Reducing Barriers for Ontario's Youth with Police Records
This report was published by John Howard Society of Ontario.
HERE'S HOW THE AUTHORS DESCRIBE THIS REPORT:
Youth unemployment has become a pressing social issue in recent years, both in Canada and internationally. The current economic climate only serves to exacerbate pre-existing disadvantages faced by youth from marginalized groups (Aboriginal, racialized/immigrant communities, individuals with mental illness/addiction or developmental disabilities, etc.). Incidentally, young Ontarians from these same marginalized populations are more likely to come into contact with the police and justice system, and thus, have a police record, which in turn is one of the most significant barriers to employment and employability.
Over 4.1 million Canadians (roughly 20% of the adult male population) have a record of criminal conviction. In addition, in Ontario our criminal court system processes more than half a million charges annually, and about 43% of criminal court cases resulted in stayed or withdrawn charges. All of these individuals whose charges were withdrawn, none of whom were convicted, now have police records. Even individuals who have never been charged with a criminal offence, but were questioned by the police or called for police assistance during a mental health crisis, may have a police record stored in local police electronic databases. Non-conviction records can be and often are disclosed on police record checks. These types of records can have as devastating an impact on young people’s employment, volunteering and academic prospects as records of convictions. This report aims to examine the barriers facing youth with police records (YPRs) in Ontario, with a particular emphasis on their exclusion from the labour market
In addition to a detailed review of the literature, this report draws on the results of a targeted research survey of employers in one region of Ontario, undertaken by the Centre of Research, Policy & Program Development (the ‘Centre’) at the John Howard Society of Ontario (JHSO).