In 2003, the concepts of racial and social or unlawful profiling emerged in reference to a type of discrimination that occurs in interventions by people in positions of authority who are acting for safety, security or public protection purposes.

In 2004, the SPVM developed a policy “Relations avec les citoyens” (citizen relations policy) to maintain public trust and enforce the laws and by-laws in effect, particularly under the Canadian and Québec charters of rights and freedoms, as well as the Code of ethics of Québec police officers.

This policy prohibits racial and social profiling in police work while allowing police to use criminal profiling.

This policy was updated in 2012.


2004 to 2006: Policy and vigilance structure adopted

  • In 2004, the SPVM was the first police force in Canada to adopt a citizen relations policy to define the concepts of racial and unlawful profiling and proscribe it.
  • A civilian strategic advisor was hired to guide the SPVM in the development of knowledge and measures to prevent racial and social profiling.
  • A vigilance structure was established to encourage bridge-building with various cultural communities and develop a better understanding of their realities and needs.
  • An expert committee on racial and social profiling was created, made up of citizens representing different communities, with the mandate to advise the SPVM on this issue.

2005 to today: Participation in the Ministère de la Sécurité publique racial profiling committee

  • The mandate of the provincial Comité sectoriel issu du milieu policier sur le profilage racial is to help monitor the implementation of measures under the Ensemble nous sommes le Québec immigration, participation and inclusion action strategy, developed by the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration, which guides Québec’s actions on immigration, diversity and living together.
  • The committee also ensures that Québec police services are aware of best practices related to the prevention, awareness and monitoring of racial and social profiling and encourages them to adopt them.

2007 to 2011: Action plan on developing cultural competencies

  • Implementation of the “L’intervention policière dans une société en changement” (police intervention in a changing society) action plan on the development of intercultural competencies (2007–2010). The main objective of this action plan is to confirm the SPVM’s racial profiling commitment through sustained training on intercultural competencies, the identification of at-risk behaviours, monitoring and staff support.
  • In 2009, creation of the mobile reference and intervention team for the homeless (ÉMRII) which works with homeless people who are involved in repeated police interventions. It is a second-line service made up of six police officers and four outreach workers from the CIUSSS Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal. This multidisciplinary team works together to find solutions for the complex and recurring problems experienced by the homeless population of Montréal.

2012 to 2017: Strategic plan concerning racial and social profiling

  • Implementation of the 2012–2014Des valeurs partagées, un intérêt mutuel” (Shared values, mutual interest) strategic plan, which focuses on three issues: fostering ethical and non-discriminatory behaviours, maintaining the trust and respect of the community and taking action on inappropriate behaviours.
  • Implementation of the citizen-based approach (2013), which symbolizes the SPVM’s desire to strengthen community relationships and its determination to better understand local dynamics by creating a space where citizens and police officers can discuss the issues that affect neighbourhood life. It results in greater sensitivity to public needs, increased engagement and a service offering that better reflects the realities of each sector served by a neighbourhood police station (PDQ).
  • Development of a global, multisector approach with vulnerable or marginalized groups:
    • In 2012, implementation of the psychosocial emergency support team (ÉSUP) which is made up of SPVM officers and social workers from the CIUSSS Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal. These teams work directly on the front line with people in crisis or facing problems related to their mental health.
    • In 2015, training of specialized local officers to intervene in crisis (RIC) or de-escalation situations, to respond to calls involving a person in a severe or acute crisis.
  • For citizen services, satisfaction monitoring and the identification of at-risk behaviours:
    • Creation of the security and integrity division (DSI) to equip and support police officers who exhibit at-risk behaviours.
    • Creation of the citizen service bureau (BSC) to centralize all complaints and requests for information from Montrealers and follow up with the units in question.

2017: City of Montréal public consultation on racial and social profiling

Participation in the public review of the Bilan général des actions de l’agglomération de Montréal pour lutter contre le profilage racial et le profilage social 2012–2016 (general report on actions against racial and social profiling), under the joint leadership of the Commission sur le développement social et la diversité montréalaise and the Commission sur la sécurité publique.

2018: Second strategic plan concerning racial and social profiling

Listen, Understand, Act” (2018–2021), a strategic plan for police officers to prevent racial and social profiling, provide tools to managers, inspire the public’s trust in the SPVM and ensure the transparency of its practices.

This plan included recommendations made to the SPVM after the public review of the Bilan général des actions de l’agglomération de Montréal pour lutter contre le profilage racial et le profilage social 2012–2016 and took into consideration the recommendations made after the evaluation of the first plan (2012–2014).

2019: “Les interpellations policières à la lumière des identités racisées des personnes interpellées”               report (street checks in light of the racialized identities of the people stopped)

The purpose of this report was to use data generated by the SPVM in its activities to identify quantitative indicators concerning street checks related to the racialized identity of the people stopped, which could be updated and published annually to document this issue transparently.

Based on the recommendations issued by the researchers in the report, the SPVM made a commitment to:

  • Adopt a policy on street check practices
  • Deploy a team of officers specialized in interventions with cultural communities and people with special needs
  • Update all policies and procedures to include the concept of systemic bias
  • Continue to work with researchers to understand, beyond the numbers, the organizational causes for the disparity in street checks, in order to target and change them
  •  Hire an external body to survey the public on the relationship between the police and the cultural communities

2020: The SPVM acknowledges that there is systemic discrimination in its organization.

On July 8, the SPVM published its street check policy.

For the first time, a Québec police force issued a framework for street checks, an activity carried out daily by patrollers, and established that street checks must be based on observable factors, not discriminatory motives. The success of this policy relies largely on keeping our information systems up to date to adequately document street checks. This will allow us to contextualize street checks and make any required changes.

Four related measures were also put in place, along with the policy:

  • A team of street check coaches was set up to support patrollers and investigators in the field to encourage the adoption of the policy.
  • A second mandate was given to the independent researchers to continue to provide neutral, external oversight that will allow the SPVM to adjust the policy on the basis of scientific observations.
  • Sociologist Frédéric Boisrond will serve as an independent strategic advisor for the SPVM. His advice will provide a critical eye to encourage the questioning of the organization’s practices.
  • New management processes for individual ethnocultural profiling behaviours will be introduced to support supervisors and managers. These additional coaching measures will be added to the existing mechanisms to ensure services are free from any form of discrimination, whether systemic or individual.



To have a common understanding of this concept, the SPVM endorses the following definition of racial and social profiling from the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse du Québec (CDPDJ):

Racial profiling 

Any action taken by one or more people in authority with respect to a person or group of persons, for reasons of safety, security or public order, that is based on actual or presumed membership in a group defined by race, colour, ethnic or national origin or religion, without factual grounds or reasonable suspicion, that results in the person or group being exposed to differential treatment or scrutiny.

Racial profiling includes any action by a person in a situation of authority who applies a measure in a disproportionate way to certain segments of the population on the basis, in particular, of their racial, ethnic, national or religious background, whether actual or presumed.

Social profiling 

Any action taken by one or several persons of authority toward a person or group of people, for reasons of safety, security or public protection, which is based on elements of discrimination other than racial, as stated in section 10 of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms (Québec), such as social condition, and which subjects the individual to differential examination or treatment, without actual justification or reasonable suspicions.

Criminal profiling

Criminal profiling is a legitimate police practice used to identify a suspect (regardless of visible features); this practice is used after obtaining information linked to a criminal activity committed by a person (or persons) that meet a certain description and whose behaviours (modus operandi) have been observed before, during or after perpetrating a crime.

Citizen Relations Policy

In French:

Policy on Police checks

Strategic and Action Plans

In French:

English version: