CCLA launches new report on police record checks

May 17, 2014

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) has released a report, False promises, hidden costs: the case for reframing employment and volunteer police record check practices in Canada, questioning the value of widespread police record checks and shining a light on the damaging individual and societal consequences of current practices.

Download CCLA’s press release.

Visit the report website to read the full report, listen to first-hand stories of the human impact, download FAQ guides and best practices and take action for change.

An increasing number of Canadian organizations – employers, volunteer managers, educational institutions, licensing bodies and governments -incorporate police record checks into their hiring and management practices. Police forces across the country run millions of record checks per year, and disclose information that goes far beyond convictions and formal findings of guilt. A wide range of non-conviction information – including records of suicide attempts, complaints where charges were never laid, withdrawn charges and acquittals – is regularly disclosed on Canadian police record checks. New audio recordings documenting numerous individuals’ personal experiences of discrimination and exclusion are also being released today.

The report outlines a series of short- and long-term recommendations to provincial, territorial and federal governments; police services and police service boards; to business and non-profit organizations; third-party record check companies; and privacy commissioners, and human rights tribunals and commissions, aimed at reintroducing perspective and balance to the societal use of police record checks.

Take action on non-conviction record disclosure. Visit our website to read the full report; listen to first-hand testimony of Canadians impacted by non-conviction record checks; download a template to help you write to your local police service; and sign CCLA’s petition calling for human rights and privacy protection for employees, legislative prohibitions on the disclosure of non-conviction information, and a centralized screening mechanism for the vulnerable sector.

On Tuesday, May 20, at 12 p.m., CCLA will host a discussion of False promises, hidden costs, at our offices (215 Spadina Ave., Suite 210, Toronto, ON), featuring Abby Deshman and CCLA General Counsel Sukanya Pillay. Media and the public are invited to attend and ask questions about non-conviction record disclosure and the report. Also speaking at the event will be John Howard Society of Ontario (JHSO) Centre of Research, Policy & Program Development Director Michelle Keast. JHSO has released its own report, Help Wanted*: Reducing Barriers for Ontario’s Youth with Police Records, from the John Howard Society of Ontario’s Centre of Research, Policy & Program Development, which exposes the systemic exclusion of youth (15-29) with police records from the Ontario labour market.