Ask the CCLA: I have a police record even without a conviction – now what?

April 3, 2017

I have a police record even though I have not been convicted of a crime. I am worried about how this will affect my employment prospects or ability to travel. What can I do?

In recent years, CCLA has advocated for significant changes in the police record check system. In particular, our work has focused on non-conviction records – including information like records of contact, allegations where charges were never laid, withdrawn charges, acquittals, mental health apprehensions, etc. To learn more about the issue and about CCLA’s work, please visit the records check page on our website.

In 2014, we published a report called “False Promises, Hidden Costs” that outlines our concerns about the procedures for creating and disclosing police records. You can read the executive summary and recommendations or the full report.

You can also read our “Frequently Asked Questions” from this report, which provides information about determining whether you have a non-conviction record; applying to expunge or suppress your record; crossing the US border, and more.

Recently, the Ontario government passed the Police Record Checks Reform Act, 2015, which will limit the disclosure of non-conviction information. For more information about this new legislation, please see the Ontario government’s website.  While Ontario is the first province to have passed such a measure, we hope that other provinces will do the same.

We encourage you to join the CCLA in taking action against unnecessary police record checks and the disclosure of non-conviction information. You can visit our “Take Action” page, where you’ll find suggestions for getting the word out; writing to your local police force to express your concerns; and telling your local businesses, volunteer agencies and schools to implement rights-respecting hiring and screening practices.

We hope that you find this information helpful. The information provided is current to January 2017, and consists of general legal information. It is not legal advice. CCLA does not take responsibility for information found on external websites, even where we have provided links to that information. Everyone’s legal situation is different. If you are facing a legal issue, we recommend that you seek independent legal advice. You can find a list of legal clinics and other resources to help you here.