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Vulnerable Sector Checks - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the average processing time for a fingerprint-based vulnerable sector check?
  2. Why can it take up to 120 days to process a fingerprint-based vulnerable sector check if there is a fingerprint match?
  3. If an individual has never been charged with a criminal offence, why are they being asked to submit fingerprints to complete a VSC?
  4. At what age should agencies conduct VS checks for people working with children or vulnerable persons?
  5. Why would fingerprints be required to prove that an individual does not have a criminal record and/or pardoned sex offender record?
  6. If an individual did a vulnerable sector check the previous year, why do they have to do it again?
  7. What does the RCMP do with the fingerprints after the vulnerable sector check is completed?
  8. Can a vulnerable sector check be conducted for any individual or organization that makes a request?
  9. How can I obtain a vulnerable sector check to work in a position located outside of Canada?
  10. Why do individuals pay $25 to the RCMP to complete a vulnerable sector check for employment purposes?
  11. How much will a local police agency charge individuals for a vulnerable sector check?
  12. Why should local police record checks be conducted for all people working or volunteering with children or vulnerable persons?
  13. Where can individuals obtain more information on civil fingerprinting and vulnerable sector checks?
  14. Can I obtain a VS check for the purpose of an adoption?

What is the average processing time for a fingerprint-based vulnerable sector check (VSC)?

For updated processing times, please visit the Processing Times page.

Why can it take up to 120 days to process a fingerprint-based vulnerable sector check if there is a fingerprint match?

The reasons for the longer processing may include:

  • A requirement to ensure that criminal files are up-to-date prior to processing the vulnerable sector check submission.
  • If the criminal file has outstanding charges, their dispositions are sought prior to processing the vulnerable sector check submission.
  • A requirement to ensure that the submission meets all of the requirements of the Criminal Records Act prior to making a request for disclosure of a pardoned sex offender record by the Minister of Public Safety.
  • A requirement for ensuring that reasonable efforts are made to ensure that the verification is as accurate and up-to-date as possible in accordance with Privacy Act requirements.

If an individual has never been charged with a criminal offence, why are they being asked to submit fingerprints to complete a VSC?

As a result of an enhancement, a vulnerable sector check now requires the submission of fingerprints whenever the gender and date of birth of an applicant match to an existing pardoned sex offender record. This is not an accusation of criminality, but a requirement for a thorough verification to confirm identity and protect personal privacy. In addition to verifying an individual’s association with a criminal offence (including pardoned sex offences), fingerprints are also submitted to CCRTIS for the purposes of certifying that an individual does not have criminal record information that can be disclosed in accordance with federal laws.

At what age should agencies conduct VS checks for people working with children or vulnerable persons?

It is recommended that VS checks be performed for everyone over the age of eighteen who will be in a position of trust or authority over children or vulnerable persons.

Why would fingerprints be required to prove that an individual does not have a criminal record and/or pardoned sex offender record?

The Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Service (CCRTIS) relies on fingerprints as the primary method of positive identification for criminal record verification purposes, which includes vulnerable sector checks. CCRTIS will only accept criminal record information if accompanied by a lawfully obtained set of fingerprints.

The RCMP National Repository of Criminal Records classifies and stores criminal record information with supporting fingerprints. Fingerprints are the primary key to verify and disclose criminal record information, including pardoned sex offender records.

If an individual did a vulnerable sector check the previous year, why do they have to do it again?

A vulnerable sector check is a point-in-time search only. CCRTIS destroys fingerprint submissions relative to civil screening (including vulnerable sector checks) when the search is completed and the results are returned to the police agency. The fingerprints are not added to the RCMP National Repository of Criminal Records and are not searched for future purposes.

The Criminal Records Act requires the results of a vulnerable sector check to be disclosed to the person or organization that requested the verification. For this reason, an individual may be required to submit fingerprints in support of a subsequent request for a vulnerable sector check.

What does the RCMP do with the fingerprints after the vulnerable sector check is completed?

The RCMP destroys fingerprint submissions 90 days after asearch is completed and the results are returned to thepolice service. The fingerprints are not added to theRCMP National Repository of Criminal Records and arenot searched for future purposes.

Can a vulnerable sector check be conducted for any individual or organization that makes a request?

No. In accordance with Criminal Records Act requirements, a vulnerable sector check may only be conducted for a paid or volunteer position of authority or trust relative to children or other vulnerable persons. Prior to conducting a vulnerable sector check, a police service or authorized body must verify that the position is relative to the vulnerable sector.

How can I obtain a vulnerable sector check to work in a position located outside of Canada?

vulnerable sector checks can only be performed for positions located within Canada. Police agencies are not authorized to perform vulnerable sector checks for positions located outside of Canada. This rule applies even if the person will be working for a Canadian organization.

Why do individuals pay $25 to the RCMP to complete a vulnerable sector check for employment purposes?

The RCMP does not retain the $25 processing fee for vulnerable sector checks. Cheques or money orders are made payable to the Receiver General for Canada, in accordance with federal regulations, and are deposited into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

For purposes of volunteer positions (no payment for services), there is no federally regulated processing fee that has to be submitted to the RCMP for requesting a vulnerable sector check.

How much will a local police agency charge individuals for a vulnerable sector check?

The RCMP does not regulate service fees for vulnerable sector checks performed by local police agencies. Individuals should contact their local police agency to enquire about applicable service fees.

Why should local police record checks be conducted for all people working or volunteering with children or vulnerable persons?

Checks of local police data bases may contain information that is not available on national data banks. Examples are: Peace bonds related to domestic violence, Indecent assault prior to 2010)

Where can individuals obtain more information on civil fingerprinting and vulnerable sector checks?

Visit the Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (CCRTIS) website.

Contact civil fingerprinting screening services via email: civilnps@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

Can I obtain a VS check for the purpose of an adoption?

Fingerprints that are sent to the RCMP for adoptive parents are screened to see if the person has been pardoned for a sex offence. The Criminal Records Act requires that the RCMP use a process that is different from the process used for a VS check .For this reason, RCMP documents indicate that a VS check was not requested.

The RCMP encourages police agencies to conduct fingerprint based criminal record checks for all applications related to adoptions to ensure that they are screened for pardoned sex offences.