We need a harmonized approach to the disclosure of mental-health information

Recent investigations by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner in both Ontario and British Columbia have shed significant light on the troubling practices of some police services in disclosing the mental-health information of Canadians. At the heart of this issue is to whom this most sensitive information is being released, and when.

In Ontario, it was discovered that the Toronto Police Service was routinely disclosing information about all attempted suicides to the RCMP via CPIC (Canadian Police Information Centre), which subsequently shared it with U.S. border officials, through a reciprocal information-sharing agreement with the FBI. A similar investigation in B.C. determined that police services were releasing non-conviction information, including mental-health apprehensions, as part of routine police information checks for individuals applying to work or volunteer for positions not involving children or vulnerable adults.

Ann Cavoukian and Elizabeth Denham Report

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