(Toronto, Nov. 1, 2018) – Today is a milestone in the effort to reduce stigma and discrimination for people who’ve experienced a mental health crisis and come into contact with police. Today, Ontario’s Police Records Check Reform Act comes into effect.
This means that police are not permitted to disclose non-conviction mental health records, including those that stem from apprehensions under the Mental Health Act.
The Police Records Check Reform Act also means that non-conviction mental health records will no longer appear on police record checks.
“The protection of privacy rights for non-conviction records is something Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario and our partners had been advocating about for over a decade,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO, CMHA Ontario. “We congratulate the provincial government for the implementation of the Police Records Check Reform Act.”
The sharing of non-conviction information between policing or government agencies was particularly harmful as it did not directly benefit the individual in crisis but instead created barriers for that person.
People have been turned down for volunteer work, jobs, school placements and cross-border travel because authorities shared non-conviction records and personal mental health information showed up on police record checks.
“The intersection of policing and mental health is a challenging issue,” Quenneville said. “We appreciate that police have a challenging job and we encourage officers to use mental health information for positive outcomes.”
For example, a police service that shares mental health information internally with officers about a specific person could result in a coordinated response to provide mental health services and supports to that individual.
- People with mental health conditions experience stigma, discrimination and social exclusion that significantly impacts on their lives.
- In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental illness or addiction problem.
- By the time Canadians reach 40 years of age, 1 in 2 have – or have had – a mental illness.