Vulnerable Sector Checks
Introduction / Background
In 2006, the TMM Directors were advised by TMM’s insurance company that guidelines and procedures, including Police Checks ("Vulnerable Sector Checks"), were required for staff and volunteers working with children.
In the following years, The TMM Sexual Abuse and Harassment Committee developed a detailed protocol for working with children and vulnerable adults, specifying which volunteers and staff members require Vulnerable Sector Checks, and detailing the process of Vulnerable Sector Check application.
This work was done with attention to:
a) The requirements of TMM’s insurance company
b) Concern for the care of children and vulnerable adults
c) Concerns about the ethics and efficacy of the Police Check requirements, specifically, those noted by
the Canadian Civil Liberties Association:
and the John Howard Society of Ontario:
Overview of Application Procedure
For the complete application procedure details, consult the protocol, Appendix C: Police Checks.
The application procedure described below, and some of the details covered in the Frequently Asked Questions, are also summarized in the Police Check Cover Letter (see below for link).
Vulnerable sector checks and/or other police checks are necessary for individuals participating in certain Toronto Monthly Meeting (TMM) activities, for example, those who serve as volunteers working with children, youth and vulnerable adults, and/or as employees of TMM. The application process consists of the following steps:
1. Staff or Volunteers are informed during the screen process that the position is conditional on a successful check. The actual Vulnerable Sector Check will be the last step of the screen process
2. The applicant will be provided a Police Check package, which consists of:
- Toronto Police Service Consent to Disclosure of Personal Information / Waiver and Release
- document from Toronto Police Service providing information about Vulnerable Sector Screening
- Police Check Cover Letter describing the steps of the application process
- TMM Vulnerable Sector Consent Form
3. TMM's Police Check Manager signs the completed application using the name on file with the Toronto Police Service, and ensures the application is submitted (at TMM's expense).
4. The Toronto Police Service sends the resulting report directly to the applicant.
5. Applicant brings the original report to the TMM Police Check Manager or a designate within a reasonable amount of time.
6. The original report and any decision notes are stored in a locked filed, and a copy is given to the applicant.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What information is searched for with a Vulnerable Sector Check?
A. The Vulnerable Sector check searches for:
• Any convictions anywhere in Canada
• Sexual offences anywhere in Canada where there has been a charge but no
• Anything that happens with the police in Toronto (or the local jurisdiction)
Q. How long is a VS check valid for?
A. Checks are valid for three years.
Q. What results would prevent an individual from working with children or vulnerable adults?
A. If results of such a check reveal certain classes of convictions (e.g. violent or sex-related crimes, child pornography, abandonment or endangerment of a child, or fraud, where applicable) this will automatically preclude an individual from becoming an officer of the Meeting, obtaining employment in Friends House, or filling a volunteer position of trust with children or vulnerable adults.
Q. What if an offence is found for which a pardon has been granted?
A. In some cases, the existence of an official pardon will be taken into consideration by the Directors.
Q. What about other convictions?
A. An individual with a criminal history in other circumstances not including pardons may be considered eligible for a position at the discretion of the Directors if the convictions are not related to the tasks of the position. The Personnel Committee will be consulted in the case of an employee or potential employee.
Q. What if I don’t live in Toronto?
A. The Toronto Police Service can only do these checks for those who live in Toronto. For those currently or recently living in other jurisdictions, enquire at the appropriate Police Service.
Q. What happens in cases of non-compliance with requirement for a Vulnerable Sector Check?
A. Failure to have a required police records or vulnerable sector check carried out or refusal to present the results of such a check will preclude an individual from becoming an officer of the Meeting, obtaining employment in Friends House, or filling a volunteer position of trust with children or vulnerable adults.
Q. Who has access to the information about the results of Vulnerable Sector or other Police Checks?
A. The individuals who may have access to information about Police Checks are:
- the applicant
- the Directors and their designates
- in the case of staff, the members of Personnel Committee
Q. Are there legal limits on when a Vulnerable Sector Check can be asked for?
A. A Vulnerable Sector Check can be legally provided only if:
• the request is made by a person or organization responsible for the well-being of a child or
• the request is made in the context of a specific application for a paid or volunteer position;
• the position being applied for is one of trust or authority towards a child or vulnerable
• the applicant has given their consent in writing