LETTER: Value public access to information

Court Services Online is just one valuable tool to assess applicants

Re: Chief judge reviews online court records (bclocalnews.com, Aug. 20).

As a landlord in this province I would first like to state that I very much appreciate having limited access to public court records pertaining to potential tenants. Court Services Online is just one valuable tool that I can use to help determine the suitability of an applicant, not just with respect to my own personal and professional interests, but also for the sake of doing what I can to ensure that all of my tenants remain safe in their homes.

While I myself take the necessary time to look at and consider the nature of any charges, dates, participants, and possible dispositions, I do feel that this information is presented in a manner that may not be correctly interpreted by some people, although I do not believe that the solution is to remove public access to this information.

Recently I was able to use CSO as a resource to engage a tenant applicant in a direct, honest conversation about their past criminal convictions and current parole conditions. I am proud to say that this led to a successful tenancy for someone who may not have otherwise been able to secure decent and affordable accommodations due to their history.

I value having public access to this information and believe that it can positively serve our society if used with appropriate diligence. Perhaps something can be done to educate employers, landlords, and others so that CSO can continue to be used in a manner that does not unduly penalize people for merely having had contact with our court system.

Ray Covenant

Abbotsford

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