(Wednesday, June 3, 2015) – Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario welcomes today’s introduction of the Police Record Checks Reform Act (PRCRA) by the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, the Honourable Yasir Naqvi. The PRCRA outlines what can be disclosed by police officers on police records and regulates procedures on requesting, conducting and disclosing police record check information.
“Mental health police records are helpful when the information is used internally by police to assist a person experiencing a mental health crisis,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO of CMHA Ontario, at the launch of the legislation today. “But the disclosure of this information for other purposes can create barriers for people and increase mental health stigma. The Police Record Checks Reform Act marks a positive step towards ensuring that mental health police records are not treated like criminal records.”
The new legislation requires that written consent is given by the individual in order for the police to disclose the police record check information to another person or organization requesting the check.
CMHA Ontario was consulted during the drafting of the PRCRA.
“Our organization has been working on issues relating to mental health police records for almost a decade,” said Quenneville. “We look forward to ongoing dialogue around the implementation of this legislation.”
CMHA Ontario is Co-Chair of the Police Records Check Coalition, a group of more 30 than individuals comprising health law and human rights legal experts and representatives from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Ontario Association of Patient Councils, the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario and the John Howard Society of Ontario. The Police Records Check Coalition acts as an ally, supporter, and a credible source of information to individuals, families, and groups impacted by the release of non-conviction information.
- A recent report by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association estimates the number of Canadians with a police record, including non-conviction records, is as high as one in three
- Mental health police records often prevent people with mental health conditions from securing professional qualifications, as well as accessing services, facilities and travel
- The Police Record Checks Reform Act ensures that mental health police record information including Mental Health Act apprehensions, orders and police contact will not appear on any level of police check
About CMHA Ontario:
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) works toward a single mission: to make mental health possible for all. The vision of CMHA Ontario is a society that believes mental health is the key to well-being. CMHA Ontario works closely with 32 local branches in communities across the province to ensure the quality delivery of services to approximately 60,000 individuals each year in the areas of mental health, addictions, dual diagnosis and concurrent disorders which occur across the lifespan. Through policy analysis and implementation, agenda setting, research, evaluation and knowledge exchange, we work to improve the lives of people with mental health and addictions conditions and their families.
For more information, contact:
Director, Public Policy Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario