Employers who actively use police record checks as a part of the hiring process need to be aware of recent changes. Starting November 1, 2018 changes made under the Ontario’s Police Record Checks Reform Act will be in force. Previously, police record checks were not regulated in Ontario. With the new Reform Act in force, the police record checks process becomes standardized across Ontario for all employers.
This Reform Act covers:
- Criminal records check,
- Criminal Record and Judicial matters checks; and
- vulnerable sector checks.
The Reform Act now requires consent at two stages of police record checks. The first stage includes consent from the employee to conduct the particular type of check and the second stage requires consent to the police record check provider to provide a copy of this results to the employer.
These changes also limit the information given to employers upon conducting a police record check to what is necessary and relevant. Information such as mental health detentions and non-conviction information will not be disclosed unless deemed necessary. Unless the check reveals information that meets the criteria for “exceptional disclosure” it will not be disclosed. The criteria for an exceptional disclosure are as follows: 1) the offence is listed in the Regulations 2) the alleged victim was a child or a vulnerable person 3) the police record check provider has reasonable grounds to believe the individual presents a risk of harm to a child or vulnerable person.
Lessons for Employers
- If employers are directly engaged in conducting police record check, they must ensure consent is received at both stages in the process.
- The record check process will likely take longer given that the individual must approve the release after reviewing the result.
- Not being aware of these policies will be costly to employers, note that any employer or person that willfully contravenes certain sections of the Reform Act can be liable for a fine of up to $5,000.
If you have any questions about employee hiring or police record checks, you can contact MacLeod Law Firm at 647-204-8107 or at [email protected]
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