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Obtaining Police Record Checks

Police record checks are only required for high-risk positions where the level of risk can’t be reduced through other methods. It’s considered a prudent measure, widely used by most volunteer agencies serving children and vulnerable adults. The police record check provides only limited information, so it must never be the most relied-on screening standard.

A police record check is required for all ordained ministry and normally for paid employee positions where there’s a level of trust inherent in the position and a lack of daily, structured supervision. A police record check is required at the beginning of a ministry and every three years thereafter. It must be obtained through the approved background checking service, using the standard forms and instructions (last updated Sep. 2020).

To protect the privacy of information in the document, police record checks are stored centrally at the Diocesan Centre and not in the parish. They are sent to the Human Resources department, where they will be processed and filed. All information associated with this process will be handled in a confidential manner consistent with the diocesan Privacy Standards policy. The individual and the parish will be sent confirmation that they’re permitted (or not) to serve in a position ranked high risk. The parish won’t receive detailed information contained in the police record.

Certain classes of convictions will automatically preclude an individual from filling a ministry position of trust with children or vulnerable adults (e.g. violent or sex-related crimes). In some cases, the existence of an official pardon will be taken into consideration. An individual with a criminal history may be accepted into a ministry position if the convictions aren’t related to the tasks of the position.

All police record checks must be obtained using the current diocesan form and instructions. Previous versions of the forms are no longer accepted.

Sexual offenders

The diocesan Sexual Misconduct Policy requires that: “Persons who have been found in a criminal proceeding to have committed sexual abuse of a child shall under no circumstances be given duties where they may be in contact with children. In the case of acquittal of a person charged with sexual abuse of a child (or where charges have not been proceeded with), the Diocese reserves the right to make an independent determination of the facts and the potential risks posed by the respondent based on a standard of the balance of probabilities, and erring on the side of protection of children and vulnerable persons.”

According to the Ontario Child and Family Services Act and the diocesan Sexual Misconduct Policy, the parish will make sure all reasonable suspicions of sexual offence against children and vulnerable adults are reported to the police, Children’s Aid Society and the Canon Pastor.

FAQs

Below are some of the frequently asked questions about police record checks (PRCs). You can also see the general Screening FAQs.

Why does the XpressChek consent form list Cobourg Police Services?

All agencies that conduct criminal record checks must work through a police service. XpressChek Inc. (the company the Diocese uses) works through Cobourg Police Services. This doesn’t affect the service the Diocese receives from XpressChek; it’s listed so everyone is fully aware of which agencies will receive their consent form.

How useful is the police record check (PRC)?

It’s only one tool of many. It may discourage an inappropriate person from applying for ministry. A PRC is NOT a substitute for all other screening steps.

Can I ask if someone has a police record?

No. It’s important to tell individuals that a police record check is required for their ministry as soon as possible, ideally when they’re applying for or inquiring about a position. You can ask if they’re willing to fulfill the screening requirements of the position.

Who pays for a police record check? What are the options?

It’s up to each parish. A variety of options are used across the Diocese. In some parishes, the individual pays. In others, the parish pays. Some parishes pay only for employees, while others pay only for volunteers. Some parishes pay for the police record check and encourage individuals to make a donation for the amount to the parish, which then issues a tax receipt. Use the payment method appropriate for your parish.

Do we send individual payment with each form, or can we send one payment for everyone that needs a police record check?

You can send one payment for everyone. Make sure to include the name of the congregation and a list of who’s a volunteer and who’s an employee.

Can I get a receipt for my police record check?

A receipt isn’t automatically issued, but if you need a receipt you can request it in writing on your forms. Receipts are issued by XpressChek Inc., not the Diocese.

Will I receive a copy or the original of the police record check (PRC) after it’s been processed?

No. The Diocese receives only an email confirmation that the PRC was clear of convictions. There is no physical PRC. If you have a record and a full physical PRC is obtained, it will be returned to you after it has been processed.

Can I get a police record check (PRC) from my local police department and send it to the Diocese for processing?

No. The Responsible Ministry: Screening in Faith policy requires that all individuals in high-risk positions complete a PRC through the approved background checking service, which is XpressChek Inc. We cannot process PRCs obtained through other services. This process makes sure all PRCs are obtained through a consistent process that’s cost effective and efficient. All clear PRCs will be processed within two weeks of submission. Some local police departments can take up to six months and require further processing by the Diocese.

I’ve already been screened by my employer/other volunteer agency (i.e. teacher, CSIS clearance, Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, etc.). Do I have to be screened by my parish too?

Yes. Every organization that works with children and vulnerable adults must conduct its own screening, including its own police record checks. This is to make sure the standards of the diocesan policy are followed consistently, that we have met our due diligence, and that we can provide full documentation of all screening steps if an investigation were initiated. It’s also an important part of making sure our process doesn’t have loopholes that can be taken advantage of.

I’m concerned about my privacy. Were issues around privacy considered when choosing to work with XpressChek Inc.?

Absolutely. The Diocese spent considerable time researching a range of companies that provide similar services, and one of the main factors in choosing XpressChek is their commitment to privacy and confidentiality. XpressCheck also has a privacy policy, which you can find at xpresschek.com/privacy-policy.

What does XpressChek do with the information I send them after my police record check is processed?

All credit card information is shredded immediately after processing. All other information sent to XpressChek is shredded 90 days after processing, which allows time for parishes to follow up if there are any questions or delays in the process.

Why does XpressChek require a photocopy of my identification?

This requirement protects you by making sure the police record check actually pertains to you, and not to someone with a similar name.

Can the OHIP/health card be used as (either photo or non-photo) identification for obtaining a police record check?

No. Ontario health cards can’t be accepted for identification purposes under the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA).

Can I go to XpressChek in person to have my police record check processed?

Yes. It’s easier to fax, mail or email the forms and payment, but you can also go to XpressChek in person Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Its offices are at 3080 Yonge St., Suite 4068 in Toronto. Be sure to complete all the forms, provide a photocopy of your identification, have a parish representative sign the forms and provide the appropriate payment.

Where do I send my police record check forms and payment?

XpressChek Inc.
3080 Yonge St., Suite 4068
Toronto, ON M4N 3N1
Fax: 416-412-2765
Email: screening@xpresschek.com

Help & resources

For the full list of resources available to help you implement the Responsible Ministry: Screening in Faith program, see Forms and Resources.