In an effort to “protect public safety and strengthen individual civil liberties,” the Ontario government, with unanimous support from all parties, passed the Police Record Checks Reform Act on Dec. 1. The act means information from both police checks and mental health records can no longer appear on police records checks.
CMHA Ontario was consulted during the drafting of the act and has been proponent for change on this issue.
“We have been working to increase awareness about the dangers of disclosing mental health police records for nearly a decade and we applaud all parties for their unanimous support of the bill, CMHA Ontario CEO Camille Quenneville said. “The disclosure of mental health police records has long been discriminatory and has increased the stigma associated with mental health issues.
“We are pleased that all parties recognize that this unlawful and discriminatory practice must come to an end.”
In a statement, the provincial government said that including such information on police records checks was an unnecessary barrier to employment and limited education and volunteer opportunities. The province stated it was imperative to stop “inappropriate disclosure of non-conviction and non-criminal records – such as mental health information.”
The legislation does allow for the disclosure of non-conviction information in exceptional circumstances In order to keep vulnerable persons safe.
Read the Police Records Check Reform Act.
For a timeline of CMHA Ontario’s leadership on addressing police record checks reform, click on the graphic on the right.
CMHA Ontario is 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. For more information on police records and how they can impact individuals, visit the Coalition’s website at www.PRCCOntario.ca.