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The RCMP as the steward of Canadian criminal record information has the responsibility to ensure that sensitive personal and relevant information is being obtained and safeguarded in a manner that is in keeping with the expectations of the Canadian public and privacy legislation.
In 2009, the RCMP was made aware that certain Police agencies were disseminating criminal record information obtained via the CPIC system that was in direct contravention of the Criminal Records Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Ministerial Directive on the Release of Criminal Records and CPIC policy.
On November 30, 2009, the RCMP, supported by the CPIC Advisory Committee, issued a directive to police agencies stating that all CPIC agencies must abide by current and existing legislation, CPIC policy and Ministerial Directive.
In December, the RCMP issued an Interim Policy, reasserting the existing requirements for CPIC agencies to complete in order to undertake criminal records checks.
Representatives from Canadian police services, federal and provincial ministries of public safety and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada gathered in January 2010 to develop uniform practices regarding the release of criminal record information. The Dissemination of Criminal Record Information Policy Working Groupwas established as a response to breaches of Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) policies, federal legislation and Ministerial Directives regarding the release of criminal records. Topic areas covered by the working group included: common definitions for various types of criminal record checks; informed consent and identity verification requirements; and the role of private organizations, such as background screening companies and accredited fingerprint service providers, for conducting criminal record checks.
Vulnerable sector checks are an integral part of suitability pre-screening practices. All volunteer organizations are strongly encouraged to continue in this practice. Vulnerable sector screening may be required for the following types of positions: teacher, social worker, day-care worker, sport coaches, etc. It is required that the organization self-identify that the position entails that the applicant will be working or in the care of vulnerable individuals.
A vulnerable person is defined in section 6.3 of the Criminal Records Act, as a person who, because of age, a disability, or other circumstances, whether temporary or permanent are (a) in a position of dependence on others or (b) are otherwise at a greater risk than the general population of being harmed by a person in a position or authority or trust relative to them. There are measures in place to ensure people convicted of sexually-based offences do not work with the vulnerable sector.
There are measures in place to ensure people convicted of sexually based offences do not work with the vulnerable sector.
If a pardon has been granted, the criminal history information about an individual convicted of a sexually based offence is retrievable by law enforcement only for the purposes of a Vulnerable Sector search.
The following outlines, generally, the Vulnerable Sector search process:
Q: What is a criminal record check?
A: In general terms, a criminal record check is a search that is used to determine whether an individual has a criminal record. The search can be based on an individual's name and date of birth, or for much greater assurance, it can be based on fingerprints for positive identification. A criminal record check is performed against the national repository of criminal records maintained by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), which holds approximately 4.2 million records. Checks are also in many cases performed against a Canadian police service's local records.
Q: What is the difference between a criminal conviction and a criminal record?
A: Since the Identification of Criminals Act only allows the taking of fingerprints in relation to indictable or hybrid offences, the RCMP national repository of criminal records is fingerprint-based and only contains information relating to these two categories of offences. Summary offences are only included in the national repository if submitted to the RCMP as part of an occurrence involving an indictable or hybrid offence. Note: Not all offences are reported to the RCMP national repository of criminal records. A search against a local police agency's records may reveal criminal record information that has not been reported to the RCMP.
Q: What is a Local Indices Check?
A: A Local Indices Check is a review of local police files and occurrence reports in the area where the individual resides that could provide supporting or additional information that would be in addition to the criminal record check.
Q: Is a "CPIC check" a Criminal Record check?
A: No, CPIC is a system that transmits requests by authorized law enforcement agencies to several data banks primarily for law enforcement purposes. One of those data banks is the Criminal Records Information Management Services (CRIMS). CRIMS updates and maintains more than 600,000 criminal records annually and populates criminal record information to the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) Identification Data Bank. A criminal record file consists of an individual's criminal charges and their dispositions, including convictions and discharges that are supported by fingerprint information.
Q: What is a "CPIC Check"?
A: What many consider to be a "CPIC check" (or to others a "background check") is a query of the Identification Data Bank by a police agency using a person's name and date of birth. While there may be a match to a criminal record within the data bank that may point to a possible criminal record, it does not mean that the person subject to the check is the subject of that criminal record. This can only be positively confirmed with the submission of fingerprints. In addition, this type of check omits checks of other data banks that could provide valuable screening information (see question on local indices).
Q: What are the different types of criminal records checks?
A: There are four types of criminal records checks:
Q: How long does it take?
A: The processing time associated with a criminal record check depends on:
For example, clients who submit electronic fingerprints receive responses within three business days for the majority of civil clearance fingerprint requests that do not link to a criminal file. This applies to approximately 85% of all electronic civil fingerprint submissions. The processing of a criminal record verification can take up to and exceed, in rare circumstances, 120 days. Delays can be attributed to the verification of criminal record information submitted to the RCMP from authorized contributors across Canada.
Q: What are the different types of Criminal Record Products by the RCMP?
Certified Criminal Record Product - A summary of an individual's offence convictions and non-convictions (where authorized) that are releasable in accordance with federal laws. Based on the results of a Fingerprint-based Criminal Record Verification.
Certified Vulnerable Sector Product - A summary of an individual's offence convictions, non-convictions and sexual offence convictions for which the individual has received a pardon (where authorized) that are releasable in accordance with federal laws. Pursuant to the Criminal Records Act, the product applies to individuals that intend to work and/or volunteer with Vulnerable Person(s). Based on the results of a Fingerprint-based Vulnerable Sector Verification.
RCMP's National Media Relations, 613-993-2999