The BC Information and Privacy Commissioner has released a report on the increasing use of employment-related record checks, specifically what are known as “police information checks”. These checks include information about prior convictions, outstanding charges, and non-conviction information such as adverse police contact, investigations that did not result in charges, and apprehensions under s. 28 of the Mental Health Act.
After a comparative examination of record check practices in other Canadian jurisdictions and internationally, the Commissioner found that the information provided in a police information check in BC is on the extreme end of the disclosure spectrum.
The Commissioner’s primary recommendation is that the provincial government should develop legislation to achieve the appropriate balance between an individual’s right to privacy and an employer’s right to obtain relevant background information on potential employees.
The Commissioner’s recommendations include the following:
1) Government and police boards should immediately direct police to cease providing mental health information in a police information check;
2) Government should enact legislation to prohibit the release of non-conviction information for record checks for positions outside the vulnerable sector;
3) Until recommendation (2) is adopted, government and police boards should direct police to stop releasing non-conviction information for positions outside the vulnerable sector;
4) Government and police boards should direct police agencies to implement a record check model that allows individuals to request only conviction information that is relevant to the position for which they are applying; and
5) Government should enact legislation to mandate that the centralized office currently operating under the CRRA undertake all record checks for vulnerable sector employees.
If you wish to discuss the implementation of this report on your business, please contact your Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.
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