Halton Regional Police Service
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Police Record Checks - Frequently Asked Questions

For RCMP information on the various levels of police checks and other related information, please visit http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cr-cj/index-eng.htm

What is a police record check?

A police record check contains information the police have on file pertaining to an individual – or confirmation that a search reveals no such information. Depending on the level of check this may include, but is not limited to, a record of convictions for criminal offences across Canada, outstanding charges before the courts, current judicial orders that are in effect (such as peace bonds, prohibitions or probation orders). Some people have absolutely no such information, while others may have some or all of these categories.

In releasing information, the police take no position on the suitability of the applicant, and will not offer any comment or opinion. It is entirely at the discretion of the employer as to whether or not the applicant may be considered for the position.

What kind of police check do I need?

The agency or employer should inform you which type of check you require, based on the position for which you are applying. Please note that Vulnerable Sector (VS) checks can only be conducted in very specific circumstances where the nature of the position qualifies for this level of check. If you believe you need a Police Vulnerable Sector Check, you will be required to provide the police with the following information:

A description of the position
The name of the organization to which you are applying
Details regarding the children or vulnerable persons with whom you will have contact

The police service will use this information to determine if the position meets the legal requirements to conduct a Vulnerable Sector check. If the position does not meet the requirements of the Criminal Records Act for a VS check, it will not be processed. It is illegal for a police service to conduct a Police Vulnerable Sector Check if it does not qualify.

The main requirement for a Police Vulnerable Sector Check is where the applicant will be working in a position of trust or authority towards vulnerable persons. This is created when and individual's relationship with someone else has any of the following characteristics:

Decision-making power
Unsupervised access
Closeness inherent in the relationship
Personal nature of the activity itself

A 'vulnerable person’ is generally defined as children (under 18 years), the elderly, or any person who, by nature of a physical, emotional or psychological condition, is dependent on other persons for care and assistance with day-to-day living.

Someone working in an environment where they may have passing or incidental contact with vulnerable persons - such as a receptionist, maintenance worker, kitchen worker or in an administrative role - would not usually qualify for a Police Vulnerable Sector Check.

Public Safety Canada offers valuable information to assist agencies and employers on hiring employees and volunteers, including guidance on which level of police check is most appropriate based on the position, and how to determine screening requirements. Their 2012 Screening Handbook is an excellent resource and reference document, can be found at: http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/scrnng-hndbk/index-eng.aspx

Do I need a police check to get a job?

Not necessarily. Although some organizations do not require one, the trend is increasing for employers requiring police checks as part of the application process. We advise employers to use the police check as one of the last steps in the process, after they've reviewed the applicant’s information, conducted interviews and checked references.

I am under 18 years of age. Can I get a police check?

Youth records are only permitted to be disclosed in two circumstances:

  • To the Youth themselves, who is not permitted to further disclose Findings of Guilt and must remove any results from the record check before sharing with agencies [PRCRA 11] or
  • To the Government of Canada or government of a province or a municipality for purposes of employment or the performances of services, with or without renumeration [YCJA 119(1)(o)].

I am attending post-secondary school and living in Halton Region as a student. Can I get a Police Record Check done here?

If you have resided in another jurisdiction and still retain your permanent address there, you are advised to obtain a police record check from that police service. We will accept your police record check if you are able to provide documents to prove you are registered as a student in a Halton educational institution. This would include a current student card, as well as documents showing your local address (rental/lease agreement, etc.).

I am beginning my job search. Should I obtain a police check in advance?

We do not recommend it. First, you might obtain the wrong type of check and then have to apply for a new one at additional cost. As well, most employers will want a recent police check; if you do one in advance, it might not be accepted depending on when it was originally completed.

How long is a police check valid for? Is there an expiry date?

Police records checks are only valid on the day they are issued, since information can change from day to day. They are a 'snapshot in time' only. The police do not determine an expiry date; this is up to the agency/employer. Some might accept a police check that is 3-6 months old, while others may want a new one.

Since a person can be clear of charges or criminal activity today but could be arrested and charged tomorrow, we offer no guarantees on the validity of a police check beyond the actual date on which the search was conducted. As well, not all criminal convictions are reported to the RCMP, and more recent dispositions may not be updated on their system at the time a check is conducted.

In our experience, most employers will ask for a new police record check if the current one is older than 6 months, and almost certainly if it's older than one year. However, this is entirely at the discretion of the agency/employer.

Note that Police Vulnerable Sector Checks are only valid for the specific employer/position for which it was conducted, and are not likely to be accepted by another VS sector employer.

What if I choose the wrong type of police check?

We stress that you make your choice carefully as we do not provide refunds or exchanges once we have completed your check. If you are in doubt, the agency/employer should be able to tell you which one they require for the position.

What if I have a criminal record? Will this automatically bar me from getting a job?

The employer must find information from a police check relevant to the job they are offering. The Ontario Human Rights Code states that a person cannot be discriminated against based on, among other things, a 'record of offences'. Obviously some jobs - such as Police or Corrections Officer - will require the person to be free of convictions and have nothing in their history that might call their integrity into question. A person seeking a job at a financial institution will not likely be successful if they have convictions for theft, fraud or other crimes of dishonesty. However, a criminal record may not necessarily bar a person from obtaining employment or a volunteer position - the employer must show how that record is relevant to the position being offered - a bona fide reason for refusal.

I believe there is an error on my Police Record Check. Is there a process I can use to get my police check reviewed?

You do have an option of submitting a request for correction through our correction process. This relates only to an error or omission in the information. Criminal convictions are always released and cannot be reviewed.

