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Street Checks

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Starting January 1, 2017, in certain circumstances, police must follow new rules about when and how they can ask someone to identify themselves.  

For the most up to date information on Street Checks please visit ontario.ca/streetchecks.

When new rules apply

New rules apply if an officer asks you to identify yourself when they are:

  • looking into suspicious activities
  • gathering intelligence
  • investigating general criminal activity in the community

New rules for street checks do not apply if the officer is:

  • talking to a driver during a traffic stop
  • arresting or detaining you
  • executing a warrant
  • investigating a specific crime

 

Street Checks information poster

The rules and what they mean for you

As of January 1, 2017, if a police officer asks you for ID in a situation when the rules apply, they must:

  • have a reason, which cannot be:
    • based on race
    • arbitrary (not meaningful)
    • only because you are in a high-crime area
    • because you refused to answer a question or walked away
  • tell you why they want your identifying information
  • tell you that you can refuse to give identifying information
  • offer you a receipt - even if you refuse to share information - that includes:
    • the officer's name
    • the officer's badge number
    • how to contact the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, which handles complaints about police in Ontario
    • who to contact to access personal information about you that the police service has on file
  • keep detailed records of their interaction with you - even if you refuse to share information

If a police officer does not follow these rules, it is a Code of Conduct violation under the Police Services Act and they may be disciplined.

Exceptions

In rare cases, if following the rules above could negatively affect an investigation, threaten public safety or force officers to reveal confidential information, police officers may not have to:

  • tell you why they are asking for information - for example, the reason involves a tip from a confidential informant
  • tell you that you have the right to refuse giving ID - for example, the officer suspects a car passenger may be a victim of human trafficking
  • give you a receipt from the interaction - for example, the officer receives an urgent call for service and must quickly end the interaction

In these cases the officer must record their reason for not following the rule.

For the most up to date information on Street Checks please visit ontario.ca/streetchecks