Ontario Police Chiefs Release Updated Guideline for Police Record Checks

Police leaders call on the Ontario Government to introduce legislation to ensure consistency by police services, implementation of an evidence-based procedure for determining when non-conviction information can be disclosed

For Immediate Release:  July 16, 2014

(Toronto, ON) – Ontario’s police leaders have released an updated resource document for conducting police record checks. The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police’s (OACP) LEARN Guideline for Police Record Checks will assist police services to ensure an equal level of service under the province’s related legislation, policies, procedures, and directives.

The document was first developed in 2011 by the OACP’s Law Enforcement and Records Managers Network (LEARN) Sub-Committee.

“The updated Guideline will promote greater consistency in how Ontario police services handle police record checks,” said OACP President Chief Jennifer Evans (Peel Regional Police). “I am pleased that our partnership with government and community groups continues to improve the police records checks process in our province.”

The  OACP  is  also  calling  on  the  Government  of  Ontario  to  introduce legislation that would ensure consistency by police services in conducting police record checks and the implementation of an evidence-based procedure for determining when non-conviction information can be disclosed.

Since the release of the Guideline in 2011, the OACP has continued to work with community groups to ensure concerns were addressed.

“The OACP has been receptive and responsive to community-based concerns regarding non-conviction disclosure practices across the Province, and engaged in a collaborative, consultative process which has resulted in a significant and positive change for Ontario,” said Paula Osmok, Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Ontario. “We strongly support the OACP’s updated LEARN Guideline which, if adopted by local police services, will better protect Ontarians from the disclosure of their non-conviction police records and the discrimination and stigmatization that often results from their release.”

The revised Guideline also has the strong support of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA). Abby Deshman, CCLA Program Director, noted that, “The revised Guideline is the result of significant cooperation, dialogue, community consultation, and research. Mental health police contacts will no longer be released. Unproven charges will not be released except under exceptional circumstances for work with the vulnerable sector. These changes fully align with CCLA’s recommendations in our two previous reports. They are major steps forward that will positively impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of Ontarians.”

“We applaud the leadership and hard work of the OACP on this issue, and CCLA appreciates the opportunity to have closely collaborated with the OACP to reach this goal,” said Sukanya Pillay, CCLA General Counsel. “The release of the Guideline is a major step towards making Ontario’s record check system fairer, more just, and more consistent – and importantly, to preserving the presumption of innocence for all persons.”

The OACP originally consulted with a wide-range of organizations in order to produce the LEARN Guideline for Police Record Checks:

•    The Royal Canadian Mounted Police
•    Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (CCRTIS)
•    The Ontario Human Rights Commission
•    The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario
•    Volunteer Toronto
•    Justice for Children and Youth
•    Ontario Association of Patient Councils
•    Community and Legal Aid Services Program
•    Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario
•    Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office
•    Police Record Check Coalition

The  Guideline document, which is highlighted in green to indicate new updates, is available on the OACP website at www.oacp.ca (http://bit.ly/1jPkuIZ).

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For more information, contact:
Paul Cormier, Co-Chair, OACP Law Enforcement and Records Managers Network (LEARN) Sub-Committee
T. (519) 650-8500 ext. 8810
E. paul.cormier@wrps.on.ca

Joe Couto, Director of Government Relations & Communications
T. (416) 926-0424 ext. 22
C. (416) 919-9798
E. media@oacp.ca

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