Vulnerable Sector Check
Eligibility for Vulnerable Sector Checks
The Criminal Records Act requires that a Vulnerable Sector check be performed for "a paid or volunteer position" only when that "position is one of authority or trust relative to those children or vulnerable persons." A child means a person under the age of 18.
Vulnerable persons are defined as:
- "a person who, because of his or her age, a disability, or other circumstances, whether temporary or permanent:
- ois in a position of dependency on others; or
- ois otherwise at a greater risk than the general population of being harmed by a person of trust or authority towards them."
Because of the requirement that a person be in a position of "authority or trust", positions with casual or occasional contact with children or other vulnerable persons would not normally require Vulnerable Sector checks unless the position could lead the organization's clients to have trust in the individual.
Position of Trust (Authority)
A position of trust or authority is created when an individual's relationship with someone else has any of the following characteristics:
- Decision-making power
- Unsupervised access
- Closeness inherent in the relationship
- Personal nature of the activity itself
The Duty of Care
The duty of care is the fundamental principle and premise underlying the question of screening. Duty of care is a legal principle which identifies the obligations of individuals and organizations to take reasonable measure to care for and to protect their clients to an appropriate level or standard. If the clients are vulnerable, if they cannot protect, defend, or assert themselves, permanently or temporarily, because of age, disability, or circumstances, then that duty becomes more intense and the standard higher.
Duty of care captures equally well the ethical and moral obligations of organizations. One way the organization can fulfill its legal, ethical, and moral duty of care towards clients is through careful screening of the people who provide services.
- The Screening Handbook: Protecting Clients, Staff, and the Community, Lorraine Street, 1996 (This document does not offer legal advice. Readers should consult with a lawyer regarding their specific legal questions or concerns.)
Which Type of Police Check is Required and What is the Process?
It is the responsibility of the organization to assess what level of police check is required for the position. If the screening protocol for a position requires a Criminal Record Check, an individual may obtain this by applying to any police service. All other police checks must be completed by the police service in the area where the applicant resides. In most police jurisdictions, the applicant will go directly to the local police service to complete the request forms. They must clearly indicate if the check is for a position working with vulnerable clients, and provide the following information:
- A description of the paid or volunteer position;
- The name of the organization that requires the VS check;
- The details regarding the children or vulnerable persons with whom the individual will be working;
- If the person will not be compensated for her/his expenses, a letter stating this; and
- Two pieces of personal identification.
Information from Public Safety Canada.
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