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Police Record Checks in Ontario

Backgrounder

Police Record Checks in Ontario

police record check is a search of police database records about an individual. These checks are often used as part of a screening process for employment, volunteering, education, professional licensing, rental housing, insurance, adoption, child custody, foster care and other purposes.

Ontario's Police Record Checks Reform Act will come into effect on November 1, 2018.

Once in force, the act will govern the types of record checks that can be conducted for screening purposes, define three types of police record checks, and standardise the type of information that can be released in each type of record check.

Types of Record Checks

The act authorises three different types of police record checks:

  • Criminal record check includes applicable criminal convictions and findings of guilt under the federal Youth Criminal Justice Act.
  • Criminal record and judicial matters check includes applicable criminal convictions, findings of guilt under the federal Youth Criminal Justice Act, absolute and conditional discharges, outstanding charges, arrest warrants, and certain judicial orders.
  • Vulnerable sector check includes the same type of information that is disclosed in a criminal record and judicial matters check as well as applicable findings of not criminally responsible due to mental disorder, record suspensions (pardons) related to sexually-based offences, and in certain circumstances, non-conviction charge related information; when a strict test is met.

Consent and Regulation 347/18 Amendment

Before a police record check can be conducted about an individual, in all instances consent must first be granted by that person. The act will require that an individual receive the results of their police record check before they can be asked to consent to disclosure to a third party, such as an employer, unless there is an exemption.

Regulation 347/18 has been amended to include an exemption for record checks that are completed using a process where an individual self-declares their criminal convictions. In these circumstances, police do not release details of the records but rather whether the records match the self-declaration, and whether there is a clear or not clear result for judicial matters. In these instances, police record check providers will not be required to seek an individual's additional consent to disclose the results of a police record check. This exemption will not apply to vulnerable sector checks.

Types of Information Disclosed by Record Check

Type of information disclosed Criminal Record Check Criminal Record and Judicial Matters Check Vulnerable Sector Check
Criminal offence convictions, unless a pardon has been issued or granted Disclosed.

However, does not disclose summary convictions if the request is made more than five years after the date of the summary conviction.
Disclosed.

However, does not disclose summary convictions if the request is made more than five years after the date of the summary conviction.
Disclosed.

However, does not disclose summary convictions if the request is made more than five years after the date of the summary conviction.
Guilty findings under the federal Youth Criminal Justice Act during the applicable period of access under that act. Disclosed.

Disclosed in accordance with restrictions under the Youth Criminal Justice Act and Police Record Checks Reform Act requirements.
Disclosed.

Disclosed in accordance with restrictions under the Youth Criminal Justice Act and Police Record Checks Reform Act requirements.
Disclosed.

Disclosed in accordance with restrictions under the Youth Criminal Justice Act and Police Record Checks Reform Act requirements.
Every criminal offence of which the individual has been found guilty and received an absolute discharge. Not disclosed. Disclosed.

However, not disclosed if the request is made more than one year after the date of the absolute discharge.
Disclosed.

However, not disclosed if the request is made more than one year after the date of the absolute discharge.
Every criminal offence of which the individual has been found guilty and received a conditional discharge on conditions set out in a probation order. Not disclosed. Disclosed.

However, not disclosed if the request is made more than three years after the date of the conditional discharge.
Disclosed.

However, not disclosed if the request is made more than three years after the date of the conditional discharge.
Every criminal offence for which there is an outstanding charge or warrant to arrest in respect of the individual. Not disclosed. Disclosed. Disclosed.
Every court order made against the individual. Not disclosed. Disclosed.

However, does not disclose:
Disclosed.

However, does not disclose:
  • court orders made under the Mental Health Act or under Part XX.1 of the Criminal Code (Canada)
  • court orders made in relation to a charge that has been withdrawn
  • restraining orders made against the individual under the Family Law Act, the Children's Law Reform Act or the Child and Family Services Act
Every criminal offence with which the individual has been charged that resulted in a finding of not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder. Not disclosed. Not disclosed. Disclosed.

However, does not disclose if the request is made more than five years after the date of the finding or if the individual received an absolute discharge.
Any conviction for which a pardon has been granted. Not disclosed unless authorized under the Criminal Records Act (Canada). Not disclosed unless authorized under the Criminal Records Act (Canada). Not disclosed unless authorized under the Criminal Records Act (Canada).
Non-conviction information (charges that have been dismissed, withdrawn or stayed, or that resulted in a stay of proceedings or an acquittal). Not disclosed. Not disclosed. Section 10 of Ontario's Police Record Checks Reform Act outlines criteria that must be met for disclosing non-conviction information in circumstances set out in that section.

Where to Get a Police Record Check

In Ontario, you can request a police record check from a municipal police service or the Ontario Provincial Police. There are also private businesses that provide police record checks.

Under Ontario's Police Record Checks Reform Act:

  • Certain information cannot be disclosed under the act, including whether you were a victim or witness of a crime or if you had non-criminal (i.e., did not lead to charges) contact with police while you were suffering from a mental health crisis
  • If a police record check provider carries out your check, the results will be released directly to you to confirm they are factually correct before you give permission for them to be released to a third party unless as stated above
  • Youth records, if released to the individual, are released as a separate record and should not be shared with anybody else, including a potential employer
  • If you believe certain records in your check are inaccurate or should not be included as per the Police Record Checks Reform Act disclosure rules, you can ask the police record check provider for information on how you can seek a correction
  • If you believe certain non-conviction information should not be included, you can ask the police record check provider to reconsider whether the information should be contained in your check  

Exemptions to these rules and the Police Record Checks Reform Act may also apply in certain situations.

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