The Government of Ontario has promised to pursue legislative change to ensure that non-conviction information is not disclosed on police record checks. Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario applauds this decision and looks forward to legislative developments in the New Year. The issue of police record checks has been gaining momentum over the last year. Several stories have surfaced that demonstrate the detrimental impact that routine release of police-held information can have on individuals’ lives. For example, mental health calls to 911 have appeared in police checks for individuals seeking employment.
Non-conviction records can include information on police contact as a result of an apprehension under the Mental Health Act as well as charges that are withdrawn or stayed because of a mental health court diversion. The disclosure of mental health police records can negatively impact a person’s mental health and wellness and impede their recovery by:
- Contributing to the stigma of mental health issues.
- Creating barriers to accessing job placements, volunteer positions, schools and school-related placements.
- Preventing people’s ability to travel freely to the U.S. or other countries that have access to these records.
“Mental health police records are not criminal records and should not be treated as such,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO, CMHA Ontario. “We are encouraged by today’s news and look forward to ongoing dialogue on a legislative solution to this important issue.”
CMHA Ontario is a Co-Chair of the Police Records Check Coalition, a group of more than 30 people and organizations comprising health law and human rights legal experts and representatives from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Ontario Association of Patient Councils, the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario and the John Howard Society of Ontario.
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