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Criminal Records Check

Information for Prospective Students

The following was prepared as a source of information for persons interested in Holland College programs requiring Criminal Records Checks. Although care has been taken in preparing the information contained on this webpage, and the information provided was accurate at the time it was prepared, Holland College does not and cannot guarantee the accuracy thereof. Anyone using the information does so at their own risk and shall be deemed to indemnify Holland College from any and all injury or damage arising from such use. In the event of a conflict between this webpage and any of the sources noted, the source document shall prevail. The sources used to prepare the webpage are noted at various places within the webpage and at the end.

Criminal Records

Criminal Record Information means criminal records, fingerprints, photographs, and related information maintained in the RCMP National Repository of Criminal Records. Information for vulnerable sector purposes also means pardoned sexual offence convictions maintained in the RCMP National Repository of Criminal Records.

The Canadian Police Information Centre or CPIC is a service operated by the RCMP. The fact sheet found at this website provides a full description and explanation of criminal records checks:


Criminal Records Check and Vulnerable Sector Verification

A number of Holland College programs require applicants to provide or submit to a Criminal Records Check (CRC) and/or a Vulnerable Sector Verification (VSV). To determine if this applies to your program of interest, please refer to the college website for the program and check under the “Admissions Requirements” and “Program Participation Requirements” sections.

What is Screening?

Volunteer Canada defines screening as an ongoing 10-step process designed to identify any person (volunteer or staff) who may harm children or vulnerable adults. Screening involves more than a Police Records Check. For more information see http://volunteer.ca/topics-and-resources/screening .

What is a Certified Criminal Record Check?

There are two main types of certified RCMP Criminal Record Checks:

  • Criminal Record Verification: This process verifies whether an individual has a criminal record and provides any relevant details contained within the National Criminal Records Repository.
    • A certified Criminal Record Verification requires fingerprints.
    • Should a certified Criminal Record Verification not be required, a name-based verification may be conducted. Individuals with a criminal record must declare their criminal record information, which a police service will confirm if the information matches a criminal record contained within the National Repository (if a match is confirmed, a police service also has the option of providing individuals with a copy of their criminal convictions record in accordance with this policy). If a police service cannot match an individual’s declaration to a criminal record contained within the National Repository, fingerprints are required.
  • Vulnerable Sector Verification: This process verifies whether an individual has a criminal record, including the existence of any pardoned sex offences, and provides any relevant details contained within the National Criminal Records Repository. Individuals applying to work in paid or volunteer positions where they will be in contact with children or other vulnerable persons may be required to undergo a Vulnerable Sector Verification.
    • A certified Vulnerable Sector Verification requires fingerprints.
    • Should a certified Vulnerable Sector Verification not be required, a name-based verification may be conducted. If the verification is inconclusive as to the existence of a pardoned sex offence, or an individual’s declared criminal record does not match a criminal record contained within the National Repository, fingerprints are required.
    • A Vulnerable Sector Verification also includes a query of CPIC investigative and intelligence records, and of local police records.

Source: http://www.cpic-cipc.ca/English/crimrec.cfm

What is a pardon?

A pardon allows people who were convicted of a criminal offence, but have completed their sentence and demonstrated they are law-abiding citizens, to have their criminal record kept separate and apart from other criminal records. Under the Criminal Records Act (CRA), the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) may issue, grant, deny, or revoke pardons for convictions under federal acts or regulations of Canada. Note: The Parole Board of Canada was previously known as the National Parole Board and the change has not been updated on all sites.

Applicants who may have a criminal record in their past and who are applying to college programs that have requirements for a Criminal Records Check or for travel outside of Canada, should consider obtaining a pardon prior to applying. Be advised that processing a pardon may take from 12 to 18 months. If you have already started the pardon process, you may wish to consult with the contact person for the program noted on the website to determine how this will affect the processing of your application.

For more information visit the Parole Board of Canada website at: http://pbc-clcc.gc.ca/index-eng.shtml


Fact Sheet – Pardons http://pbc-clcc.gc.ca/infocntr/factsh/pardon-eng.shtml

Visit the RCMP website page — “Pardon And Purge Services” at:


Pardons may be requested from:

Pardon Section
Clemency and Investigations Division
National Parole Board
410 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, ON K1A 0R1

Telephone: 1-800-874-2652
`Fax. (613) 941-4981

Does a pardon erase a criminal record?

