Legal News

Criminal Records Review Act Amendments Proposed

BritishColumbia is the only province in Canada which currently has a legislativeprogram requiring people who work with children or vulnerable adults inpublicly funded or regulated sectors to undergo a criminal record check.

TheProvincial government recently introduced proposed amendments to the CriminalRecords Review Act in Bill 11 (Criminal Records Review Amendment Act, 2013). According to Minister Shirley Bond whointroduced the Bill, the amendments support volunteers and non-profitorganizations who work with children and vulnerable adults by providing themwith free criminal record checks and reducing the number of checks that may berequired.

The proposed amendments, if passed, wouldadd a “criminal record check verification” process permitting employees andvolunteers of specified organizations to register and retain a “portablecriminal record check”, resulting in a check only having to be completed onceevery 5 years. Employees would provide employerswith authorization to verify their criminal record check. To meet theirobligations under the Act, authorizedemployers need only verify that the employee has had a portable criminal recordcheck completed.

Specified organizations include governmentagencies, municipalities, school boards and non-profit organizations, amongothers. In order to use the criminalrecord check verification process, each organization must apply for andmaintain registration under the Act.

The amendments would make the use of thenew process optional, and employers could continue to use the regular recordscheck process. The amendments would alsomake the payment of fees optional.

According to Minister Bond:

…Those who opt into the government’s programwill receive free criminal record checks and risk assessments of persons whohave a relevant criminal record. Additional amendments will allow bothvolunteers and those already covered by the Act to share their criminal recordcheck results between agencies. This portability will streamline the criminalrecord check process while continuing to ensure that our vulnerable sector isprotected.

Bill 11 will undergo a second reading inthe House at the next sitting.

Questions relating to the information presented in this article should be forwarded to Frances Doyle, Partner.