You must submit your request in writing, and provide the reasons why you feel the information should be corrected.

If you wish to request a correction of the information disclosed on a Police Record Check, please complete the Request for Correction of a Police Record Check REC-007P form and apply in writing to:

Halton Regional Police Service
Information and Records Services Bureau
Attention: Assistant Manager
2485 North Service Road West,
Oakville, Ontario,
L6M 0Y3

Why must I be fingerprinted for a Police Vulnerable Sector Check? And what if I have already been fingerprinted before for a prior Police Vulnerable Sector Check or for another type of Police Record Check?

If your name, birthdate and gender (or just your birthdate and gender) resulted in a possible match to a pardoned offender record for sexual offences, your fingerprints must be taken for comparison and elimination purposes. As with all fingerprints collected for civil (non-criminal) purposes, they are not retained in the RCMP system. If you have been fingerprinted before for purposes such as military, security clearance, etc., those prints cannot be re-purposed for a Police Vulnerable Sector Check. It is highly unlikely the prints were queried against the pardoned offenders database at the time, as it requires (a) a justifiable purpose for the Police Vulnerable Sector Check, and (b) written consent by the applicant to have their prints queried against this specific databank. Therefore, in most cases you will have to submit new prints each time you require a Police Vulnerable Sector Check. Of note, less than 8% of all Police Vulnerable Sector Check applicants are a possible match and require this fingerprint elimination.

What is the Exceptional Disclosure Assessment?

In exceptional circumstances, non-conviction records may be considered for release on a Police Vulnerable Sector Check. There may be specific, exceptional cases where the existence of these types of records gives rise to a concrete and compelling concern for the safety of vulnerable persons. Non-convictions are criminal charges that did not result in a conviction in court. However, if information in the applicant’s record meets the Exceptional Disclosure Assessment it can be released under the authority of the Police Services Act (P.S.A Regulation 265/98, s. 3). What may be considered for release are non-convictions involving child sexual predators and fraud schemes targeting the elderly or other vulnerable persons.

I have non-conviction records that I feel might hinder my chances of getting a job. Is there a process I can use to get things removed from my police check?

You do have an option of appealing the release of certain information through our Reconsideration process. This relates only to non-conviction police contact information released under the Exceptional Disclosure Assessment. Criminal convictions are always released and cannot be appealed.

You must submit your request in writing, including the Request for Reconsideration REC-007M form and provide the reasons why you feel the information should not be included.

If you wish to request a reconsideration of the information disclosed on a Police Record Check you may apply in writing to:

Halton Regional Police Service
Information and Records Services Bureau
Attention: Assistant Manager
2485 North Service Road West,
Oakville, Ontario,
L6M 0Y3

What if I have had past contacts with the police involving mental health incidents?

This information is no longer authorized for release within any level of police record check.

Do you release information on my driving history, including speeding tickets and other infractions?

We do not disclose any non-criminal driving offences. If the job you are applying for requires proof of a clear driving record, you can obtain your Driver's Abstract from the Ministry of Transportation. However, we will disclose any driving offences under the Criminal Code, such as Impaired Driving, Dangerous Driving, Criminal Negligence, etc., as well as the disposition.

Why does it take so long to get my Police Record Check done?

On average, we process over 40,000 police record check requests each year for various employers, as well as school boards and minor sporting leagues. Each one must be queried, the results analyzed, and in the case of potential police contacts, reports must be reviewed individually. If you've resided at an address outside Halton in recent years, we must also contact that police service to conduct a query of their local records. All of this takes time and resources. While we can usually complete your Police Record Check well within the stated timeframes, there may be occasions where information is delayed or requires further confirmation.

Can I get my Police Record Check done any faster?

We do not have a system in place to process 'rush' jobs. No one applicant is more or less important than the next person. It would not be fair to do it for one person and not for someone else. We appreciate that everyone would like their check completed as quickly as possible, and we strive to minimize the turnaround time as best we can.

What if I don't disclose all the pages of my Police Record Check, or alter the information prior to showing it to an employer?

The Halton Regional Police Service enbosses a security seal to certify documents as original, and include the number of pages to ensure all available information is properly released. If a person deliberately alters the results of their Police Record Check by changing the content, it is an offence under the Criminal Code. If we become aware this has occurred it will be investigated and charges could be laid.

If an agency/employer has any questions about the validity of the document, they can contact us. Although we will not discuss the content of a person's Police Record Check due to privacy reasons, we will confirm the number of pages originally released, and advise whether or not a document may have been altered.

I don't live in Halton, or I reside outside of Canada. How can I get a Police Record Check?

The Halton Regional Police Service provides Police Record Checks only for residents of our Region. Note that Vulnerable Sector Checks can only be done for Canadian residents residing and employed in Canada. As per RCMP directives, police services cannot conduct Vulnerable Sector screening for citizens living and working outside Canada, even if the employer is a Canadian firm.

If you reside outside Canada, you can obtain a certified criminal records check by submitting fingerprints directly to the RMCP. Note that this only contains information relevant to criminal convictions, if any. It does not include police contact information, nor a search of the pardoned database. More information is available on the RCMP website at: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/criminal-record-checks

For information regarding Police Record Checks, contact:
Information and Records Services
Tel: (905) 825-4777 Ext. 4712


For privacy concerns/access to information, contact:
Manager, Information and Records Services
Halton Regional Police Service
2485 North Service Road West,
Oakville, Ontario, L6M 0Y3
Tel: (905) 825-4777 Ext. 5000