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Sudbury John Howard Society applauds record check change

The head of the John Howard Society in Sudbury is welcoming news that Sudbury police will withhold non-conviction information from record checks.
For many years, various interaction citizens have had with police have appeared on their record checks—and that information can influence how employers make hiring decisions. But that's changing in Greater Sudbury, where police are making an effort to protect people from unfairly tarnished records. (CBC)

The head of the John Howard Society in Sudbury is welcoming news that Sudbury police will withhold non-conviction information from record checks.

John Rimore said he knows of many people in the city who have lost jobs or opportunities because non-conviction information appears on their records.

The head of Sudbury's John Howard Society is happy to see that city police are changing the type of information they release during record checks. 8:56

People who apply for a job to help children, seniors, or people with disabilities may have had to undergo a vulnerable sector check.

For many years, the interactions citizens have had with police have appeared on their record checks, such as 911 calls, withdrawn charges, and mental health information. That information can influence how employers make hiring decisions.

“Suddenly, it's not the judge or the jury that is ruling under the rule of law,” Rimore said.

“But it's people who think that maybe we better know just in case and, and unfortunately that's not appropriate.”

The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police recently laid down voluntary guidelines governing these checks.

As a result, Greater Sudbury Police are no longer disclosing non-conviction information on record checks, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Police Chief Paul Pedersen said he hopes to see legislation to further clarify what those circumstances might be.

The manager of human resources for the Rainbow District School Board is also keeping a keen eye on the issue of record checks.

"There needs to be a little bit more information to ensure that the individual's history with the law has not meant that they've ever taken advantage of a minor or a person in care,” Beverley Webb said.

Rimore said the checks can show if a person is prone to behaviour that could be harmful to people, but doesn't think this information helps employers as much as it hurts job seekers.

"It completely violates the presumption of innocence and the democracy that we stand for in our country.”

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