complaint is being amended because of newly released data showing Indigenous women are significantly overrepresented in the numbers of street checks conducted by the VPD over the past decade. [1]

After the complaint was filed, the BCCLA received data on the race and gender of those subject to street checks between 2008 and 2017, released by VPD following a freedom of information request. In 2016, Indigenous women accounted for over one-fifth of all checks of women (21%) despite only making up two percent of the population of women in the city – overrepresentation by a factor of 9. [2]

In 2016, Indigenous men accounted for approximately 12% of all street checks of men and women, despite making up only one percent of the total population of Vancouver – overrepresentation by a factor of 11.  Black men accounted for over three percent of the total checks of men and women, despite making up just over half of one percent of the total population of Vancouver – overrepresentation by a factor of six.

The complaint is also being amended to include consideration of police stops conducted by VPD in which personal information is elicited but the stop is not recorded as a street check and therefore does not show up in the data released by VPD.

In amending this complaint, the UBCIC and the BCCLA request that the OPCC ensure that these additional considerations are properly investigated by the Vancouver Police Board, and to take any and all actions necessary to address this most pressing matter.

Quotes from the complainant organizations:

Chief Bob Chamberlin, Vice-President of the UBCIC: “We reject the overrepresentation of Indigenous women in the numbers of street checks by the VPD as normative- we will not accept this example of institutionalized racism and we demand an immediate independent investigation. How can we speak about true reconciliation when Indigenous peoples, and particularly women, are being targeted by the police on a daily basis?”

Josh Paterson, Executive Director of the BCCLA: “We had serious concerns with the data we shared in our original complaint that showed an over representation of Indigenous and Black communities in VPD street check numbers. But now, when we factor gender into the numbers, there are even more serious questions to be answered in an independent investigation into the VPD’s practice of street checks.”

Link to July 11 2018 letter amending the original complaint.

Link to original complaint of June 14 2018.

Media contacts:

Chief Bob Chamberlin, UBCIC, [email protected], 250-974-8282
Josh Paterson, BCCLA, [email protected], 778-829-8973


[1] Vancouver Police Department, Published Freedom of Information Requests, VPD Street Check Data 2008-2017 by Gender and Ethnicity Fields (Vancouver: 2018) <>

[2] Statistics Canada, Census Profile, 2016 Census, Vancouver, CY [Census subdivision], British Columbia and Greater Vancouver, RD [Census division], British Columbia (table), Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 98-316-X2016001 (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 2018) [“2016 Census”] <>