What is Race and Identity Based Data (RIBD)?

Hamilton Police Service is committed to the promotion of equity, fairness and non-discriminatory policing in Hamilton.
In 2020, Ontario's Ministry of the Solicitor General directed police to record the race of individuals in use-of-force incidents. This revealed a higher incident rate in communities such as Black, South East Asian, and Middle Eastern compared to benchmark populations. We're implementing a strategy for Race and Identity Based Data Collection (RIBD) in line with the 2017 Anti-Racism Act (ARA). This will help us understand and address racial disparities.

To assist police services in this work, the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police brought a group of experts together including police leaders, the Ontario Human Rights Commission, academic experts and individuals with lived experience to create a framework.

We are now developing our own Hamilton Police RIBD strategy using this framework. Our goal is to ensure fair service to everyone in our community.

Follow our progress as we expand the types of data the Service collects and analyzes, continue to engage with members and communities, and co-develop and implement actions in response.


The first step is establishing a Community Advisory Panel (CAP). The CAP is a group of 8-10 volunteers that will support the development of the RIBD strategy, with the goal of incorporating real-world experiences, insights, and civilian viewpoints.

The CAP will include volunteers from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds. These members will bring the essential skills and perspectives necessary to develop and implement a comprehensive plan of activities and outcomes.

Joining the Community Advisory Panel

This is an opportunity for community members to contribute meaningfully to our RIBD strategies and operations, ensuring they reflect the diverse voices and experiences within Hamilton.

This is a chance to play a pivotal role in shaping a more equitable and inclusive future together.

Why Your Voice Matters

  • Diverse Perspectives: We believe that a diverse range of voices and experiences is crucial to understanding the unique challenges and needs of our community.
  • Data-Driven Change: Your insights will guide us in collecting and interpreting data related to race and identity, ensuring our practices and policies are equitable and effective.
  • Community Trust: By working together, we can build stronger bonds of trust between the Hamilton Police and the communities we serve.

Who Should Join?

  • Individuals passionate about data, social justice and community service.
  • Those with experience in human rights, procedural justice, and race and identity matters (i.e. racism, trauma, bias).
  • Individuals with a diversity of perspective and representative of all backgrounds and positionalities (including; but not limited to, race, ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, citizenship, and socio-economic status).  
  • Community members eager to contribute to positive change in policing and public safety.

Panel Responsibilities

  • Attend training sessions and discuss data collection strategies and outcomes.
  • Invest approximately 10 to 15 hours quarterly
  • Provide feedback on strategies to approach race and identity-based data collection, contextualization, and action planning.
  • Serve as a liaison between the police and the community, fostering open dialogue.

Benefits of Joining

  • Influence policies and practices that impact diverse communities.
  • Help shape equitable service-delivery.
  • An honorarium will be provided for your time.

How to Apply

We are looking for members who represent the rich diversity of Hamilton – all are welcome to apply.

Click here to begin the application process

Deadline: March 22, 2024.

Hamilton Police will be holding an RIBD Information Session.

Forging the Future: Charting a Course Towards Equitable Policing

Date: February 21, 2024

Time: 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Place: Marriott Upper James, 1224 Upper James St, Hamilton

Registration is free and dinner provided.

Register here

What is the purpose behind this work? Why are Hamilton Police collecting this data?

Hamilton Police, like all Services, are required to collect and report use of force incidents by perceived race under O.Reg 267/18 to support the goals of the Anti-Racism Act. Our data collection strategy focuses on understanding how police and community interactions affect racial disparities. By identifying the causes of these imbalances, we aim to address and reduce systemic issues.

Why is this work important?

We cannot fully understand or change what we do not measure. Our Race and Identity-Based Data (RIBD) Strategy will provide us with the ability to identify and address systemic racism in our policies and practices. It will also allow us to identify ways we can better support our members in their delivery of fair and equitable service.

What are some important facts we should know?

The Use of Force findings confirm that Black, Indigenous, and racialized people are over-represented in use-of-force incidents.

The RIBD strategy is meant to address issues of systemic racism and will not be used to further stigmatize communities. Instead, our analysis will help us adjust our policies and practices to eliminate systemic bias and identify areas where we can do better.

We are committed to continued engagement with our members and communities as we expand the types of data we collect and analyze, and co-develop actions in response.

What is systemic racism?

Systemic racism occurs when institutions or systems create or maintain racial inequity often as a result of hidden institutional biases in policies, practices, and procedures that privilege some groups and disadvantage others. It is the “normal ways of doing things” that are often unintended or unconscious and that have a negative impact on racialized people. That includes when members of Indigenous, Black, and racialized groups are singled out for greater scrutiny or different treatment.

Are there legal requirements for Hamilton Police to collect, analyze and report race-based data?

Yes, the Province’s Anti-Racism Act requires the public sector to collect race data. For policing, all services across Ontario must collect race data in all use-of-force reports. The Province’s Anti-Racism Data Standards guides the collection, management and analysis of race-based data.

