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| Local Authorities
June 19 2014

Toronto Police Criminal-Background Check Backlog Puts Thousands of Jobs and Studies in Limbo

"A ""catastrophic"" backlog in Toronto police background checks for students, health professionals and other workers could grow worse if the RCMP makes fingerprinting a mandatory part of the process.

The Toronto Police Services Board is grappling with how to manage the 200 new requests for checks received each day, contributing to a backlog that peaked at almost 17,000 requests last year. Waiting times for a check can stretch for months. At stake are timely job acceptance and school placements for thousands of applicants every year.

Police checks meant to uncover a potential criminal record are mandatory in a variety of workplaces. Last year, Toronto police received more than 108,000 requests for the two types of checks they provide. The first kind is called a clearance letter, which shows a person 's criminal record and can be checked by any police force using a database called the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC). The second type, called a ""vulnerable sector screening"" or VSS, is a more in-depth process and must be done by the police force where the person lives. For employment fields that require a valid VSS issued within six months, some checks have expired by the time they are needed."