Police Business Services Announcement

The previous Liberal government passed new legislation, Bill 113: Police Record Checks Reform Act, which will come into effect on November 1, 2018.  It improves privacy for individuals but included a provision that made the process onerous.  The required red tape would have meant that businesses doing record checks would move out of Ontario or shut down.  Most applicants self-declare their convictions (or lack thereof) and consent to the check when applying but before the change, and after the check was done, they would have needed to consent again to full details being released.  Now the report will just verify their declaration (or otherwise) and no second consent is required.  Other jurisdictions do not have the same convoluted requirements. The requirements effectively meant that record check businesses outside Ontario would get all the work.  In the case of the Cobourg Police Business services, it meant that they were in danger of shutting down.

MPP Piccini, Police Chiefs and Minister Tibollo symbolically cutting red tape
MPP Piccini, Police Chiefs and Minister Tibollo symbolically cutting red tape

However, the problem was brought to the attention of MPP David Piccini who in turn talked to Michael Tibollo, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.   The Minister said that because the Ford Government was “for the people” and wants to create and preserve jobs, the change was expedited to be ready for the November 1 effective date.   

As a result, the required regulations were modified so that while privacy provisions were maintained, the red tape was removed – see photo at right! 

Cobourg Police Business Services can now continue as before and even expand – in 2019 Chief Kai Liu expects to hire an additional 10 clerks and institute a midnight shift.  This change was announced on Saturday at an event at the Venture 13 building.  Since Port Hope also has a similar business checking records, they were also concerned. Both MPP Piccini and the Minister were there along with representatives from the police and councils:  Police Board chairs from Cobourg and Port Hope, Police Chiefs from Cobourg and Port Hope, Mayor Gil Brocanier, incoming Mayor John Henderson, incoming Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin, incoming councillors Nicole Beatty and Adam Bureau and a Port Hope councillor.

In his remarks, Minister Tibollo emphasized Premier Ford’s support of the Police and knowledge of the issue.

Chief Kai Liu said that profit from the business has been used for capital requirements such as cars and the renovation costs for their Venture 13 location.  Mayor Brocanier supported that with his comment that the Police Capital requirements in the Town’s 2018 budget were limited to $100K.

In a separate discussion, Chief Kai Liu told me that full financial details of the business unit are not made public to avoid giving their competitors key information.  In any event, it is kept at arm’s length so any losses do not impact the Town (see link below re MOU).

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Walter L. Luedtke

Bill 164, introduced in October 2017, would expand the current prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Ontario Human Rights Code to include social condition, police records, genetic characteristics and immigration status.
This ‘Liberal’ bill passed second reading and currently sits with the Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills.
In its current form, the Bill would amend the Code to forbid employment discrimination, or differential treatment on the basis of police records.
Right now, this kind of discrimination is allowed in Ontario.
There are many incidents of employers discriminating against someone merely because they have previous contact with the police or have been charged but never convicted. This includes, for instance, individuals who are in distress and are held under the Mental Health Act by the police.
If the Tories pass Bill 164, the bulk of the police check business customers would vanish.
Wanna bet it won’t pass? Toronto Star

Frenchy

Bill 164 was a private member’s bill brought by Nathalie Des Rosiers, Liberal MPP for Ottawa – Vanier, NOT a ‘Liberal’ (or Government) bill.
Walter, maybe you can help me out, but I couldn’t find Bill 164 in current bills or sitting with that committee.
I wonder if all outstanding bills “die on the order paper” when a government is prorogued or dissolved?

Walter L. Luedtke

Yes.
You are right in that the Bill – sadly – has died.
Great research, Ms. Frenchy!
Bill 164 was ‘Liberal’ – in the spirit of progressive, reform-minded political values.
Unlikely that the Ford government will be up for anything similar, although they claim to be fighting ‘for the little guy’.

Frenchy

They just did a heck of a job for the “little guys” in Cobourg.

Frenchy

I got confused when you used a capital “L” in liberal.

Frenchy

Congratulations to MPP David Piccini, Michael Tibollo, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services and the new Ford Government for keeping an open ear to their constituents and for their swift and positive actions in correcting flawed legislation that could have put dozens of our citizens out of work and millions of dollars in sales lost.

gerinator

The Mayor states that the Town is funding 100K$. Why? The BSU is expected to generate 1Mil$ profit. Further, the BSU – MOU states that the Town will pick up the operating costs (presumably limited to the small sum of 100K$). Q: Do operating costs include headcount increases? If yes, when/who approved the additional 10 heads for 2019? I’m focusing on headcount because it typically is the largest cost-line. Also fully agree with Ken and Walter – no substantive reason for the lack of transparency.

Frenchy

Speaking of head counts, was the new position of Communications Officer (approx $70,000.00 per year) in the Town’s 2018 budget or is that being paid for by the BSU? https://www.cobourgpolice.com/current-openings-p37.php

Kyle

Hmmmm, by the list of Police Sevices doing these record checks for companies it appears that they may not exist if they were not doing them. Although they a gleaning money from the release of records that they do not even own, some small Municipalities may be turning a blind eye to the actual quality of core service delivery they provide in order to grab the free money. Remember the next time you have to pay for a record check you are helping to buy another kilt.

Walter L. Luedtke

“The loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue, which offset police budgets, would have meant a tremendous financial hit for the communities of Brockville, Gananoque, Cornwall, Cobourg and Port Hope.”
That is line-up of police departments in Eastern Ontario who are in the record checking business.
Cobourg looks to be the biggest player here.
Chief Liu is wary about letting out too much info about the finances of the operation for fear of tipping off ‘the competition.
One wonders who the competition is – the other police departments, the OPP, private companies and even non-profit organizations who do it for – shudder! – free.
The OPP seems to be really aggressive here – record checks while you wait for 25 bucks.
And the customers?
Employers and volunteer managers regularly require applicants to provide record checks during the application process. Organizations appear generally risk averse. Some simply have zero-tolerance policies, requiring applicants to provide an absolutely clean record check.
It’s a growth industry.

Ken Strauss

Public companies — Apple, Ford, SNC — compete with full disclosure of their operations. Why must taxpayer owned companies — Holdco, police services — hide their operations in order to compete?

Walter L. Luedtke

Excellent question Ken!
Would it be worthwhile for your folks to get some answers?

Cobourg Person

Why don’t you call Holdco management and ask? You might actually learn something.