The Black Legal Action Centre (BLAC) is a not-for-profit corporation incorporated under the laws of Ontario to combat individual and systemic anti-Black racism by providing legal services to members of Ontario’s Black communities. BLAC provides legal representation to clients with low or no income that identify as Black or African Canadian, including matters related to housing and shelter, income maintenance, social assistance, and other similar government programs, including human rights, health, employment, and education. BLAC engages in test case litigation; law reform; and community development; we deliver summary legal advice, brief services, and public legal education.
The experiences of Black Canadians today are rooted in our country’s history of colonialism, slavery and segregation. Indeed, the issues that besiege the Black community as a result of this history of oppression and resulting anti-Black racism are long-standing, numerous, and daunting. The Black community’s relationship with the police is one area of Black life that is fraught with distrust1 as a direct consequence of violence, unjust criminalization, over-incarceration and often death. To this end, a recent report released by the Ontario Human Rights Commission reveals staggering over-representations of Black people in use of force cases. Despite comprising only 8.8% of Toronto’s total population, Black people account for 70% of fatal police shootings,36% of police shootings, 61.5% of deadly encounters and 28.8% of use of force cases.2 These disparities are unacceptable.