Police Chiefs Promote Presumed Innocence Regarding Background Checks

Posted on 03.25.2015

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Newly implemented guidelines, which are voluntary, suggest that law enforcement retain mental health contacts and other non-conviction records privately in the vast majority of instances when conducting background checks. Chiefs of police are encouraging Ontario to provide legislation with regard to what the police are able to disclose and what they must keep private, legally.


Law enforcement throughout Ontario is being instructed to discontinue disclosure of unsubstantiated allegations, charges that have been withdrawn, and mental health calls to 911 from inclusion in background checks shared with potential employers and existing employers, organizations for which an individual has applied to volunteer, and to United States border officials.


The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police has issued heavily emphasized recommendations in response to the effect that stems from sharing these types of irrelevant information on the personal and professional lives of citizens in Ontario who should have nothing to hide with regard to their unrelated non-conviction police records.


These recommended voluntary guidelines suggest that police forces should follow these recommendations and keep mental health contacts with law enforcement and allegations that are unfounded private with exception to extenuating circumstances. The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police also asks the Ontario government to introduce legislation to compel the 57 police forces in Canada’s provinces to abide by concise, uniform rules regarding disclosure and when it is or is not appropriate.