Requesting a criminal record check online or in-person is a matter of ensuring public safety. Employers and landlords put in this request to protect vulnerable people, such as children. Sometimes individuals must undergo a background check before or after they have been offered a job, as well as before they can sign a lease. 

If you are facing a criminal record check, our team of lawyers have provided you with many answers to clarify the process.

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Ways to Get a Criminal Records Check

A criminal record check has various forms and reveals an individual’s criminal history.

Name-Based Check

Using basic information, such as an individual’s name and birth date is the number-one way to do a criminal record check. They are done on the RCMP’s Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) system where people, such as landlords, can search the National Repository of Criminal Records. The CPIC also offers other national and local databases. 

However, a name-based check isn’t the most accurate way to do a criminal record check due to people’s last names being the same, the use of nicknames or different spelling, even legal and intentional name changes.  

Certified Criminal Record Check

Certified criminal record checks are more accurate than name-based ones since they include the individual’s fingerprints. The National Repository of Criminal Records allows the RCMP to do a search for an individual’s fingerprints to confirm an individual’s identity. 

Individuals who submit their fingerprints do so by giving their informed consent. When filling out the application form, individuals must name a third party who will be privy to their results for future criminal record checks. There is a small percentage of fingerprints that cannot be electronically processed, so the RCMP will provide a paper copy. 

Police Information Check (PIC)

The RCMP and all other police agencies in BC can do one type of check called a Police Information Check (PIC). Police information checks are divided into two categories:


This PIC is labelled as a PIC-VS. It will contain information regarding any criminal convictions, outstanding criminal charges and warrants, other judicial orders, as well as non-convictions and case files where you were a suspect in a founded substantiated offence. 

A PIC-VS can be done at the request of organizations located in Canada, but the individual’s job position can be located outside of the country. In this case, information regarding a vulnerable sector check will remain within Canada.

Canadians outside of Canada cannot apply for a PIC-VS.

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This PIC is restricted to criminal convictions, outstanding criminal charges and warrants, as well as other judicial orders. This report can be used to gain employment outside of Canada. 

Canadian applicants who are outside of Canada can apply for a PIC by visiting a local police force or a nearby consulate.

You can apply for a PIC-VS or PIC in-person at your local RCMP detachment or a policy agency. You will need two pieces of government-issued identification and one of them must have a photo.

Vulnerable Sector Checks

A vulnerable sector is defined as a sector involving individuals who are dependent upon others or at a greater risk than the average person of being harmed by an individual in power. A vulnerable person can be temporarily or permanently deemed vulnerable because of their age, a disability, or other circumstances. Vulnerable individuals often include children and senior citizens.

A vulnerable sector check includes the same information as a PIC, but it also includes a search for an individual’s record suspensions (also called pardons) for sexual offences.

Only hiring individuals or organizations who deal with individuals in a vulnerable sector are allowed to request a criminal record check. Additionally, the hiring individual or organization must have consent from the individual who will undergo the check.

If a paid or volunteer job position does not fit the criteria outlined in the Criminal Records Review Act, the request for a criminal record check may be treated as an offence (see more below). A vulnerable sector search can be conducted only by a local police agency.

If you want to know about the type of information that will appear in criminal record checks, consult our blog post titled “What shows up on a criminal record?”.

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The Criminal Records Review Act provides protection to people in vulnerable sectors. According to the Act, criminal record checks are mandatory for people who will work with children and vulnerable adults or have unsupervised access to children, including:

  • Doctors 
  • Nurses
  • Hospital employees
  • Dentists
  • Teachers
  • Non-teaching staff in schools (e.g., janitors and administrative support)
  • Registered students in a post-secondary program 
  • Early childcare educators
  • Daycare employees
  • Employees in long-term care facilities 
  • Facilities with health services to vulnerable adults

Some volunteer organizations do not fall under the criteria laid out in the Act, such as not-for-profit organizations. These organizations in British Columbia  perform vulnerable sector checks through the British Columbia Criminal Records Review Program. 

How Much Does it Cost to Get a Criminal Record Check in BC?

The cost of a criminal record check in BC depends on the process. 

A certified criminal check includes fingerprints, so this can incur additional costs and costs will vary according to where you go to have your fingerprints taken. Local police will usually charge you a federal fee and an additional fee. The federal processing fee is $25 CDN per record check, but the fee may be waived in certain circumstances, such as if you’re having a record check done for a volunteer position.

Contact your local police agency or an accredited fingerprinting agency for information.

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Limit and Protect Your Conviction History with Jaswal & Krueger

Jaswal & Krueger criminal lawyers are here to help you with all of your legal concerns regarding criminal charges, the record suspension process, and criminal record checks. Our team has assisted individuals with various charges, gaining less severe consequences for them. We want to help you avoid the stigma of a criminal record or be able to move on in your life with some level of normalcy.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

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