Individuals living in Ontario who have never been convicted of a criminal offence and therefore do not have a criminal record may still have information disclosed about them pursuant to a police record check.
Non-conviction information, despite not being representative of a criminal offence conviction, may nonetheless greatly negatively affect an individual's job prospects, educational advancement, volunteer placements or other opportunities requiring criminal record checks .
Non-criminal offence conviction information that may be disclosed pursuant to a criminal record check includes:
criminal charges that were withdrawn;
mental-health crises that resulted in a police intervention or a 911 call;
domestic assault 911 calls.
Many people living in Ontario believe that the practice of disclosing such information is discriminatory and unfair to people who have non-conviction records, as these people are legally innocent.
The negative impact of a non-conviction record can be detrimental to individuals' potential opportunities.
As a result of the current practice of non-conviction disclosure, a vast number of Canadians are vulnerable to seeing their ambitions crushed, reputations ruined and career advancement limited.
As a result, finally in December 2015, Ontario legislature in voted to pass unanimously the Police Records Check Reform Act (PRCRA).
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PRCRA is to impose stricter limits on the information that could be disclosed by the police pursuant to a Police Record Check, prioritizing individual privacy over disclosure.
However, unusually, more than two years after that legislation was passed it has yet to be proclaimed into law.
The reason for the delay is according to Ontarios's Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services is that the new regulations are still being designed.
There is fear that with the provincial elections looming, the Police Record Check Reform Act will not become law before a new provincial government is elected.
Consequent to this delay the old practice of disclosing non-conviction pursuant to police record checks is still in practice.
This practice can negatively impact vulnerable members of society more. People with mental health problems are especially vulnerable. There are many documented cases of people who have called 911 in relation to a mental health crisis being discriminated against for employment and educational opportunities.
A criminal record can be detrimental to an individual's future aspirations, however, someone with a criminal record may still apply for a pardon.
A pardon allows someone who has a criminal conviction to apply to have the condition removed from their record.
However, there is no similar process for people who have not been convicted of a criminal offence such as young offenders but nonetheless still have a damaging non-conviction record.
The Ontario Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination against people who are pardoned of crimes.
The Ontario Human Rights Code does not have any provisions to to protect people who have been charged but never convicted of a criminal offence. These people are legally innocent and have never been afforded due process to defend themselves, yet still suffer the consequences of having a police record on file.
Many people feel that the province of Ontario should extend the human rights code protections to include people with non-conviction records immediately.
If you have been charged with a criminal offence please call Kostman and Pyzer today for your free consultation!