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Approval of high-risk technologies under the Toronto Police Services Board's Policy on the use of artificial intelligence technology

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January 10, 2024

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Ann Morgan
Toronto Police Services Board
40 College Street
Toronto, ON M5G 2J3


Dear Chair Morgan,

Re: Approval of high-risk technologies under the Toronto Police Services Board's Policy on the use of artificial intelligence technology

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) welcomes the Toronto Police Services Board’s (TPSB) update on its implementation of the Policy on Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technology (AI Policy), as well as the inventory of technologies and the details of their use by the Toronto Police Service (TPS), which will be presented at the TPSB meeting on January 11, 2024.

This is an important update, as it identifies AI technologies used by the TPS and their respective risk levels. In particular, the AI Inventory in Appendix B of the update identifies one facial recognition technology used by the TPS that is "high risk".

During the TPSB’s consultations to develop its Use of AI policy, the OHRC identified facial recognition technologies as raising serious human rights concerns given their potential to exacerbate, perpetuate or even initiate discriminatory practices. These concerns were also recently noted in Impact to Action, the OHRC’s final report into anti-Black racism by the TPS.

Section 19 of the TPSB’s AI policy responds to safety concerns regarding the use of high and moderate risk technologies and states that the Chief of Police:

Will report to the Board, as soon as it is identified, concerning any AI technology in use by the Service prior to the adoption of this Policy, which is deemed to be of High or Moderate risk, including:

  1. the reason that the AI technology was deemed to be of this risk level, and,
  2. a plan to:
    1. pause the use of the AI technology within no longer than three months,
    2. evaluate the risk and any potential harms resulting from the use of the AI technology,
    3. develop a mitigation plan, and
    4. seek the approval of the Board for the continued use of this AI technology;

It is unclear whether the materials provided for the update are meant to constitute the report to the Board regarding high or moderate risk AI technologies as set out in Section 19. The OHRC is not aware of any publicly available report for an assessment of the high-risk technology identified, or of any planned pause in the use of the technology to seek approval from the TPSB for its continued use.

If the Chief is seeking approval for the continued use of the identified high-risk technologies, the materials currently available for the Board meeting do not appear to provide sufficient information about the TPS’s plan to

  1. pause the use of the technology,
  2. evaluate the risk of any potential harms resulting from the use of the technology, and
  3. provide a comprehensive plan to mitigate identified risks.

Failure to address these elements of Section 19 significantly increases the risk of potential violations of the Ontario Human Rights Code.

If the materials currently provided are solely for risk identification purposes, the OHRC looks forward to reviewing the full assessment report and plan, as required by section 19 of the TPSB’s AI policy.

We are aware that transparency and public consultations regarding these assessments are important to ensure public trust in policing and implementation of a human rights approach. Thus, the OHRC encourages the TPS and TPSB to take these important steps as soon as possible.

The OHRC was pleased to provide its input in developing the TPSB’s Use of AI policy and is happy to assist the TPS and TPSB in the implementation of that policy, to ensure the safe use of AI in policing.



Patricia DeGuire
Chief Commissioner

c.c. Dubi Kanengisser, Executive Director, Toronto Police Services Board