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Responsive Government

Remove From Hiring Applications the Check Box That Asks If Applicants Have a Criminal Record

Ontario should implement Ban the Box legislation. It was started by civil rights groups and advocates for ex-offenders, aimed at persuading employers to remove from their hiring applications the check box that asks if applicants have a criminal record. Its purpose is to enable ex-offenders to display their qualifications in the hiring process before being asked about their criminal records. The premise of the campaign is that anything that makes it harder for ex-offenders to find a job makes it likelier that they will re-offend, which is bad for society.

 

As of July 2015, 52 U.S. municipalities and 18 states had in place legislation that "banned the box" for government job applications and also in some cases those of their private contractors.[3] Many such ordinances exempt applications for "sensitive" positions, such as those involving work with children.

 

In June 2016, a large experimental study was published by Princeton University economist Amanda Agan and University of Michigan Law School professor Sonja Starr on the racial gap in callback rates of employers to job applicants of different racial backgrounds in New Jersey and New York City before and after Ban the Box laws went into effect. Agan and Starr sent out 15,000 fictitious online job applications to companies in those areas with racially stereotypical names on the job applications. Prior to the implementation of Ban the Box laws in New Jersey and New York City, the gap in the callback rate between the job applications with stereotypically black names and stereotypically white names was 7 percent. After the implementation of Ban the Box laws, the racial gap in the callback rate increased to 45 percent.

 

A July 2016 study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research on Ban the Box laws by University of Virginia professor Jennifer L. Doleac and University of Oregon economist Benjamin Hansen found that in jurisdictions where Ban the Box laws have been implemented, the probabilities of young, non-college educated, black and Hispanic males being employed have declined. An October 2006 study with a similar finding published in The Journal of Law and Economics by McCourt School of Public Policy economist Harry J. Holzer, University of California, Berkeley public policy professor Steven Raphael, and University of California, Los Angeles public affairs professor Michael A. Stoll found that employers who made routine criminal background checks for all job applicants, regardless of their racial backgrounds, hired black applicants (especially black males) at a higher rate than those employers that did not make routine criminal background checks for all applicants

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Idea No. 153