(Toronto, Nov. 1, 2018) – Today is a milestone in the effort to reduce stigma and discrimination for people who’ve experienced a mental health crisis and come into contact with police. Today, Ontario’s Police Records Check Reform Act comes into effect.
This means that police are not permitted to disclose non-conviction mental health records, including those that stem from apprehensions under the Mental Health Act.
The Police Records Check Reform Act also means that non-conviction mental health records will no longer appear on police record checks.
“The protection of privacy rights for non-conviction records is something Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario and our partners had been advocating about for over a decade,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO, CMHA Ontario. “We congratulate the provincial government for the implementation of the Police Records Check Reform Act.”
The sharing of non-conviction information between policing or government agencies was particularly harmful as it did not directly benefit the individual in crisis but instead created barriers for that person.
People have been turned down for volunteer work, jobs, school placements and cross-border travel because authorities shared non-conviction records and personal mental health information showed up on police record checks.
“The intersection of policing and mental health is a challenging issue,” Quenneville said. “We appreciate that police have a challenging job and we encourage officers to use mental health information for positive outcomes.”
For example, a police service that shares mental health information internally with officers about a specific person could result in a coordinated response to provide mental health services and supports to that individual.
- People with mental health conditions experience stigma, discrimination and social exclusion that significantly impacts on their lives.
- In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental illness or addiction problem.
- By the time Canadians reach 40 years of age, 1 in 2 have – or have had – a mental illness.
About Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario is a not-for-profit, charitable organization funded by the provincial Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. We work to improve the lives of all Ontarians through leadership, collaboration and continual pursuit of excellence in community-based mental health and addictions services. Our vision is a society that embraces and invests in the mental health of all people. We are a trusted advisor to government, contributing to health systems development through policy formulation and recommendations that promote positive mental health. Our 30 local CMHA branches, together with community-based mental health and addictions service providers across the province, serve approximately 500,000 Ontarians each year.
For more information, contact:
Communications, Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario
T: 416-977-5580, ext. 4141