Street check moratorium: pedestrians and motor vehicle passengers

There is a moratorium on street checks of pedestrians and motor vehicle passengers until further notice.

We’re changing street check practices in Nova Scotia to better protect individual liberties and maintain public safety.

Respectful interactions between police and citizens are essential to safe communities and effective policing.  All Nova Scotians deserve respect and equal treatment.

The moratorium makes it clear all police activity must be free of discrimination.

What the moratorium means

The moratorium includes specific definitions for some of the terms it uses.

Street check means an interaction between police and a person for the purpose of collecting and recording identifying information for general intelligence purposes.

Identifying information means any information which, alone or in combination with other information, can be used to identify an individual, and includes information about an individual’s race, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or family status, socioeconomic circumstances, and education, medical, psychiatric, psychological, criminal or employment history.

Suspicious activity means any activity where, under all of the circumstances, there are objective, credible grounds to request identifying information.

What police can do

If you’re a pedestrian or a passenger in a motor vehicle, police can only collect and record your identifying information if they obtain it while:

  • inquiring into suspicious activity—police must try to dismiss their suspicions before collecting identifying information
  • investigating offences
  • executing warrants

If you’re a passenger in a motor vehicle, police can also collect and record your identifying information during a motor vehicle stop if:

  • you own the vehicle
  • you’re supervising the driver, who’s a licensed learner or newly licensed driver

Police can still:

  • stop motor vehicles to confirm the driver’s licence, insurance, registration, vehicle safety and sobriety
  • engage in respectful interactions with community members, as long as they don’t record  any identifying information that’s shared

How to file a complaint

Municipal police

You can file a complaint about a municipal police officer or a municipal police department directly with the police agency, with the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner, or with the local board of police commissioners in the municipality where the incident occurred.

If you have any questions or need help filing a complaint, contact the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner:

Phone: 902-424-3246


You can file a complaint about a member of the RCMP by visiting the local detachment or going to the website for the Commission for Public Complaints.

Human Rights Commission

If you feel you've been discriminated against, you can also file a complaint with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.