Human Resources Legislative Update

Amendments Made to the Exemptions under the Police Record Checks Reform Act, 2015

Human Resources Legislative Update

Amendments Made to the Exemptions under the Police Record Checks Reform Act, 2015

Date: June 22, 2021

On June 17, 2021, the Ontario government filed O. Reg. 477/21 which amends O. Reg. 347/18 “Exemptions” (Regulation) made under the Police Record Checks Reform Act, 2015 (Act).

The amendments are of particular interest to police services and employers who use police record checks to assist in determining suitability for employment. Police services will be subject to new disclosure, correction and reconsideration requirements. The amendments also add new exemptions, eliminate some existing exemptions and narrow the scope of other exemptions.

Police services are now subject to new requirements related to conditions of disclosure, which include:  

  • a police record check cannot be conducted unless the request for a police record check contains the individual’s written consent
  • only information listed in connection with a type of police record check set out in the Schedule to the Act, or information that represents a public safety concern (subject to conditions), can be disclosed
  • disclosure of the results of a police record check to the individual who is the subject of the check upon the individual’s request, with some exceptions
  • creation and implementation of processes to respond to requests to correct or to reconsider the information disclosed
  • preparation and maintenance of statistical information required by the Minister in connection with police record check requests, which is to be provided to the Minister on request
  • compliance with any directives issued by the Minister in relation to the Act.

New Exemptions and Restricted Classes of Information

O. Reg. 477/21 creates new exemptions from the Act, including an exemption which applies to any position where an individual will have direct, in-person access to children or other vulnerable persons within the context of their duties.

Several existing exemptions have been eliminated, including screening of persons for being considered for appointments to adjudicative tribunals and continuation of any existing appointments from the Regulation, and the exemption for volunteers or students at probation or parole offices and persons who provide services to persons on probation or parole. Note that most of the exemptions which were set to be revoked on July 1, 2021 will no longer be revoked and remain as exemptions under the amended Regulation.

In addition, the amendments create three new classes of information which, under most exemptions, may only be disclosed if the chief of police or designate reasonably believes there is a clear, recent, relevant and reliable public safety concern:

  • mental health contact information: non-criminal information held by police related to an individual’s actual, alleged or perceived mental health or addictions issues
  • street check information: non-criminal information gathered when a police officer asks an individual for identifying information when inquiring into offences or suspicious activities
  • victim information: non-criminal information about when the individual has been, or has been alleged to have been, a victim of crime

None of these restricted classes of information may be released under any circumstances pursuant to the exemptions for screening teachers, workers in schools and child care providers.

Readers should consult the text of the Regulation for further information or contact your Hicks Morley lawyer for assistance.

The amendments generally come into force July 1, 2021.

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