Vulnerable Sector Checks
Introduction / Background
In 2006, the TMM Trustees were advised by TMM’s insurance company that guidelines and procedures, including police 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 police checks, and detailing the process of police 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 described in the Policy Statement (link) of
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 (pg. 40).
The application procedure described below, and some of the details covered in the Frequently Asked Questions, are also summarized in the Application Package Cover Letter (LINK).
All those whose paid or volunteer activities put them in contact with children or vulnerable adults must apply for a “Vulnerable Sector Screening Program – Police Reference Check”. 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 Police Check will be the last step of the screen process
2. A designated “Contact Person” (of which there are two?) prepare the application forms by checking off that a search under the Mental Health Act is not needed (clarification on what MHA is?)
3. Contact Person provides applicants with Police Check package, which consists of:
- TMM Protocol
- document from Toronto Police Service providing information about Vulnerable Sector Screening
- cover letter describing the steps of the application process
4. The contact person signs the completed applications using the name on file with the Toronto Police Service, give signed copies to the applicants, and arrange for the applications to be sent in.
5. The Toronto Police Service sends the resulting report directly to the applicant.
6. Applicant brings the original report to the Contact Person within a reasonable amount of time.
7. 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 disqualify an individual from working with children or vulnerable adults?
A. A conviction for any of the following would permanently disqualify an individual from working with children:
• child pornography;
• a sexual offence, physical abuse or assault involving a minor;
• other violent criminal acts such as rape, incest, murder, kidnapping;
• abandonment or endangerment of a child
Q. What if an offence is found for which a pardon has been granted?
A. If an offence is found for which a pardon has been granted, the Toronto Police Service requires that the applicant must provide fingerprints and consent to the dissemination of any pardon information before they will complete the check. Note also that should any criminal history be on file, the applicant must provide confirmation of identity by fingerprinting from an RCMP-accredited fingerprinting agency before the TPS will complete the check.
Q. What about other convictions?
A. Decisions about other convictions will be at the discretion of the Trustees, and will be recorded and stored in the locked files. In the case of staff, Personnel Committee may be consulted.
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 Police Check?
Cases of non-compliance with the police check procedure will be passed by the Contact People to the Trustees for a final decision.
Q. Who has access to the information about the results of Police Checks?
A. The individuals who may have access to information about Police Checks are:
- the applicant
- the Contact Person
- the Trustees
- in the case of staff, the members of Personnel Committee
Q. Are there legal limits on when a Police 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
Q. Is TMM legally obligated to require Police Checks from staff or volunteers?
A. Technically, no. For a detailed discussion of this, see the CCLA’s guide for business and NPO’s: https://ccla.org/recordchecks/doc/Police%20Record%20Checks%20and%20Rights-Respecting%20Hiring.pdf page 4.
(is this question helpful/ necessary? note that this CCLA document is from 2014)