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).


Research Highlights

  • 51% of the organizations surveyed require police background checks of prospective employees during the hiring process

  • Certain sectors, such as Construction and Accommodation/Food & Services sectors are much less likely to require background checks

  • There is a clear relationship between the size of the company and the requirement for a police background check. Large enterprises were 3X as likely to require a police background check.

  • The most frequently cited reasons for requiring background checks of prospective employees were: Liability/risk management; Company Policy; Legal Requirement for Vulnerable Sector Checks; and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Bill 168)

  • 15% of respondents reported that they will not hire anyone with a criminal record, regardless of the nature of record, how much time is passed since it was acquired, or its relevance to the job position


  • Increasing Youth Labour Supply and Demand

  • Regulating the Demand for Police Record Checks

  • Regulating the Disclosure of Police Records

  • Regulating the Use of Police Records

  • Future research