Volunteering with the Vulnerable Sector

As you may already be aware, there are new rules in effect concerning the police reference checks and the criminal reference checks that some of you do for particular kinds of volunteers.

Some agencies require a volunteer who works directly with an individual who is considered part of a vulnerable population* to get a police reference check. Effective immediately, they may, depending upon what comes back on the PRC, also have to get fingerprinted and a Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) check. Processing can take up to 120 days according to the Ottawa Police Service.

This may become an issue for some of you as the process of being fingerprinted may be intimidating, particularly to newcomers to Canada and to youth. Volunteer Ottawa is in the process of gathering information about the effects of the new rules and will forward it to our members once we know more.

(Click here for more information directly from Ottawa Police Services)

The Government of Ontario has issued a general information guide to police reference checks. Every organization that uses volunteers should have this guide.

Download it here (PDF, 206 Kb)

If you are in doubt or need more information about where to go to get the fingerprinting done in the Ottawa region, call the Ottawa Police Services or your agency’s lawyer.

Generally speaking, volunteers only need a police reference check if they work directly with someone in the vulnerable population (i.e. a hockey coach, scout leader, school assistant). If the work is indirect (i.e. stuffing envelopes for the agency that provides service) volunteers do not need the check.

*Vulnerable populations are defined as people who, because of their age or circumstances, whether temporary or permanent are in a position of dependence on others or are otherwise at a greater risk than the general population. This would include children under the age of 16, the disabled or frail elderly.

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