News & Events
A Criminal Mind: Vulnerable-sector checks a growing challenge for defence lawyers
Organizations are requiring police checks more often for employment, even for volunteer work, and it's becoming an issue for lawyers' clients.
We're all familiar with the garden-variety criminal record check, but there's a more elusive one: the vulnerable-sector safety check. Clients who want to work or volunteer with children, the elderly or people with disabilities often have to get these checks done.
If you haven't had a call from a client who was denied a clear vulnerable-sector safety check, you probably will soon.
It's not enough for clients to have a charge withdrawn as they may still be refused a clear vulnerable-sector safety check.
Even arranging for the destruction of your clients' fingerprints and photographs from their arrest won't expunge the offending information because the police keep and disclose their own internal records.
How common are these vulnerable-sector checks? They're exceedingly common. In 2008, the Ottawa Police Service alone processed 40,885 requests for vulnerable-sector safety checks. There were 36,453 requests the previous year.