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06 March 2019
On 1 November 2018 the Police Record Checks Reform Act 2015 came into force. The act standardises the types of police record check that can be performed and the types of information that can be disclosed. Before the act became law, there were no province-wide rules. Each police service could decide how to perform checks and what information to disclose.
Under the Police Record Checks Reform Act there are three types of record check:
The criminal record check is the most basic and provides employers with the least amount of information. Specifically, a criminal record check includes:
However, the records relating to any findings of guilt under the Youth Criminal Justice Act must be disclosed on a separate record and cannot be shared with an employer unless expressly authorised by the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Criminal record and judicial matters
Employers will most commonly use the criminal record and judicial matters check. In addition to the information available in the criminal record check, criminal record and judicial matters checks also provide access to every:
Vulnerable sector check
The vulnerable sector check provides access to the most information. Generally, it is available only to individuals with access to vulnerable persons. A 'vulnerable person' is someone whose age, disability or other circumstances makes them dependent on others, or at a greater risk of being harmed by a person in a position of trust or authority. Vulnerable sector checks are commonly required for teachers.
In addition to the information available in the first two checks, the vulnerable sector check provides access to:
The test for exceptional disclosure is high and applies only to offences:
An individual, person or organisation can request a police record check on an employee if they have that person's consent. The results must first be disclosed by the police record check provider to the employee who is being searched. Only if they consent after receiving the results may the provider give the information to a third party.
Therefore, employers cannot obtain employee consent to conduct a police record check and directly obtain the results of the check from the record provider.
This is an important change for employers that use police record checks to screen employees, applicants, volunteers or others. Employers must understand the differences between the three types of check to ensure that the correct check is requested in each situation.
Employers should also update their background check policies and procedures to ensure that they are complying with the new restrictions on disclosure. Employers using third-party background check companies should confirm that their service providers have also updated their procedures.
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