- An individual may wish to have their non-conviction record suppressed. During the application process for employment, volunteer positions or academic positions within certain organizations, applicants might find themselves subject to the Police Reference Check Program as a condition of their hiring or acceptance.
- A record of a non-conviction on file could potentially discourage future employment, volunteer and educational opportunities.
- In Ontario the Police Reference Check Program takes place on three levels. The third and most thorough check is the Police Vulnerable Sector Check – the PVSC — intended to assess the suitability of the applicant for positions within organizations where they would hold a position of trust or authority in relation to vulnerable persons (children under 18, people who are dependent on others because of age, disability or circumstance, or people otherwise at a greater risk than the general population).
- PVSC is a search of the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) and other local databases for records made by any police service in Canada, and a release of convictions as well as certain non-conviction records to the applicant.
- Having a non-conviction information revealed pursuant to Police Record Check might be a barrier from future employment, volunteer and educational opportunities
What is the The Police Record Check Reform Act?
- The previous Police Record Check procedures, particularly PVSC’s were widely criticized as a violation of multiple human rights, both in The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Ontario Human Rights Code.
- In an effort to address these criticisms, Ontario introduced the Police Record Checks Reform Act (PRCRA), amending the information revealed from Police Record Checks and the ways in which employers conduct criminal background checks, including PVSC.
- The PRCRA received Royal Assent on December 3rd, 2015, but has not yet come into force
- The PRCRA speaks to the intentions of the legislature in regard to the disclosure of non-conviction records
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Changes Introduced With Police Record Check Reform Act:
The three categories of record checks have been re-established:
1. Criminal record checks
2. Criminal record and judicial matters checks; and
3. Police vulnerable sector checks
- The PRCRA established province-wide standards governing the type of information that can be disclosed by police in response to police record checks
- Non-criminal record information entered into the police data bases as result of street checks, “carding” or incidents relating to mental health are no longer disclosed in PVSCs.
- Convictions for which a pardon has been granted will generally not be disclosed, although there is an exception where disclosure is authorized under the Criminal Records Act (Canada).
- The disclosure of “non-conviction information” will only occur pursuant to PVSC
Police Vulnerable Sector Checks will disclose the following non-conviction information:
- Criminal offences for which an absolute or conditional discharge has been granted
- Criminal offences for which there are outstanding charges or warrants
- Court orders made against individuals
- Criminal offences that resulted in a finding of “not criminally responsible” on account of mental disorder
- Subsection 10(4) of the PRCRA provides that the individual may request a reconsideration of the disclosure.
Pursuant to the PRCRA the following is the process for applying to have non-conviction records suppressed for the purpose of vulnerable sector checks as found on the The Toronto Police website:
Reconsideration Process – Non Conviction Records for Vulnerable Sector Checks
- An applicant may seek to have non-conviction information excluded from the results of a reference check so that this information is suppressed for the purposes of a Vulnerable Sector Screening Police Reference Check.
- Such a request must be made by the individual in writing and submitted to:
Toronto Police Service
Records Management Services
Attn: Reconsideration Panel
40 College Street
All of the following information will be considered by the Service in processing a request for the exclusion of records:
- The seriousness of the alleged behaviour.
- The passage of time since the record was created.
- Relationship between the applicant and any victim or complainant (position of trust or authority).
- Age of the victim or complainant.
- The strength of the evidence (aggravating or mitigating), including whether the victim or complainant has made similar complaints against others.
- Other contact the applicant has had with the police.
- The need to balance the privacy rights and the right to employment of the applicant with the need to protect the vulnerable sector.
- The applicant will be informed in writing of the decision of the Service in response to his or her request for reconsideration.
- If the individual is dissatisfied with the response provided, the individual may seek to appeal the decision by the Reconsideration Panel within 30 days.
- The individual may provide additional information to address the factors in regards to this appeal.