Frequently Asked Questions
Police Record Checks FAQs
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 when the applicant will be working in a position of trust or authority towards vulnerable persons. This is created when an individual’s relationship with someone else has any of the following characteristics:
-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 which 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 one circumstance:
- 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 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.
Why does it take so long to get my Police Record Check done?
On average, we process over 600 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 Hanover in recent years, we must also contact that local police service to conduct a query of their 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.
How many Cannabis plants can I grow?
For recreational cannabis users, the legislation permits four cannabis plants per residential premise (indoors and/or outdoors). Individuals with a prescription to use cannabis may grow it themselves in quantities stipulated by that prescription. Additional details are available here: https://bit.ly/2swrnpw.
Is each person in my residence allowed to have up to four plants, or is there a household limit?
As of October 17, 2018, there is a household limit of four cannabis plants for recreational users.
I rent a property. Can I grow cannabis plants in my unit?
Landlords are able to prohibit growing of cannabis on their property.
I own a property. Can I stop my tenants from growing plants?
Landlords are able to prohibit growing on their property.
I have a medical cannabis license, did any cultivation rules change for me on October 17, 2018?
If a health care professional has already authorized you to use cannabis for medical reasons, you are still required to register under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) to produce cannabis for your own medical purposes. Details here: https://bit.ly/2MfD7sy.
My neighbour is smoking cannabis in their yard, and my kids are being exposed to the smoke, what can I do?
You are encouraged to share your concerns with your neighbours so that the matter can be resolved between both parties. If appropriate, a third party mediator could be retained to assist in the resolution.
Such a scenario would not be considered a police matter.