Types of Police Record Checks

In Ontario, the Police Record Checks Reform Act, 2015 (PRCRA) sets the standards that govern how police record checks are conducted and what is included in the check, for screening purposes such as employment or volunteering.  The Act authorizes three different types of police record checks:

 Police Criminal Record Check (PCRC)
 The search will include:
  • Criminal convictions, from CPIC and/or local databases
  • Summary convictions (previous 5 years) when identified
  • Findings of guilt under the Youth Criminal Justice Act within the applicable disclosure period
 Police Criminal Record and Judicial Matters Check (PCRJMC)
  The search will include:
  • Criminal convictions, from CPIC and/or local databases
  • Summary convictions (previous 5 years) when identified
  • Outstanding entries, such as charges, warrants, judicial orders, peace bonds, probation and prohibition orders
  • Findings of guilt under the Youth Criminal Justice Act within the applicable disclosure period
  • Absolute and Conditional Discharges (for 1 or 3 years respectively)
 Police Vulnerable Sector Check (PVSC)
 The search will include:
  • Criminal convictions, from CPIC and/or local databases
  • Summary convictions (previous 5 years) when identified
  • Outstanding entries, such as charges, warrants, judicial orders, peace bonds, probation and prohibition orders
  • Findings of guilt under the Youth Criminal Justice Act within the applicable disclosure period
  • Absolute and Conditional Discharges (for 1 or 3 years respectively)
  • Dispositions of not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder (previous five years)
  • Where it meets the exceptional disclosure assessment, non-conviction dispositions including, but not limited to, withdrawn and dismissed charges
  • Record suspensions (formerly known as pardons) as authorized for release by the Minister of Public Safety

Relevant Definitions:

Non-conviction information: means information concerning the fact that an individual was charged with a criminal offence if the charge,

  • was dismissed, withdrawn or stayed, or
  • resulted in a stay of proceedings or an acquittal.

Volunteer: means a person who performs a service but who receives no compensation for doing so other than an allowance for expenses or an honorarium, and excludes a person receiving some other form of credit such as academic credit or fulfilling a sentence requirement.

Vulnerable Person: means a person who, because of his or her age, a disability or other circumstances, whether temporary or permanent,

  • is in a position of dependency on others, or
  • is otherwise at a greater risk than the general population of being harmed by a person in a position of trust or authority towards them.  (The applicant must be in a position of trust or authority over the vulnerable person; this means more than just having contact with them.)

 

Please Note: 

 Police Vulnerable Sector Check Restrictions
  • The PVSC is restricted to applicants seeking employment and/or volunteering in a position of trust or authority relative to vulnerable persons in Canada only.  For further information please go to the RCMP website regarding criminal record checks.
  • The PVSC can only be completed by police in the jurisdiction where the applicant resides.  Students with a temporary address in the Niagara Region must provide their current local address and must show proof of the address, e.g. copy of lease agreement, utility bill, etc.
 Additional Fingerprint Requirement re: PVSC

In addition to checking past and current criminal records and local police contact information, the PVSC includes a search of the record suspended (formerly pardoned) sex offender database through the RCMP. As NRPS does not have direct access to these records, we are reliant on the RCMP to complete this end of the search and provide us with a response.

When submitting a VS query to the RCMP, the CPIC system initially attempts to identify a possible match to a sexual offence record for which a record suspension (formerly pardon) has been granted, based on the surname and given name of the individual. If this query does not identify the possible existence of a record, the system performs a subsequent query based on the gender and birth date of the individual. If this query locates a similar date of birth/same gender in the criminal and record suspended records, we receive a prompt for the submission of fingerprints to verify or refute the existence of a record suspended sex offender record.

If fingerprints are required in order to complete a PVSC, the NRPS Records & Information Management Unit will notify the applicant by telephone or email with information and instructions on how to book an appointment time. Fingerprint appointments are currently available Monday - Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 pm at 5700 Valley Way Niagara Falls. Fingerprints are submitted electronically to the RCMP with an immediate turnaround time when there is no information on file.

Individuals affected by this will need to complete the following process if they wish to continue in order to receive their PVSC:

  • If the application is for any purpose other than volunteering (i.e. employment, student placements, adoption, foster care, etc.) the applicant must pay $25 for their scheduled fingerprint appointment. A receipt will be provided.
  • If the application is for volunteer purposes, the RCMP will waive the $25 fee provided the applicant has provided a letter from the volunteer agency on letterhead prior to being fingerprinted. The letter must contain: the name and date of birth of the prospective volunteer; the position title being applied for, including a brief description of the duties; confirmation that the volunteer receives no compensation for their work other than an allowance for expenses or an honorarium, and excludes a person receiving some other form of credit such as academic credit or fulfilling a sentence requirement; and the name and contact information of an agency representative.
  • When the applicant attends the NRPS for their scheduled fingerprint appointment they must bring either the required RCMP fee or agency letter. Fingerprints cannot be submitted to the RCMP without the required letter or payment received by the NRPS.
  • The NRPS will submit your prints electronically to the RCMP. The results will be received immediately and the police record check completed. If results are not received immediately, or the police record check cannot be completed immediately, then applicants will be contacted by phone or e-mail once it is completed.  Please ensure that you notify us should your phone number or e-mail address change during the waiting period.
  • It is important for the public to understand that under no circumstance does a potential hit to the record suspended sex offender database confirm an applicant is or is not a record suspended sex offender; this "possible match" can only be ruled out via fingerprints.
 Applicants Under the Age of 18 Years

As of November 1, 2018, community organizations, charities and sport groups are no longer entitled to use police checks as a screening tool when considering youth for employment or volunteer work.

