Employers will be getting less information in criminal record checks under new regulations

Mar 4, 2016

Does your organization perform criminal record checks on potential employees and volunteers? If so, Ontario Bill 113 may affect your hiring practices.

Often these criminal record checks are used to ensure that potential hires are honest and trustworthy. Typically, employers are performing criminal record checks for positons where the employee will have access to large sums of money, high security clearance or will be working with vulnerable people such as children and seniors.

Over the past few years, many issues have been raised in regards to the information that was being released in these record reports. There was no standardized procedure of what information would be released by police agencies across the province. Often employers were receiving a variety of non-conviction information including documentation of mental health issues, suicide attempts, complaints where no actual chargers were laid, charges where acquittals were received, etc. Basically, a lot of private information about individuals was being released that had nothing to do with criminal convictions. The release of this information was creating barriers for individuals seeking employment, volunteer and education opportunities.

Bill 113 –  Police Record Checks Reform Act, 2015 

Bill 113, which received Royal Assent on December 3, 2015 (but is not yet in effect), will standardize the information that is released by police agencies across the province. It establishes 3 categories of criminal record checks:

  • Criminal Record Checks;
  • Criminal Record and Judicial matters checks; and
  • Vulnerable sector checks

Non-conviction information will not be disclosed in criminal record checks. However, non-conviction information may be released in a vulnerable sector check if it meets specific criteria outlined in the Act. If a pardon has been granted, a conviction will not be disclosed regardless of the category.

The Act also stipulates that the individual must first receive the results of the records check and the records check will only be provided to the organization requesting the records after the individual has seen the results and provided written consent to release them. The individual has the right to request reconsideration after receiving the report if he/she disputes the information contained in the report.

Lessons to be Learned:

  1. Employers will no longer receive information related to mental health.
  2. The record check process will likely take longer given that the individual must approve the release after reviewing the result.
  3. If an individual requests reconsideration, the process could be delayed further, which may affect start dates.

If you have any questions about criminal record checks for employees, please contact us at 647-204-8107 or by email at [email protected]

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