Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Include Me Out!

Great news! The Hall-acious Ontario "Human Rights" Commission is set to launch another in its continuing series of "Big Sister is Watching You!" projects (because, heaven knows, we don't have nearly enough of them). This latest one involves collecting what the OHRC calls "human rights-based data" (data which, in a non-"human rights" context is often called "racial profiling"):
Media Advisory - OHRC, business and community leaders launch guide, say "yes" to collecting human rights-based data
TORONTO, March 22 /CNW/ - On Wednesday, March 24, 2010, senior business and community leaders will join the Ontario Human Rights Commission to launch "Count me in!". This new guide provides information and advice on collecting human rights-based data in a wide variety of sectors across Ontario. Featured speakers include Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall, KPMG CEO Bill Thomas, Scott Mullin, Vice President with TD Bank Financial Group, Ratna Omidvar, President of Maytree, and Noelle Richardson, Chief Diversity Officer with the Ontario Public Service.

Following the media launch, senior business and community leaders will share how collecting human rights-based data benefits their organizations, their communities and their business goals...
What the heck is "human rights-based data" when it's at home in its bathrobe and slippers? All is revealed on the OHRC site:
The Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”) permits the collection and analysis of data based on race and other grounds, provided that the data is collected for purposes consistent with the Code, such as to monitor discrimination, identify and remove systemic barriers, address historical disadvantage and promote substantive equality.
In the context of racial discrimination, data collection and analysis can be a necessary or even an essential tool for assessing whether rights under the Code are being or may be infringed and for taking corrective action. Therefore, it is the Commission’s position that there are situations that call for the collection and analysis of data about race and related grounds. Data collection and analysis should be undertaken where an organization has or ought to have reason to believe that discrimination, systemic barriers or the perpetuation of historical disadvantage may potentially exist. This must be assessed on an objective and subjective basis. The organization’s actual knowledge of a problem will be considered as will whether, from the point of view of a reasonable third party, the organization should have been aware of the problem.

I don't know about you, but it takes very little of this type of prose before my brain seizes up. So excuse me as I take a few seconds to shake out the fuzzies before I get to instances where gathering racialized data may be called for. Here, listen to this while you're  waiting...

...Okay. Ready now:
Some situations which may warrant data collection and analysis might include:
Persistent allegations or complaints of discrimination or systemic barriers;
A widespread public perception of discrimination or systemic barriers;
Data or research studies demonstrating discrimination or systemic barriers;
Observed inequality in the distribution or treatment of racialized persons within an organization; or
Evidence from other organizations or jurisdictions that a similar policy, program or practive has had a disproportionate effect on racialized persons.

Sounds to me like, in the wrong hands, such data could be used for bad, not good (say, to shake down owners of women's gyms who are, ahem, insufficiently equitable toward pre-op transexuals who wish to flaunt the family jewels in the change room). The same notion has apparently occurred to the OHRC, too (my bolds):
Data collection should be conducted in good faith with the goal of producing good-quality, accurate and meaningful data, rather than achieving a particular outcome. Accepted data collection techniques and proper research and design methodologies should be used.
I have a better idea: FIRE. THEM. ALL.


Jim R said...

Wasn't 'data collection', encouraging neighbors to report on neighbors and children to report on their parents, and keeping files on citizens, a Hitler idea, or was is Stalin instead?

This is really really scary stuff. Unbelievable!

scaramouche said...

The Ontario "Stasi" Human Rights Commission.

David in North Burnaby BC said...

Anyone who doubts that totalitarianism has gone from creeping to galloping needs to lay off the pipe.