No, a pardon does not erase a criminal record. Under the Criminal Records Act, all records of cases in which a pardon has been granted must be stored separately from other records. As a result, the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) and the RCMP have developed procedures to deal with both hard copy criminal record files and criminal record information on the CPIC system.

The RCMP website also provides the following information regarding pardons and international travel:

  • Through international agreements, the RCMP shares criminal records information with foreign authorities who may register this information in their databank.
  • If you have been convicted of an offence, you may subsequently be refused entry into another country, even if you have since been granted a pardon in Canada.
  • Many foreign countries, including the U.S., do not recognize a Canadian pardon unless you produce a copy for their evaluation.

For more information, and for information on how to obtain a copy of your pardoned criminal record go to: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cr-cj/pp-er-eng.htm

Will a criminal record check reveal that a pardon has been given?

Once a pardon has been granted, with the exception of a Vulnerable Sector Verification, police officers will be provided with no evidence that a criminal record existed. A Vulnerable Sector Verification is used to determine the possible existence of a criminal record and/or a sexual offence conviction for which an individual has received a pardon. Pardoned records are purged from the part of CPIC that is accessible by police and moved to a part that is accessible by certain people only. See note above regarding foreign countries.

Discharge, Conditional or Absolute Discharge, Withdrawn Charge or a Stay In Proceedings

While a discharge is not considered a conviction, a record of an absolute or conditional discharge is kept by CPIC and by the charging police agency. Absolute or conditional discharges handed down by the court on or after July 24, 1992 will automatically be removed from the CPIC computer system one year (absolute discharge) or three years (conditional discharge) after the court decision. For discharges given before July 24, 1992, to be removed from the record, a person must contact the RCMP. For more details refer to the booklet “Understanding Criminal Records” by the John Howard Society of Alberta 2000 (http://www.johnhoward.ab.ca/pub/A5.htm )

Why do some Holland College programs require a Criminal Records Check?

Due to the nature of the occupational field that students are being prepared for, some programs at Holland College will require students to provide a report confirming whether or not they have a criminal record.

Society today demands that individuals who volunteer or work with vulnerable members of society, such as children, youth and the elderly, are screened. A Vulnerable Sector Verification is used to determine the possible existence of a criminal record and/or sexual offence conviction for which an individual has received a pardon. The college’s Child & Youth Care Worker, Human Services, Early Childhood Care and Education, Practical Nursing, Resident Care Worker and Paramedicine programs all involve students working with clients that are considered to be vulnerable. Instructors in these programs will examine the Police Records Check submitted by the student prior to any student participating in a placement at the privately owned and operated Child Development Centre located at Holland College Charlottetown Centre and prior to any involvement with children, youth or the elderly in the community.

Some employers may require a police/criminal records check, security clearance and/or personal interview before students are placed in a practicum, co-operative placement or work experience. Programs requiring Criminal Records Checks will clearly identify the requirement on the program’s official web page under Admission Requirements, in official publications and promotional materials, and during the admissions process.

While the college will provide (after the student signs a consent form authorizing the release) the results of a Criminal Records Check submitted by a student to an individual, company or organization that the student is seeking clinical or practicum placement with, the college does not provide any guarantee, or accept any liability, as to the currency, accuracy, relevance or acceptability of the information. The determination of the relevance of a student’s criminal record to the occupation will be left to the individual, company, or organization that the student is seeking clinical or practicum placement with.

Vulnerable Person

This term is used to denote individuals who have difficulty protecting themselves and are therefore at greater risk of harm. People may be vulnerable because of age, disability or handicap, or circumstances. Vulnerability may be a temporary or a permanent condition.

This is purposely a broad definition, one that can include children, youth, senior citizens, people with physical, developmental, social, emotional, or other disabilities, as well as people who are victims of crime or harm. Vulnerable person will also include people who have been victims of a crime or accident, or are otherwise left with little defense against those who would harm them.

The Criminal Records Act (CRA) lists certain sexual offences. If a person was pardoned for such offences, his/her record will be kept separate and apart, but his/her name will be flagged in the CPIC computer system. The RCMP recently made changes to enhance the rigor of Vulnerable Sector Verifications (VSV) and fingerprints are now required to complete this verification. This verification could take up to 120 days to complete. For more information, visit the RCMP website; copies of both consent forms are also available at the site: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cr-cj/vulner/index-eng.htm. There is also a VSV FAQ provided on the RCMP website: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cr-cj/vulner/faq-eng.htm.

