Criminal Record Check BC
What is the CRRA and CRRP?
The Criminal Records Review Act (CRRA) ensures that people who work with or potentially have unsupervised access to children or vulnerable adults undergo criminal record checks by the Criminal Records Review Program (CRRP). The CRRP is for provincially funded, licensed, or contracted organizations. The program accesses the Criminal Records Review Unit (CRRU) for searches of law enforcement databases to contribute to CRRA checks and the decisions made by the CRRP.
Upon adjudication by the Deputy Registrar, a person who is found to present a risk of physical or sexual abuse to children or a risk of physical, sexual or financial abuse to vulnerable adults will not generally have access to these groups.
To support British Columbia’s non-profit sector, volunteer organizations that have volunteers working with children or vulnerable adults, can have criminal record checks done by the CRRP for free.
To help police provide a common approach to record checks, the Police Information Check Guidelines were developed. The guidelines detail the type of information police should or should not release about the findings of a police information check. The BC Association of Chiefs of Police has endorsed the guidelines.
Role and Mandate of the CRRU
The CRRU is a policing unit within the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of BC (CFSEU-BC). Given that CRRA checks involve a search of law enforcement databases, and as access to these databases is restricted to law enforcement agencies, the agreement between the Province and the RCMP enables the CRRP to collect necessary information from the CRRU to inform the risk and clearance decisions made within the CRRP.
Implementation of the PIC Guidelines
Implementation of the British Columbia Police Information Check Guideline (PIC Guidelines) as CRRU’s framework, as identified in the May 27, 2021 letter sent to organizations accessing the CRRP, aligns the CRRU’s practices with the practices generally employed by police agencies Province-wide. The PIC Guidelines are available here. Due to an RCMP requirement, the search of law enforcement databases conducted by the CRRU contributing to CRRA checks is now in-line with the Police Information Check for Vulnerable Sector (PIC-VS) as described in the PIC Guidelines.
The May 27, 2021 letter identified that CRRA checks may, in some circumstances, be discontinued by the CRRU resulting in the CRRP’s inability to complete the CRRA check. The letter described that, in those instances, though no identified occurrence(s) resulted in a charge or conviction, the CRRU may have assessed that an applicant poses a public safety risk and advised Security Programs Division (SPD) that it would discontinue its check of law enforcement systems. In those instances, the result was that the CRRA check could not be completed.
Effective December 1, 2021, the CRRP has decided that CRRA checks that reveal instances of non-conviction information absent a charge or conviction will proceed despite the CRRU discontinuation and will be completed through the issuance of a CRRA clearance. As such, and consistent with CRRA and the process that existed prior to April 1, 2021, organizations will continue to receive either a notice of clearance when there is no outstanding charge or conviction or, in instances where an outstanding charge or conviction is identified, notice that an adjudication process is initiated. Once the adjudication is completed, the Deputy Registrar’s determination regarding risk will be provided. This approach is consistent with the CRRA and its current treatment of non-conviction information, ensures that applicants are not hindered by the challenges posed by a CRRU discontinuation in the processing of their CRRA check, and assists in addressing some of the significant delays that organizations and applicants experienced with CRRA checks in late 2021.
Amendment to the Criminal Record Review Program (CRRP) Consent Forms
In order to reflect the CRRU’s implementation of the PIC Guidelines, the Consent to Criminal Record Check Form is being amended. Updated CRRP Consent Forms are in progress and will be provided to organizations as soon as possible.
What does non-conviction information include?
The CRRA defines the terms ‘conviction’ and ‘outstanding charge’ in relation to a relevant or specified offence under the Act; the term ‘conviction’ includes conditional discharges, alternative measures, and recognizances in accordance with section 810 of the Criminal Code. An ‘outstanding charge’ means a charge or an application that has not yet resulted in a conviction, acquittal or order by the court. By contrast, non-conviction information includes circumstances where there was adverse contact with police and the applicant was a suspect in an offence but charges did not proceed and / or were not approved. Non-conviction information may also include instances where charges were approved, where a stay of proceedings was entered, and the period to re-initiate the proceedings has passed.
Impact of these changes to the electronic Criminal Record Check (eCRC) process?
The consent language in the eCRC is being updated; however, the experience for users of the eCRC will remain the same.