WHITBY – Police dropping fees for some volunteer record checks but not for Vulnerable Sector

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Published March 30, 2022 at 4:55 pm

As of Friday, Police Services in Ontario will not be charging the volunteer fee for police record check applications for two of the three levels of checks provided.

But the $20 Vulnerable Sector Check (VCS) fee, which the majority of volunteers require – remains unchanged.

The Criminal Record Check and Criminal Record and Judicial Matters Check for volunteers will be free with an additional four copies, if requested at the time of initial application.  The volunteers will be required to provide proof of the volunteer position via Agency Letter.

Durham Region Police said in a statement that there is “misleading and confusing information” being broadcast by several media sources that imply volunteers will get free police record checks, without clarifying that the VSC – the most common record check – will remain the same.

Examples of people who would require a Vulnerable Sector Check for volunteer purposes:

  • Parent volunteers in a school, class trips
  • YMCA volunteers
  • Hockey coach, Baseball coach, any coaching staff of any sport of minors
  • Special Olympics
  • Hospitals, Nursing homes, long term care homes
  • Church staff
  • Food banks

A vulnerable sector check is a police information check plus a search to see if a person has a record suspension (pardon) for sexual offences.

Vulnerable sector checks were created in 2000 to protect children and vulnerable persons and is governed by section 6.3(3) of the Criminal Records Act. Policies

People who volunteer or have jobs where they are in positions of trust or authority over children or vulnerable persons can be asked to obtain a vulnerable sector check. Being in a position of trust or authority is more than just having contact with children or vulnerable persons. To meet the legal requirements for a vulnerable sector check, the nature of the position – not the person – must cause the person to have authority over, or trust of, children or vulnerable persons.

Children are defined as being anyone under the age of 18. Vulnerable persons are people who, because of their age, disability or other circumstance, are more vulnerable than others.

The decision to request a vulnerable sector check is made by the hiring company or volunteer organization. If they determine that a position is one of trust or authority over children or vulnerable persons, they can request that an applicant for the position obtain a vulnerable sector check. A vulnerable sector check is position specific.

If applicants or agencies have any questions or concerns, they are asked to contact the Information Release Unit for clarification at [email protected]

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