A Vulnerable Sector Verification may only be conducted for a paid or volunteer position of authority or trust relative to children or other vulnerable persons. Prior to conducting a Vulnerable Sector Verification, a police service or authorized body must verify that the position is relative to the vulnerable sector. In accordance with the Criminal Records Act , applicants for paid or volunteer work with “vulnerable persons ” must commence the process for obtaining a criminal records verification at a local police service and not at a privately operating fingerprinting firm.

The National Sex Offender Registry

The National Sex Offender Registry, a national sex offender database maintained by the RCMP, was proclaimed as law and came into force on December 15, 2004. While the public does not have access to the National Sex Offender Registry, it is a database that provides Canadian police services with important information that will improve their ability to investigate crimes of a sexual nature. It is however a separate database from CPIC and other police databases. For more information visit the National Sex Offender Registry website http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/prg/cor/tls/soir-eng.aspx

or http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/tops-opst/bs-sc/nsor-rnds/prog-eng.htm.

How will a criminal record affect my application?

This depends on the program you are applying to and several factors.

The Prince Edward Island Human Rights Act states that an individual, company, or organization cannot dismiss or refuse to employ an individual because he or she has been convicted of a criminal or summary conviction offence that is unrelated to the position the individual is employed in or is seeking.

While the act is very specific in that it only applies to employment, it would be irresponsible of Holland College to accept you into a program where the occupational field would not permit you to work or where there were limitations as to where you could work, without first ensuring you have been adequately informed.

Another factor that the college has to consider is the on the job training, clinical, practicum, and community volunteering requirements of some programs. The college’s health and community service programs include clinical and/or practicum placements and community volunteer work with children and youth with private and public institutions, organizations and agencies. Many public and privately operated agencies and institutions require that employees and students submit to a criminal record check. Depending on the nature of the criminal record, and its relationship to the program, a student may find it difficult or even impossible to be accepted in a clinical, practicum, or OJT placement, which will result in a failure to complete a required component of the program and a non-graduating status. Criminal Records Checks and Vulnerable Sector Verifications are one way the health and community service sector can protect clients, especially those who may be vulnerable. Students may not refuse a clinical, practicum or OJT placement on the grounds that a criminal record check is required.

How does a criminal record affect an application to programs at the Atlantic Police Academy?

The programs offered by the Atlantic Police Academy require the applicant to have no criminal record for which a pardon has not been granted. Applicants to the Correctional Officer, Sheriff and Public Safety Officer and Conservation Enforcement programs are required to submit, prior to acceptance, a Police Records Check with no findings of guilt (CPIC). The Atlantic Police Academy also conducts a background check, which includes a thorough Police Records Check on each applicant during the selection process. Students at the academy will also be subjected to several Police Records Checks during the program.

Depending on the program and the nature of the record, applicants who do not meet the requirements of a Police Records Check may have their application rejected or they may be asked to contact a program instructor or program manager.

I don’t have a criminal record, yet the form completed by the police indicates that I may or may not have a criminal record. What should I do?

You will only receive a standard response identifying that a possible match to an RCMP criminal record exists when, based on the query, the RCMP identified a possible match to a registered RCMP criminal record that matches the name(s), date of birth, and criminal record information you provided. When this happens you need to submit your fingerprints so they can verify your identity. This will result in a Certified Criminal Record Check or Vulnerable Sector Verification Product.

Refer to the Criminal Records fact sheet on the Canadian Police Information Centre website for more information: (http://www.cpic-cipc.ca/English/crfactsheet.cfm)

What does Holland College do with the information I submit?

Only original documents will be accepted.

The contents of criminal record checks are confidential. The documentation will be kept with the application and reviewed by college staff involved in the application review process. If the student is admitted to the program, a copy will be retained (see Note1 below) in the official student record and the originals will be forwarded to the program instructor(s). All college staff are governed by policies and procedures that are in place to ensure all personal and private information gathered is controlled and protected.

Note1 Some clinical, practicum and OJT sites may require that they see original documents. When this occurs, a copy of the originals will be made for the official student file and the originals provided to the student for this purpose.

How does the college decide if a criminal record will cause my application to be rejected?

