Judicialization of homelessness in Montreal: Alarming evidence of increased social profiling (2012–2019)

This study is in line with previous studies that we have conducted on social profiling and the use of municipal by-laws to judicialize homelessness in Montréal since 1994. Specifically, we identified and analyzed 50,727 statements of offence issued in Montréal between 2012 and 2019 pursuant to municipal by-law c. P-1 concerning peace and order and STM by-laws R-036 and R-105 against individuals who provided the address of an organization that offers services to the homeless when required to by a police officer. This data was thus extracted by the Municipal Court using the civic addresses of community organizations and rooming houses servicing the homeless. As such, the data only represents the tip of the iceberg of the judicialization of homelessness.

The study’s findings are numerous, but they all point to a worsening of the situation with respect to social profiling by police officers of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM), despite various official statements and policies aimed at putting an end to profiling practices. We show that homeless individuals are victims of social profiling in the streets of Montréal where they are primarily targeted for their use of alcohol or drugs in the public space and public drunkenness.

Publication Date: 
Montreal, QC, Canada