Police Reference Check Program
Information About the Vulnerable Sector Screening
Police Reference Check Program for Individuals Seeking Employment or Volunteer Opportunities Through Certain Agencies
If you are a potential candidate for employment and/or volunteer duties with a community agency or other organization, the agency or organization with which you wish to work may require that you have a police reference check performed.
Reference checks performed for people who will be working with children or vulnerable people are called “Vulnerable Sector Screening Program – Police Reference Checks”.
The Toronto Police Service (the “Service”) will carry out a Vulnerable Sector Screening Program – Police Reference Check about you when:
- the agency with whom you want to work or volunteer (if you are requesting a reference check through an agency - Agencies can call our information line for registration at: 416-808-7991) certifies to the Service that it:
- is only requesting the reference check for the purpose of assisting it to determine your suitability for employment and/or volunteer duties because you will have direct contact with children or vulnerable persons;
- will only ask for a police reference check to be done after it has completed an initial review of your suitability and has tentatively selected you for employment or a volunteer opportunity;
- understands its obligations under the Human Rights Code with respect to evaluating, hiring and training volunteers or employees and what constitutes a “bona fide” reason for refusing to hire any individual or volunteer; and
- has paid the necessary fee to the Service;
- you live in the City of Toronto; and
- you have signed a written authorization permitting a reference check about yourself to be conducted (called a “Consent to Disclosure” form).
If the Service receives a Consent to Disclosure form signed by you authorizing it to carry out a police reference check, the Service will conduct an electronic search of the CPIC Investigative, Intelligence and Identifications data banks and any Service data banks for available information about you. Therefore, among other things, the Service will search for any information on file relating to: criminal convictions, outstanding charges before the courts, probation information (including peace bonds, restraining orders, and reporting conditions), any prohibitions relating to you (includes firearms, driving, hunting and boat), federal or provincial parole information, and information relating to whether you are suspected of committing a criminal offence or are involved in a serious criminal investigation. (Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and the Service may have access to other information about you through its database searches).
A recent RCMP national broadcast has directed all Police Services that fingerprints be required for positive identification before criminal records are released. Therefore, should any criminal history about you be on file, your application will be returned back to you. It will then be necessary for you to have your fingerprints taken as a confirmation of identification. To do this, please attend on of the various private RCMP accredited fingerprinting agencies listed in your local telephone book. When you have received your confirmation of your identity back from RCMP, please attach to your application and return to: Toronto Police Service, 40 College Street, Toronto, Ontario, attention: Police Reference Check Program.
Further information on the new RCMP CPIC policy is available on their web-site www.cpic-cipc.ca. Information regarding the RCMP’s Civil Fingerprinting Services can be found at http://www.rcmp.gc.ca/cr-cj/fing-empr2-eng.htm.
In addition to the above categories of records, Service databases would also document contacts that you have had, if any, with the Service under the Mental Health Act. Specifically, there are provisions under the Mental Health Act according to which police officers may apprehend a person and take him or her to the hospital for assessment by a medical professional. When the police apprehend someone under the Mental Health Act, this is noted in a police database. The Service does not, however, disclose contact, if any, that you have had with the Service pursuant to the Mental Health Act as part of Vulnerable Sector Screening Program – Police Reference Check unless the agency with whom you are seeking employment or a volunteer position specifically requests such information and certifies to the Service that the information is required for the agency to properly complete its evaluation of your suitability for the position.
When the Service is being asked by the agency to disclose information relating to any contact it has had with you, if any, under the Mental Health Act, this will be indicated on the Consent to Disclosure form that you must sign before the reference check is conducted.
The Service will provide the results of any Vulnerable Sector Screening Program – Police Reference Check conducted only to you, the individual who has requested it. The results are mailed to you at the address given on the Consent to Disclosure form. The Vulnerable Sector Screening Program – Police Reference Check is not sent directly to the agency.
It is then your responsibility to decide whether you wish to discuss the results of a Vulnerable Sector Screening Program – Police Reference Check with the agency that you wish to work with or volunteer for. If you do not disclose the results of the Vulnerable Sector Screening Program – Police Reference Check with the agency, you may not be eligible for employment or a volunteer position, but that is an issue for the agency to decide.
Also, please note that the mere fact that the Service has information relating to you should not disqualify you from consideration for a position. It is the responsibility of every Agency to comply with the Human Rights Code in deciding whether to hire an applicant or volunteer. You can obtain information on the Human Rights Code through the website of the Ontario Human Rights Commission at www.ohrc.on.ca or by contacting the Commission at (416) 326-9511 (if you are within the Toronto area) or 1-800-387-9080 (Toll Free outside Toronto Area).
The role of the Service is simply to provide you with a summary of the information available through police databases. The agency that you want to work with is responsible for determining your suitability for the position that you have applied for; the result of any police reference check is just one component of the information available to and evaluated by the agency.
If you have any questions about the process by which a police reference check is carried out or if you have any questions about the specific results of your reference check, you may contact the Records Management Services department for more information. The Service aims to ensure that everyone understands the information disclosed about themselves.
If you have a specific concern regarding the appropriateness of specific disclosure relating to your contact with the Service under the Mental Health Act, you may discuss it with the Records and Information Management department. For more information, please request a copy of the Service’s “Vulnerable Sector Screening Program – Police Reference Check Supression of Records Policy” by contacting Records Management Services at the telephone numbers provided above or by mail at the address provided below.
The Service is required by by-law to maintain records relating to any contact a person may have had with the Service under the Mental Health Act for a minimum of five years plus the current year (or approximately 6 years in total). After that time, you may contact Records Management Services to request that records documenting your apprehension under the Mental Health Act be destroyed. Such requests must be made in writing to Records Management Services.
Records Management Services can be reached by telephone at 416-808-8244, our information line at 416-808-7991, our status line (for vulnerable sector waivers) 416-808-8253; by mail at Records Management Services Unit, Toronto Police Service, 40 College Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2J3; or by email ReferenceCheckProgram@torontopolice.on.ca.