A police record check is a search of police databases to determine if they contain any entries (information) relating to an individual. Many employers, volunteer organizations and others use police record checks as a screening tool. That is, they use police record checks to assess applicants’ suitability for opportunities.

Determining what information should be disclosed in the results of a police record check involves balancing public safety interests with an applicant’s privacy and human rights. In Alberta, police services do this balancing in accordance with procedures developed by the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police (AACP) because, unlike Ontario, our province lacks specific legislation regulating police record checks.

ALRI conducted some preliminary research to determine whether it should undertake a police record check law reform project. As part of its research, ALRI compared Ontario’s police record check legislation with the AACP procedures. ALRI determined that the AACP procedures could be improved, but recognized that they are relatively new and that the AACP is open to revising them. As time may tell whether Alberta needs specific legislation to regulate police record checks, ALRI decided not to proceed with a police record check law reform project now.

ALRI’s paper contains its preliminary research findings. Its publication is intended to promote discussion about police record check practices in Alberta.

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