The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has started hearing from migrant workers from Jamaica and other Caribbean countries who allege they were racially targeted by the Ontario Provincial Police as part of a DNA sweep in connection to a 2013 sexual assault investigation.
The 54 applicants argue that the indiscriminate manner in which the DNA sweep was conducted violated their rights under Ontario’s Human Rights Code.
Ontario police swabbed 96 migrant farm workers from mostly Caribbean countries working on at least five farms in Elgin County in 2013 as officers searched for a suspect in a sexual assault.
But human rights lawyer Shane Martínez, who is representing the migrant workers pro bono, says most workers who were swabbed did not fit the physical description of the suspect except for the colour of their skin.
The hearing which started on Monday is expected to last seven days.