Consent Form Amendment
The Criminal Records Review Unit (CRRU) of the RCMP has required that the Consent to Criminal Record Check Form of the Criminal Records Review Program (CRRP) be amended to reflect the CRRU’s check procedures. Effective April 1, 2021, and as a result of an RCMP requirement, Criminal Records Review Act (CRRA) checks may in certain instances be discontinued. In these instances, though no identified occurrence(s) resulted in a charge or conviction, the CRRU may assess that an applicant poses a public safety risk and advise Security Programs Division that it will terminate its check of law enforcement systems accordingly, with the result that the CRRA check may not be concluded. Applicants who choose to undergo a CRRA check after April 1, 2021 before the revised Consent to a Criminal Record Check form is rolled out and available for signature agree to this updated scope of disclosure.
The letter from Security Programs Division dated May 27, 2021 indicates that Criminal Records Review Act (CRRA) checks may not be concluded in some instances. What does this mean?
The Province has an agreement with the RCMP’s Criminal Records Review Unit (CRRU) which conduct checks of law enforcement databases to inform the decisions made within the Criminal Records Review Program (CRRP) with respect to clearances issued under the CRRA. The change identified in the May 27, 2021 letter aligns the CRRU’s practices with the practices generally employed by police agencies province-wide as the CRRU have adopted the British Columbia Guideline for Police Information Checks (PIC Guidelines) as their framework. The PIC Guidelines are available here. Due to an RCMP requirement, the search of law enforcement databases conducted by the CRRU contributing to Criminal Records Review Act (CRRA) checks is now in-line with the Police Information Check for Vulnerable Sector (PIC-VS) as described in the PIC Guidelines.
In instances where an outstanding charge or conviction is identified for a CRRA Schedule 1 or 3 offence, the CRRU will return all relevant information, including non-conviction information, to the CRRP for consideration by the Deputy Registrar in making a risk or no risk determination. Where, in respect of an applicant, the CRRU find no outstanding charge or conviction, but non-conviction information is identified that the CRRU assess as reflective of a likely public safety risk in the context of work with the vulnerable sector, the CRRU may decide to discontinue their check of law enforcement databases for that applicant. When this occurs, without information to inform a clearance decision, the CRRP will be unable to complete the CRRA check and the applicant and organization will be advised.
What is the Criminal Records Review Unit (CRRU)?
The CRRU is a unit of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) 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 clearance decisions made within the CRRP.
What does non-conviction information include?
The Criminal Records Review Act 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 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.
Please provide an example of when the CRRU may discontinue a check following identification of a non-conviction information?
In instances where no outstanding charge or conviction is identified, but where the CRRU identify non-conviction information which they assess as posing a likely public safety risk in the context of work with the vulnerable sector, the CRRU may decide to discontinue their checks of law enforcement databases. The discontinuation will be based on the unique fact pattern and circumstances identified in the non-conviction information involving the applicant. The CRRU have created a framework and oversight for their process to discontinue checks. The responsibility for the assessment of, and considerations related to public safety risk and ultimately the decision to discontinue, are at the sole discretion of the CRRU.
Will the applicant and organization be made aware of the CRRU’s discontinuation of the check?
Yes, in the limited circumstances when the CRRU discontinue their check of law enforcement databases, Security Programs Division will notify the applicant and organization in writing that the CRRA check cannot be concluded.
What steps can the applicant and organization take when a CRRA check cannot be concluded?
The letter sent to the applicant upon discontinuation of a check by the CRRU will provide next steps for the applicant to consider if they wish to pursue a CRRA check. This may include the applicant requesting the police records that formed the basis of the CRRU’s decision to discontinue. The applicant will have the opportunity to request, by way of the CRRP, that the CRRU review their decision on the basis of the applicant’s further submission. If, at the conclusion of the review, the CRRU decide to resume their checks of law enforcement databases, the CRRU will produce the check results to the CRRP and a clearance decision will be made by the CRRP. If the CRRU confirm their discontinuation decision, the CRRP will be unable to complete the CRRA check and the applicant and organization will be informed.
Will the applicant and organization be advised of the reasons for the discontinuation of the check by the CRRU?
Security Programs Division will not collect the personal information of the applicant that led the CRRU to discontinue their check. As a result, and for privacy reasons, the letter to the organization and applicant will not provide the information identified by the CRRU which led to the discontinuation of the check.
My organization has received clearances since April 1, 2021. Are those clearances still valid?
Yes, the clearances issued to organizations since April 1, 2021 remain valid.
How do these changes impact the electronic Criminal Record Check (eCRC) process?
The consent language in the eCRC is being updated to reflect the change and to reflect the possible discontinuation of a check by the CRRU; however, other than this change, the experience for users of the eCRC will remain the same.