A Winnipeg man has reached an out-of-court settlement with the City of Winnipeg, after city police included information about charges for which he was not convicted in a criminal record check.
"There is a settlement and I am happy with it," Michael Kalo said.
Kalo filed a lawsuit against the city in 2017, alleging he lost an opportunity to apply for a job as a school bus driver after a criminal record check revealed he’d been accused of sexual offences against a child eight years earlier.
The charges were stayed after Kalo signed a peace bond. He was never convicted of any crime.
Court records show the lawsuit was discontinued Sept. 11.
Kalo would not say how much money he received as a result of the settlement, as it was subject to a non-disclosure agreement. The Winnipeg Police Service declined comment on the settlement Monday.
Kalo said the city’s employment of a non-disclosure agreement shows a "shameful" lack of transparency and accountability.
"(The) city uses taxpayer money to hush and assure that police can further abuse its power with all other applicants for record checks," Kalo said in an email to the Free Press. "(The) city then hides from the public how much of its money might have been spent in settling."
Kalo argued in his lawsuit he had undergone criminal record checks in vulnerable sectors in the past, all of which had come back clear.
In April, the Manitoba Court of Appeal ordered a new hearing for Kalo in Court of Queen’s Bench, ruling the case brought up "important systemic and public interest issues," involving the power of police to include non-conviction information in criminal record checks.
"A large group of individuals may be affected by these decisions and, in particular, those who often face significant challenges in securing employment," Justice Freda Steel wrote in the Appeal Court’s decision. "On the other hand, the protection of vulnerable individuals is an equally important societal concern and part of the consideration."
The case landed in the Court of Appeal, after a Court of Queen’s Bench justice agreed to allow a judicial review of the WPS decision. The Court of Appeal ordered the new hearing after ruling Queen’s Bench Justice Sheldon Lanchbery did not have enough information before him when he made his decision.
Lanchbery criticized an internal police policy that allowed the non-conviction information to be disclosed, and called on the provincial government to standardize its criminal record and vulnerable-sector disclosure process.
The WPS amended its vulnerable-sector record check guidelines in 2016 to include "in exceptional circumstances" non-conviction information, such as stayed charges. According to the service’s website, the amended guideline remains in place.