Thanks to the Ombudsman de Montréal’s previous interventions, citizens who were acquitted or otherwise exonerated of a criminal accusation by Cour municipale de Montréal can now, under certain conditions, obtain that their computerized file be no longer accessible to the general public.

Furthermore, the Criminal Records Act prohibits access to the criminal files of people who were convicted but later obtained a pardon from the Minister. In such cases, the law is clear: it is forbidden to disclose or allow access to information contained in these pardon files.

In the scope of an investigation, the Ombudsman de Montréal noted that citizens going to Ville de Montréal’s archives were conducting their own research and had full access to the court dockets of Cour municipale de Montréal where older criminal files are kept, including those of persons benefiting from a ministerial pardon. In other words, any citizen could easily access information on certain criminal files which, by virtue of the law, should have been out of reach.

We intervened very quickly, therefore, with Cour municipale de Montréal for this situation to be corrected without delay. Following our intervention, a new internal rule was immediately implemented: the public no longer has access to these paper documents and researches are now done on request, by a City employee, so as to guarantee the respect of the legal obligations resulting from the Criminal Records Act.

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