Why Track Police-Involved Deaths and Deaths in Custody?
There is no sustained civil society or government body keeping track of police-involved deaths or deaths in custody in Canada. Independent academics have attempted to keep track of deaths in custody, families and friends of victims of police killings have tracked deaths in their communities, and journalists have reported on police-involved deaths, and occasionally relevant statistics are released in reports from various oversight bodies. But it remains there is no publicly available, verified, sustained, and comprehensive source for this information.
The lack of data prevents researchers, policy-makers, advocates, and communities most impacted by police violence from answering basic questions about police use of force, police-involved deaths, and deaths in custody.
Building on past initiatives, we created this database to track information and fill this gap so that others could use it for analysis, policy work and to effect change.
- Tracking (In)Justice Dataset
Tracking (In)justice is a project of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), the Data Justice and Criminology Lab of the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Carleton University, the Ethics and Technology Lab at Queen’s University, and the Centre for Research and Innovation for Black Survivors of Homicide Victims (CRIB) at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, The Empowerment Council, Women's Health in Women's Hands Community Health Centre, Maggie's Toronto Sex Workers Action Project, JusticeTrans and Aboriginal Legal Services.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association was constituted in 1964 to promote respect for and observance of fundamental human rights and civil liberties, and to defend and foster the recognition of those rights and liberties. We are national, non-profit, and independent. Since our founding, CCLA has been at the forefront of protecting fundamental freedoms and democratic life in Canada. A wide variety of people, occupations and interests are represented in our membership. The Canadian Civil Liberties Education Trust, the CCLA’s education arm, has been engaged in public education since its inception in 1968.
Data Justice and Criminology Lab, Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Carleton University
The Data Justice and Criminology Lab, Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice (ICCJ), Carleton University is an interdisciplinary experiment in bringing together criminologists, data scientists, and community-based advocates. Our lab recognizes the power that data holds to inform policy, politics, and transformative social change. We are housed within the ICCJ at Carleton University, which is one of the longest running criminology programs in Canada. The ICCJ is housed within The Faculty of Public Affairs and promotes an interdisciplinary and critical understanding of crime, criminality, and processes of criminalization and punishment. Through the study of complex social issues, including transformative justice, practices of criminalization, surveillance, crime prevention, policing, courts, sentencing and correction, the ICCJ seeks to develop new knowledge to address regional and global challenges. The ICCJ seeks to support efforts to building better societies and attracts students and scholars who seek to interact with and bring positive change to the community and world around them.
Ethics and Technology Lab
The Ethics and Technology Lab at Queen’s University is an interdisciplinary setting where computer scientists trade skills with cognitive scientists, ethicists, and artists. We use data science tools, artificial intelligence models, philosophical analysis, and artistic praxis to address social and ethical issues in computing. Current areas of focus include challenging bias in AI methods, investigating authorship and creativity at the intersection of AI and art, providing digital tools for resisting targeted violence, and uncovering racism in medical practice. We welcome students interested not only in deeply understanding technical problems, but also co-constructing knowledge within their communities, and communicating effectively with policy makers and the public.
The Centre for Research & Innovation for Black Survivors of Homicide Victims (The CRIB)
The Centre for Research & Innovation for Black Survivors of Homicide Victims (The CRIB) is a multidisciplinary research centre, located within the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto. Using community-engaged methods and principles, the CRIB is designed to advance research, policy and practice FOR and in collaboration WITH Black survivors of homicide victims across our global communities. The CRIB is grounded in a principle commitment to develop and adopt culturally responsive approaches to research, policy and practice that inform and create sustainable opportunities for Black communities to thrive in the face of adverse and traumatic tragedy as a result of experiences with homicide.
The Empowerment Council
The Empowerment Council (EC) acts as a voice for the collective community of mental health and addiction service users primarily in the Toronto area and at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). The EC is a non-profit organization independent of CAMH and responsible to its members and board. Their history as an organisation is founded on the work, activism and scholarship of people who have firsthand experience of mental health, and addiction system(s). The EC brings service users together to engage and mobilize knowledge to advocate for rights and systemic change. Through education, consultation and advocacy work, we aim to empower clients and make services and policies more equitable, respectful and accountable.
Women's Health in Women's Hands Community Health Centre
Women's Health In Women's Hands is a Community Health Centre for racialized women living in Toronto and surrounding municipalities. Their primary health care team of highly skilled health care professionals specialize in the health and wellness needs of racialized women and prioritizes those from African, Caribbean, Latin American and South Asian communities. Their services are fully accessible and designed to address the barriers that prevent women from being in excellent health.
Maggie's Toronto Sex Workers Action Project
Maggie's Toronto Sex Worker's Action Project is one of Canada's oldest by and for sex worker support organizations and one of the first sex worker organizations globally to receive government funding. Founded in 1986, Maggie's was established on the belief that sex work is real, legitimate and valuable work. They believe that whether sex workers choose to stay or leave their industries, they all deserve to live with safety, dignity and respect.
JusticeTrans is an organization run by trans people for trans people and was founded on the belief that everyone, regardless of identity or lived experience, should have access to justice. Their approach centres principles of decolonization, anti-oppression, transformative social justice, intersectionality, mutual aid, and accessibility. They acknowledge that many Two Spirit, trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming (2STNBGN) individuals face additional barriers to accessing justice due to intersecting marginalized identities and lived experiences, and they seek to prioritize these voices within the organization’s work and leadership
Aboriginal Legal Services
Aboriginal Legal Services (formerly Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto) was established on February 21, 1990. ALS was formed following a need for a legal related program for Aboriginal people living in the Greater Toronto Area. Their mission is to strengthen the capacity of the Aboriginal community and its citizens to deal with justice issues and provide Aboriginal controlled and culturally based justice alternatives.
Frequently Asked Questions
This project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and benefits from the generous expertise and assistance provided by many academic partners at The CRIB and the Data Justice and Criminology Lab. The CRIB and Data Justice and Criminology Lab financially support research assistants to provide dedicated project support to ensure data quality and rigour.