Wortley Report Recommendations Update

September 30, 2021

The Halifax, Nova Scotia:  Street Checks Report [PDF], also known as the “Wortley Report” was commissioned by the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission (NSHRC). The NSHRC selected Professor Scot Wortley, University of Toronto, to review all available data, consult stakeholders and to provide a report with recommendations. Dr. Wortley examined the relationship between race and street checks in Halifax Regional Municipality, the report was divided into four sections: Ban street checks; Regulate street checks if a ban was not possible; Data collection and maintaining information; Community relations.

The Halifax Board of Police Commissioners (BOPC) attended the release of the Wortley Report examining the impact of street checks in late March 2019. Two years of data review, focus groups, community meetings and interviews revealed that Black people are grossly over-represented in police street check statistics informed this report.

The Commission plays an important role in ensuring that the recommendations outlined in this report are met. The Commission has actively monitored the progress of change including developing a tracking document for Halifax Regional Police (HRP) and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Halifax District to report on progress; requesting that HRP and RCMP, Halifax District create a public awareness campaign to give citizens the information they needed to make a complaint and request their street check data; since November 2019 the Commission’s monthly meetings have included the regular standing agenda item “HRM Wortley Report Recommendations"; and others. 

Recommendations Update 

Tracking Document: 

The tracking document details each recommendation and its status. Some of the recommendations were specifically related to HRP and RCMP, Halifax District and others to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and NSHRC. Many recommendations apply across the province and require broader provincial input. Some recommendations required the collaboration of all organizations working together. The tracking document will continue to be updated, as recommendations move forward. Reports on recruitment and training with a lens on cultural competency and anti-black racism training continue.

When reviewing the tracking document below, please note the following:

  • The document includes the recommendations on banning street checks, data collection and police community relations. 
  • Since street checks were banned by the Minister of Justice in October 2019, the recommendations for regulating street checks have not been included.  
  • The document encompasses the actions undertaken on the recommendations that were the responsibility of BOPC, RCMP and HRP.  
  • It is not appropriate for the BOPC to comment on the recommendations that were the responsibility of others, so no comments/updates or status have been included for these recommendations.
  • Some of the recommendations have been marked as complete, but some of those related to training, engagement, recruitment and improving cultural competency will be ongoing multi-year commitments. 

This update does not signify the end of the work but does provide a different perspective under which policing is planned and implemented in HRM.  This means that while some of the recommendations may be marked as complete, there has been a shift in thinking that will be incorporated as part of our work, and the work of the HRP and RCMP in future.  Policies, processes and decisions have been impacted by this report, and the BOPC will continue to work within its mandate with its policing partners to ensure that this continues.

A significant amount of work has occurred and continues to occur in response to the Wortley Report.  This would not have been possible without the BOPC, RCMP and HRP being committed to working together to address the findings of the report, and the BOPC thanks all for their continued efforts.  

This is an unprecedented time of social justice reform and the Wortley Report is one part of the work that needs to be done. The BOPC will continue to work with HRP, RCMP and other stakeholders to bring about meaningful change and the equitable treatment of all residents of HRM.

Wortley Report Recommendations Tracking Document [PDF]

In April 2021 the Commission decided that it would like to prepare a two-year update summarizing the progress of the Wortley Report recommendations: 

Board of Police Commissioners Two-Year Wortley Report Summary (September 2021) [PDF]