Why do Hamilton Police collect data on an officer’s perception of race?

The Ministry of the Solicitor General mandates collecting information to understand systemic racial bias and systemic racism in policing by collecting officer perception of an individual’s race based on what they can observe about the individual with whom they are interacting.

Perception is important to understand unconscious biases, assumptions and other internal thought processes that may impact decision-making. This will help us to make improvements to our policies, procedures, practices and training.

How do you ensure the data is entered properly and accurately?

Police officers receive training on the proper use of the Hamilton Police Service internal records management system and reports. Additionally, interaction reports go through several internal checkpoints to ensure the data is recorded correctly and in accordance with legislation. Intentionally falsifying police records constitutes as misconduct.

What if how the officer perceives race is different from how someone self-identifies?

Perceived race is an important measurement to help us understand if we treat people fairly, regardless of how we perceive their race. The current legislation mandates the collection of perceived race and not self-identified race for use of force reporting.

Perceived race and self-identified race are two different things, although they may closely intersect for most people. Collecting self-identified race may complement understandings of what drives disparity within our community.

What is a racial disparity? What is a disproportionality?

Disproportionality is a measure of a racial group’s presence in an interaction and compares it to that group’s presence in the reference population. Disparity measures a racial group’s difference in outcomes by comparing it to the outcomes of another group.


Will communities be engaged and involved in the RIBD Strategy?

Yes. Community partnerships and collaboration are necessary to the success of the RIBD Strategy. We need to embed community perspectives and be informed by lived experiences in order for changes to stick and have real impact on the ground.

What is the Community Advisory Panel?

The RIBD Community Advisory Panel is a volunteer group of 8-10 citizens who will advise the Hamilton Police Service on creating the RIBD strategy.

The CAP will have representation from individuals with lived experience, passionate about data, social justice and community service. Specifically, the group will advise on the strategies to approach race and identity-based data collection, contextualization, and action planning.

They will be instrumental in shaping the terms of reference, strategizing, and determining the path forward.

How will you determine what data will be collected?

In 2020, the Ministry of the Solicitor General required police services to track the perceived race of individuals involved in UOF encounters with police. This data is reported annually through Hamilton Police Services Board meetings.

The CAP will work with the Service to determine what additional data should be collected.

How were front line officers engaged in the process?

Front line experiences and perspectives are necessary for the analyses to be meaningful, accurate, and useful. Engaging with Hamilton Police members is also a priority to ensure that changes have real and sustained impacts. We will be engaging with sworn and civilian members from all ranks and units in several ways, including Lunch and Learns, training and presentations.

How are Hamilton Police protecting personal privacy and confidentiality of individuals about whom the data is collected?

The protection of personal privacy and confidentiality is critically important to the Service’s RIBD Strategy. This means that prior to conducting analyses, the data containing race and identity data is made de-identified by removing any personal identifiers, such as occurrence numbers, names, birthdates, badge numbers and other information so that the data cannot be used to directly identify any individual member of the public or officer (i.e., anonymized data).

Data containing race and identity-based data are securely stored and access is restricted to designated staff with responsibilities to produce, manage, maintain and analyze the data under the Strategy.

 The Service regularly engages with Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, reviews guidance documents and orders to ensure our practices are in accordance with the best approaches to access, privacy and confidentiality. These best practices are embedded within policies.

Are Hamilton Police using race and identity-based data to identify individual officers?

The purpose of the RIBD Strategy is to identify and address systemic racial bias in our policies and practices. The analytical framework developed for the purpose of measuring systemic racism does not lend itself to identifying individual racism.

Submissions of Use of Force forms are reviewed by the Use of Force Sergeant and evaluated to ensure individual incidents meet Professional Standards. The Service has accountability measures in place to address individual racism, which is identified as misconduct.

How is HPS analyzing the data it collects under the RIBD Strategy?

To be transparent, fair and accountable for its analyses, the Service is approaching data analyses in several ways. First, the Service will continue consulting with communities, stakeholders, subject matter experts and internal members to develop an analysis framework that is guiding how we are looking at the data in a principled and open way that reflects understanding of community and policing contexts.

Secondly, a Community Advisory Panel (CAP) will be established to advise the Service on the collection, analyses and interpretation of results. This panel is comprised of diverse members of impacted communities with lived experiences and subject matter experts in community and research.

Will the public have access to race and identity-based data?

Yes. The Service is committed to transparency and accountability while protecting personal privacy and ensuring information security in compliance with privacy laws. The Strategy will provide publically available de-identified analytical datasets identified through the RIBD strategy. The Service will consider and balance the public interest in access to open data and protection of personal privacy to prevent any individuals from being identified in the data.

Under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, individuals continue to have access to their own personal information, including any race and identity based data, by submitting a request to the Access and Privacy Section.