In the past, when employers in British Columbia requested police
information checks on prospective employees, there were no clear
guidelines on the type of information that would be provided.
It was common for police information checks to include information
about mental health issues relating to the prospective employee,
including such information as details related to suicide
attempts. Police information checks also routinely included
information about "adverse police contact" despite the
fact that the individual may never have been charged or convicted
of any offence with respect to the "adverse police
As a result of concerns raised by the British Columbia
Information and Privacy Commissioner with respect to the type of
information being disclosed, the BC government has issued a policy
providing guidelines to all police forces in British Columbia with
respect to the type of information that may be disclosed in a
police information check. The policy guidelines were revised
in January 2015.
The policy guidelines now differentiate between police
information checks that are related to people who are applying to
work or volunteer with "vulnerable" persons as opposed to
prospective employees who are not. Vulnerable persons are
those who are in a position of dependence on others or at greater
risk than the general population of being harmed by a person in a
position of authority/trust as a result of their age, disability,
or other circumstances.
More Police Information Released for Potential Employees
Working With Vulnerable People
In releasing information with respect to the employment of an
individual who will be working with vulnerable persons, the policy
guidelines state that police should provide to the prospective
employer all warrants, outstanding charges, convictions, and
adverse police contacts. In addition, information on
convictions for sexual offences is to be provided even if a pardon
has been granted or the record suspended. Adverse contacts
with the police that involve the threat or use of violence are also
to be disclosed, provided that the mental health status of the
individual is not disclosed. The police, however, are not to
disclose apprehensions under the Mental Health Act.
Accordingly, the policy guidelines will permit significant
disclosure of police information when dealing with the protection
of vulnerable persons.
If the applicant is not seeking employment or work as a
volunteer with vulnerable persons, the information that will be
disclosed by the police is more limited. In this situation,
the police information check will provide information on
"all warrants, outstanding charges, and convictions" but
will not disclose adverse contacts with the police, mental health
issues, or apprehensions under the Mental Health Act.
The policy guidelines with respect to police information checks
have not been legislated. The expectation is that police
forces in British Columbia will now conduct their information
checks in accordance with the new policy guidelines.
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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