Bill 113, Police Record Checks Reform Act, 2015 (the “Act”) will come into effect in Ontario on November 1, 2018. The Act will standardize the process for conducting police record checks. Ontario Employers should therefore take steps now to ensure that their police record check policies and procedures are in compliance with the new standardized procedure introduced by the Act.
The new Act introduces a standardized framework of limited disclosure by:
- Requiring Two-Stage Consent to Conduct the Check: The Act requires that individuals give their written consent to conduct the check at the outset of the check and after receiving the results of the check.
- Defining Three Types of Record Checks: Ontario’s police services will be able to provide a criminal record check, a criminal record and judicial matters check and a vulnerable sector check.
- Specifying Information that Can be Disclosed: The Act specifies the type of information that a police record check provider can disclose in relation to each type of check. For instance, the Act only permits the disclosure of “non-conviction information” in response to a vulnerable sector check, provided the information satisfies the prescribed criteria for “exceptional disclosure”.
- Restricting the Use of Information: A police record check provider may not disclose information provided in the check except for the purpose for which it was requested or as authorized by law.
- Standardizing the Reconsideration Process: Under the Act an individual may make a request for a police record check provider to reconsider a determination with respect to any requirement set out in the Act.
In most cases the request for reconsideration must be made in writing, within 45 days after receiving the record, and can be accompanied by written submissions. The record check provider must reconsider its determination within 30 days of receiving the request and provide written reasons for its decision.
- Introducing Penalties for Non-Compliance: An organization or person that willfully contravenes certain sections of the Act can be liable for a fine of up to $5,000.
Takeaways for Employers
Employers should review their policies and practices for obtaining police record checks to ensure that they comply with the Act and Regulations. Employers should also take note of the following:
- Individuals will need to consent in writing to the specific type of check to be conducted as well as to the disclosure by the police record check provider of the information to the employer;
- Employers will only be permitted to use the results of the check for the purpose for which it was requested or as authorized by law;
- Employers will not have access to non-conviction information, unless they request a vulnerable sector check and the criteria for “exceptional disclosure” are satisfied;
- Employers may need to prepare for potential delays in receiving check information during the recruitment process.
For further information about this upcoming change please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-214-5111.
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