Area of Law: Criminal Records
Answer # 2114
What is a Vulnerable Sector Check?Region: Ontario Answer # 2114
Who is a vulnerable person?
Police Records checks are mandated by law for employees and volunteers of organizations dealing with vulnerable people. Vulnerable people are those who because of age, disability, or other circumstances are less able to protect themselves from harm – such as children, the disabled, or the elderly.
What information is included in a vulnerable sector check?
When the police conduct a Vulnerable Sector Check (VSC) they provide a more comprehensive report. For example, a VSC will disclose whether the individual is a pardoned sex offender, whereas the Criminal Records Act ordinarily prohibits the disclosure of criminal records, which have been pardoned or suspended. It may also disclose other types of information if the police believe it to be pertinent. Vulnerable sector checks include checks of national databases maintained by the RCMP and local police records where the applicant lives.
How to request a VSC
The VSC must be requested from the local police service and must include the person’s written consent. The police usually charge a small processing fee for this service. For the consent to be considered legal, the person must provide:
- Personal information (e.g., name, sex, date and place of birth, and address)
- Two pieces of identification, one of which must be government-issued and includes name, date of birth, signature and photograph
- The name of the organization (or person) for which the job or volunteer position is sought
- A description of the position being applied for
- A statement that the applicant understands what type of information could be disclosed to the organization
Who will receive the results of a VSC?
The police will generally release the initial results only to the individual. Those results will indicate if a criminal record matches the information submitted. If it does, a criminal record can only be confirmed by the submission of the person’s fingerprints. Whether a record is confirmed or there is no record, the police service will first obtain the applicant’s consent before disclosing this information to the organization. However, in many cases, the individual provides the consent that their VSC results be released to the organization at the same time that they submit their employment application.
Once a criminal record exists, it is up to the individual to take the proper steps to have the record removed.
If you have been charged with a criminal offence, refer to our criminal law section.
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