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Update to Police Record Checks

By August 16, 2018November 5th, 2019Employment Law

For some dentists in Ontario (perhaps pediatric dentists), a police record check may be a valid and necessary part of the recruitment process. If this sounds like your type of practice, read on!

Police Record Checks Reform Act, aka Bill 113

On November 1, 2018, the law called Police Record Checks Reform Act, S.O. 2015, c. 30. (also called Bill 113) will come into effect in Ontario. This new law standardizes the process for conducting police record checks, including checks requested by employers when screening an individual for employment purposes.  The law also limits the information that may be disclosed in response to a check.

The Act updates the process of obtaining a Police Record Check in the following ways:

  • Three (3) types. Bill 113 sets out only these types of record checks:
    • criminal record checks;
    • criminal record and judicial matters checks; and
    • vulnerable sector checks.
  • Requiring Written Consent To Obtain. The new law states that a record check cannot be conducted unless the individual (for whom the check is being done) has given written consent to the specific type of check.
  • Specifying Information. Bill 113 allows the disclosure of certain types of information in relation to each type of check. For example, a criminal record check discloses every criminal offence of which the individual has been convicted for which a pardon has not been issued or granted. But, the law only permits the disclosure of “non-conviction information” in response to a vulnerable sector check (meaning someone charged with a criminal offence if the charge was dismissed, withdrawn, stayed, or acquitted), provided the information satisfies some very specific criteria for “exceptional disclosure”. In certain circumstances, the law prohibits disclosure of information that is more than one (1) year old.
  • Requiring Consent to Disclose. The law stops a record check provider from disclosing information to any person other than the individual who is subject to the check (unless the individual can review the disclosure and consents to the disclosure to a third party).
  • Limiting the Use of Information. Bill 113 only allows a person / organization that receives the check to use the information for the purpose for which it was requested (or as authorized by law).
  • Reconsideration Process. A person who makes a request for a police check may also make a request for the provider to reconsider a decision made within the police check process. There is also a prohibition on the disclosure of “non-conviction information” (as mentioned above) if, after a reconsideration, the provider determines the information does not meet the criteria for “exceptional disclosure”.

Food for Thought

If your dental office already uses police record checks on employees, then you should take some time to review or update your policies and forms so that they are in compliance with the new law coming into effect.

Dentists will no longer be able to obtain “non-conviction information” unless they specifically request a vulnerable sector check (and meet the very specific criteria for exceptional disclosure).

Dentists will not be permitted to use the results of a police record check for any other reason than the specific reason for which it was requested (or as otherwise authorized by law).

There is a more robust consent process, meaning employees may have more control over the information disclosed, since written consent must be obtained both before the check is conducted and before the provider discloses the check. As well, the type of check must be consented to by the individual, in writing.

If the hiring must be completed in a short period of time, a police record check may delay the entire recruitment process.

As always, Dentists should be aware of their obligations under the Human Rights Code in relation to any police record check.

Contact DMC for more information on updating your police record policy or any other policy in your dental office.

The Content of this post is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be legal, financial, tax, or other professional advice of any kind. You are advised to contact DMC (or other counsel) to seek specific legal advice concerning your individual situation.