Regulation - LGIC

Police Record Checks Reform Act, Exemptions Proposal

Regulation Number(s):
O. Reg. 347/18 Exemptions
Instrument Type:
Regulation - LGIC
Bill or Act:
Police Record Checks Reform Act, 2015
Summary of Proposal:
A police record check is a search of information in police databases about a person and is often used as part of a screening process for employment or volunteering; entering education or a profession; accessing programs or services; etc. Police record checks are typically used in addition to other screening tools (e.g., interviews, reference checks, certifications) to help safeguard public safety by ensuring a person's suitability for certain opportunities.

Police databases contain a wide range of information, including non-conviction and non-criminal information. On November 1, 2018, Ontario brought the Police Record Checks Reform Act, 2015 (PRCRA) into force to promote public safety while removing unnecessary barriers that individuals may face when inappropriate information is disclosed in police record checks.

The PRCRA set Ontario's first-ever clear, consistent and comprehensive standards to govern police record checks and balance public safety while protecting people's privacy.

When the PRCRA was brought into force, exemptions were made which allowed several sectors to request information beyond the limits set by the PRCRA. These exemptions are included in O. Reg. 347/18 Exemptions. Many of these exemptions are temporary to allow the government to engage sectors and understand whether an exemption is required on an on-going basis. These temporary exemptions will expire on July 1, 2021.

The Ministry of the Solicitor General is reviewing these temporary exemptions to determine whether any of these exemptions are required to be continued on an on-going basis and if so, whether the exemption could be narrowed (e.g., removing some non-conviction information from police record checks). Some of these temporary exemptions may be removed entirely. The Exemptions Regulation under the PRCRA will be updated to reflect any government approved changes to the exemptions before the temporary exemptions expire.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
Issues & Objectives
The temporary exemptions in the Exemptions regulation (O. Reg. 347/18) under the PRCRA apply to specific sectors and positions such as correctional officers, police officers, individuals in early years and child care, and those with oversight of financial services

The Ministry of the Solicitor General is identifying which of these temporary exemptions should be continued on an on-going basis and, if so, whether there is potential for the information that might be included as part of an exempted check to be reduced.

Options
This consultation document seeks feedback from stakeholders on how the proposed changes to the current exemptions may affect different sectors. This input will inform the exemptions framework that will replace the temporary exemptions set to expire on July 1, 2021.

Benefits and Costs
It is anticipated that affected sectors will not experience any changes in how they request police record checks for screening purposes. In some instances, less information will be included for consideration as part of an exempted police record check. The proposed changes to the Exemptions Regulation under the PRCRA would not create new police record check screening exemptions and in many cases will remove unnecessary exemptions.

This approach is aligned with the intent of Ontario's Modernizing Ontario for People and Businesses Act, 2020 given that no additional costs will be created for affected sectors, and it protects "the public interest, including health, safety and the environment, while enabling economic growth, prosperity and a competitive business climate."

Conclusion
Although it is not anticipated that proposed changes to the temporary exemptions in the Exemptions Regulation (O. Reg. 347/18) would result in new costs or significant changes in how police record checks are conducted, the Ministry of the Solicitor General encourages feedback from affected sectors from their perspective.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
21-SOLGEN001
Posting Date:
February 10, 2021
Comments Due Date:
March 12, 2021
Contact Address:
Ministry of the Solicitor General
Community Safety Policy
Strategic Policy, Research and Innovation Division
25 Grosvenor Street, Floor 9
Toronto, ON M7A 1Y6
Comment on this proposal via email