Not all college programs have the requirement for a Criminal Records Check or Vulnerable Sector Verification prior to acceptance. For those program that do, in the event that an applicant has a criminal record, the program instructor, program manager, senior admissions officer, and/or registrar shall determine if the Record Verification Report provided is acceptable. A record that indicates who made the decision to accept or not accept the applicant with respect to the CRC or VSV will be added to each student file. The record will be signed and dated by the individual(s) who made the decision. When the CRC or VSV is deemed unacceptable, the reasons for the decision will also be recorded on the record and provided to the applicant. When possible, recommendations for changing the non-acceptance status, such as obtaining a pardon, will also be provided to the applicant. Potential applicants who have a criminal record are encouraged to contact the program instructor to discuss their status prior to submitting their application.

Applicants and students are required to report changes and offences that occur after submission of a CRC or VSV. Students will be required to sign a form at the start of their program agreeing to this requirement. Failure to do so is grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.

What if I am convicted of a criminal offence after I have been accepted in the program?

After the CRC or VSV has been completed, applicants and students are required to report any changes to their police records and any offences for which no conviction has yet occurred to the registrar or the program staff. Failure to do so is grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.

The action taken upon receiving new information regarding your CRC or VSV will depend on the program and the nature of the offence. A criminal conviction of any kind would mean immediate dismissal from any of the programs offered at the Atlantic Police Academy. A criminal conviction in one of the health and community service programs would have to be assessed by the program staff to determine what if any effect it might have on your ability to successfully complete the program.

Will the CRC or VSV that I submit with my application be sufficient for the duration of the program?

As noted above, you are required to inform the college of any changes that may affect the status of your current submission. Generally, this will be sufficient for the duration of your program. However, the college cannot guarantee that a clinical, practicum or OJT site will not require a more current check. Should this occur, it is the student’s responsibility to obtain a new check as specified by the site.

Do I have to submit my fingerprints in order to obtain a Criminal Records Check or Vulnerable Sector Verification?

As noted in a previous section, finger prints are required to confirm your identity should a Records Check produce a name and date of birth similar to yours. To obtain a Certified Criminal Record Check or a Certified Vulnerable Sector Verification, fingerprints are required.

How does a criminal record impact my ability to travel?

A criminal record generally does not impact the ability to travel within Canada (the courts may impose specific travel conditions on a case by case basis); however, if a person wishes to travel outside of Canada, there are a number of considerations.

Every country has its own rules and practice about visitors with criminal records. It is recommended that people with criminal records who want to visit a foreign country contact that country’s consulate or embassy to obtain information on each country’s practice.

Some countries, like the United States, may require a person to get a travel waiver. Travel waivers are documents that allow persons with criminal records to travel to the United States. Waivers can be obtained at the Department of U.S. Immigration located in some international airports or at any border crossing. The waiver is good for five years. If there are questions about travel waivers, contact the U.S. Immigration Department. It takes six to nine months to process a waiver. Further information and assistance may be accessed by contacting Pardons Canada: http://www.pardons.org/index.html

Since the United States and some other foreign countries have access to the CPIC system, customs officials use the CPIC system to determine whether individuals have criminal records. If a person has a criminal record or travel waiver, U.S. Customs will enter the person’s criminal record information into their own system, where it will stay indefinitely. If a person tries to enter the U.S. in the future, regardless of whether he or she has received a pardon, Customs officials will have the criminal record documented in their system.

Canadian pardons do not have legal force outside of Canada. The United States is not compelled to destroy their copy of the record when a Canadian pardons is granted. This means that if U.S. customs have previously entered a person’s name into their own system, they would have that person’s criminal record even though the record would no longer appear on CPIC. In such cases, individuals with a pardon may also wish to consider applying for a travel waiver.

Note: Information from CPIC is retained indefinitely in the U.S. computer system if Customs is alerted to the existence of a record for any person attempting to cross the border. If a person has a record and has entered the U.S. in the past without their record being checked, a pardon will be helpful because it will remove the record from CPIC. Since that person’s name no longer appears on CPIC, that individual no longer has a criminal record. If Customs asks whether the individual has a criminal record, the individual can say “no.” This also applies if a person has received a pardon and has never entered the U.S. The best advice in any situation is to be as honest as possible and remember that U.S. Customs can deny or allow a person to enter the U.S. at their discretion. Travelers should also assume that any criminal record information provided to Customs officials will be entered on their police information system for future reference.

Source: Understanding Criminal Records, John Howard Society of Alberta, 2000.

Information Resources



140 Weymouth Street  •  Charlottetown, PE  •  Canada  •  C1A 4Z1  •  info@hollandcollege.com  •  1-800-446-5265