In accordance with Ontario's Police Record Checks Reform Act, 2015 and the Youth Criminal Justice Act, police services can only provide Record Checks to applicants who are under the age of 18 and applying for positions with municipal, provincial or federal governments.

As a result, police are not permitted to provide record checks for youths seeking a position with non-government organizations, such as sports groups, not-for-profit agencies, charities, hospitals and school boards.

 Acceptable Identification

The Niagara Regional Police Service requires 2 pieces of government issued identification (one with a photo) in order to process police record check applications.  Examples of acceptable Identification are:

  • Valid driver's license
  • Valid passport
  • Citizenship card
  • Ontario photo ID card
  • Birth certificate
  • Immigration documents
  • Native status card
  • Military employment card
  • Marriage certificate
  • Baptismal certificate
  • Ontario age of majority card
  • Valid firearms license
  • Student card (with photo)
  • Vehicle insurance or ownership

Please have on hand proof of address should this information not be available on the identification that you are presenting. Utility bills, lease agreements or government mail with your name and current address can be accepted as proof of address when accompanied by photo identification and confirmation of date of birth.

 Request for Reconsideration (PVSC)

An applicant who has had a Police Vulnerable Sector Check (PVSC) completed, may make application to have certain non-conviction information excluded from the results.

 

Requests for reconsideration must be made by the applicant in writing no later than 45 days after receiving the record.  Submit to:

Niagara Regional Police Service
Attention: Records & Information Management Unit
5700 Valley Way. 
Niagara Falls, Ont. L2E 1X8

 

Please include any and all information you may deem relevant in order to assist in our deliberations (including your name, date of birth, and incident numbers if available), and ensure you include a return mailing address in your correspondence.  Upon reviewing a request, the Niagara Regional Police Service will take the following criteria into consideration:

  1. Date and number of the incidents
  2. The age of the applicant at the time of the incidents
  3. All information available to the police service that relates to the applicant including Crown notes (where present)
  4. Whether the incidents target a vulnerable person
  5. Whether there is repeated behaviour towards more than one person
  6. Details of the incident including:
    • any written information provided by the applicant including supporting documentation
    • information provided by the officers who had contact with the individual at the time of that incident, if available
    • the reason the incident did not result in a conviction

You will be informed in writing of the final decision made by the Reconsideration Panel and be provided with a general reason for acceptance or denial within 30 days of receipt of the reconsideration request.

Please note that removal of any information will only be done if there is a substantive reason to support it. Removal will not be done strictly at the request of the applicant because disclosure of the contact might affect their chances of securing a volunteer or paid position.

 Additional Resources for Applicants and Agencies
RCMP

For more information on police record checks (types, where to go, certified checks, etc.) please visit the RCMP website.

 

Volunteer Canada

For more information on screening for volunteer organizations please visit the Volunteer Canada website.

 

The Ontario Human Rights Commission

For more information on human rights and employment please visit:

The Ontario Human Rights Commission - Information about Human Rights and employment.

Information on Mental Health and employment

 

Public Safety Canada

For more information from the Government of Canada on the essential steps for screening persons applying to work as volunteers please visit their Best Practice Guidelines for Screening Volunteers.

How do I apply for a police record check?

You can apply online at Online Police Record Check Application Page (please note that a $9.95 processing / authentication fee will be charged by the third party service provider).

You can also apply in person at any of the NRPS locations throughout the Region.  You will need two pieces of government issued identification (one with a photo) and proof of a permanent address within the Region.

All police record checks are processed on a first come, first served basis.  

The following are forms that can be printed and filled out, and then dropped off at the Records Counter at 5700 Valley Way in Niagara Falls, or at the Front Desk of any NRPS District location.

Police Record Check Application Form

Self-Declaration Form

 NRPS Locations and Front Desk Hours
  •  1 District - 198 Welland Ave., St. Catharines (Monday to Friday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
  • 2 District - 5700 Valley Way, Niagara Falls (Records Counter Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • 2 District - 5700 Valley Way, Niagara Falls (Front Desk 24/7)
  • 3 District - 5 Lincoln St., Welland (Monday to Friday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
  • 5 District - 650 Gilmore Rd., Fort Erie (Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • 6 District - 501 Fielden Ave., Port Colborne (Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.)
  • 8 District - 45 Clarke St., Grimsby (Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.)

Fees

$50 Employment - PCRC, PCRJMC, PVSC - (including foster parents, students receiving academic credit, etc.)

$20 Volunteer - PVSC - (including kinship, etc.), a letter from the agency must be provided

Free Volunteer - PCRC, PCRJMC - *as of April 1st 2022, a letter from the agency must be provided

(Additional $9.95 processing / authentication fee will be charged by the third party service provider for all online applications)

Fees are non-refundable

Fact Sheet for Volunteer Agencies regarding the letter that must be provided for all volunteers.

IMPORTANT NOTICE

Payment Policy Adjustment

Please be advised that effective October 1, 2018 payment must be made by Debit, Visa or MasterCard.

Cash is no longer accepted.

Please email backgroundchecks@niagarapolice.ca with any questions.