CMHA Ontario applauds the government’s decision to stop a practice that acts as a potential barrier to individuals living with a mental health or addiction issue.
The Ministry of Transportation has announced that it will introduce a new policy on Jan. 1, 2018 that will stop the disclosure of expired medical suspensions on driver’s abstracts.
Previously, a medical suspension would appear on a driver’s abstract for three years, even if the suspension was served and there was no longer a medical issue.
Without the change, there is potential impact on individuals with mental health and addictions issues.
“We obviously don’t feel anyone struggling with mental health and addiction should be penalized in any way for past illnesses,” CMHA Ontario CEO Camille Quenneville told the Toronto Star.
This issue is similar to how police used non-criminal mental health records in the past, keeping the information and submitting it into databases accessed by other agencies such as border patrol.
In many cases, individuals were refused employment, educational opportunities or cross-border travel because the non-criminal mental health police record was shared without their knowledge.
CMHA Ontario’s advocacy work with the Police Records Check Coalition led to the government introducing the Police Records Check Reform Act in 2015. The act prohibits the collection and sharing of non-conviction information.