The PRCRA legislation passed on December 1, 2015 and will be enacted on November 1, 2018. This legislation introduces legislation to ensure clear, consistent and comprehensive set of standards to govern how police record checks (PRC) are conducted and disclosed in Ontario.
Overview of the PRCA
The PRCRA identifies three standard types of PRCs:
The types of PRCs are differentiated based on the specific types of information authorized to be disclosed within each of them as outlined in the Act
Additionally, the VSC is intended to be used for a specific purpose: to screen individuals that work or volunteer in positions of trust and/or authority relative to vulnerable individuals (e.g., teachers and daycare workers, staff in long-term care and retirement homes, service providers working with individuals with disabilities)
In order to keep vulnerable persons safe, the PRCRA allows for the disclosure of the broadest range of information in VSCs, including disclosure of record suspensions (formerly pardons) as authorized by the Minister of Public Safety and relevant non-conviction information as authorized by the PRCRA
This is one of the most significant changes to record checks in Ontario. Youth records are only permitted to be disclosed in two circumstances:
The PRCRA regulates how police services release Police Record Checks (PRC) containing youth records to applicants. Up until now, police services have released a PRC containing youth records directly to the applicant who then provide the PRC to the organization or volunteer agency. The federal and provincial government has found this approach to be contrary to the Federal Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA).
The only authorized release of a PRC containing youth records will be to a federal, provincial or municipal government. Applicants can gain access to their own record through the Federal Access to Information process but this record is not a PRC and is not allowed to be shared with any other agency.
It is important to note the change for the community – Halton Regional Police Service will only provide PRC’s to applications under the age of 18 for government positions. This is because non-government agencies are not authorized to receive any results. To require applicants to apply and pay for a PRC when no results will be released is not in the best interest of applicants, the police service and the community.