For RCMP information specific to Criminal Record and Vulnerable Sector checks, please visit
- What is a police record check?
- Do I need a police check to get a job?
- I am under 18 years of age. Can I get a police check?
- I am attending post-secondary school and living in Sarnia as a student. Can I get a police check done here?
- I'm beginning my job search. Should I obtain a police check in advance?
- How long is a police check valid? Is there an expiry date?
- What if I choose the wrong type of police check?
- What if I have a criminal record? Will this automatically bar me from getting a job?
- What are 'police contacts' on a Vulnerable Sector Check?
- What is the Exceptional Disclosure Assessment?
- I have police contact information that I feel might hinder my chances of getting a job. Is there a process I can use to get things removed from my police check?
- What if I have had past contacts with the police involving mental health incidents?
- Is there a difference between a screening check done by my local police service, and a check offered by a third-party company?
- Do you release information on my driving history including speeding tickets and other infractions?
- Why does it take so long to get my police check done?
- Can I get my police check done any faster?
- What if I don't disclose all the pages of my police check, or alter the information prior to showing it to an employer?
- I don't live in Sarnia, or I reside outside of Canada. How can I get a police check?
- How will I receive my police record check results?
- What if the requesting agency requires an embossed paper copy of the results?
What is a police record check?
A police record check contains information the police have on file pertaining to an individual. This includes, but is not limited to, a record of convictions for criminal offences across Canada, outstanding charges before the courts, current judicial orders that are in effect (such as peace bonds, prohibitions or probation orders). Some people have absolutely no such information, while others may have some or all of these categories.
In releasing information, the police take no position on the suitability of the applicant, and will not offer any comment or opinion. It is entirely at the discretion of the employer as to whether or not the applicant may be considered for the position.
Do I need a police check to get a job?
Not necessarily. Although some employers do not require one, more and more are asking for police checks as part of the application process. We advise employers to use the police check as one of the last steps in the process, after they've reviewed your application, conducted interviews and checked references.
You are being asked to provide one by the agency/employer to which you are applying. Our role is limited to providing a report with any potentially relevant information held in police databanks.
I am under 18 years of age. Can I get a police check?
Persons under 18 years must attend the Records Branch of the Police Service in person.
Be advised that due to the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, an individual sentenced for an offence as a Young Person does not have to apply for a record suspension (Pardon), since all records are destroyed or archived once all applicable time periods have elapsed. Therefore, for persons under 18 years of age, the Police Vulnerable Sector Check (PVSC) search of the pardoned (record suspension) database is not conducted.
I am attending post-secondary school and living in Sarnia as a student. Can I get a police check done here?
We will accept your record check application if you are able to provide a document showing your Sarnia address (rental/lease agreement, current utility bill, student card, etc.).
I'm beginning my job search. Should I obtain a police check in advance?
We do not recommend it. First, you might obtain the wrong type of check and then have to apply for a new one at additional cost. As well, most employers will want a recent police check; if you do one in advance, it might not be accepted depending on when it was originally completed.
How long is a police check valid? Is there an expiry date?
Police records checks are only valid on the day they are issued, since information can change from day to day. They are a 'snapshot in time' only. The police do not determine an expiry date; this is up to the agency/employer. Some might accept a police check that is 3-6 months old, while others may want a new one.
Since a person can be clear of charges or criminal activity today but could be arrested and charged tomorrow, we offer no guarantees on the validity of a police check beyond the actual date on which the search was conducted. As well, not all criminal convictions are reported to the RCMP, and more recent dispositions may not be updated on their system at the time a check is conducted.
In our experience, most employers will ask for a new screening check if the current one is beyond 6 months, and almost certainly if it's older than one year. However, this is entirely at the discretion of the agency/employer.
Note that Vulnerable Sector screening checks are only valid for the specific employer/position for which it was conducted.
What if I choose the wrong type of police check?
We stress that you make your choice carefully as we do not provide refunds or exchanges. If you are in doubt, the agency/employer should be able to tell you which one they require for the position.
What if I have a criminal record? Will this automatically bar me from getting a job?
The employer must find information from a police check relevant to the job they are offering. The Ontario Human Rights Code states that a person cannot be discriminated against based on, among other things, a 'record of offences'. Obviously some jobs - such as Police or Corrections Officer - will require the person to be free of convictions and have nothing in their history that might call their integrity into question. A person seeking a job at a financial institution will not likely be successful if they have convictions for theft, fraud or other crimes of dishonesty. However, a criminal record may not necessarily bar a person from obtaining employment or a volunteer position - the employer must show how that record is relevant to the position being offered - a bona fide reason for refusal.
What are 'police contacts' on a record check?
Police contacts are incidents where a person has been investigated for a crime but charges were never laid or where charges were laid but did not result in a conviction. Although not a criminal record, there can be situations where a person has had contact with the police that might cause an employer to ask additional questions or seek further references. This type of information will only be released on a Vulnerable Sector Check if it meets the Exceptional Disclosure Assessment.
The disclosure of these types of contacts does not imply the subject is guilty of any crime or even has a criminal record. This information may or may not be relevant to an employer for the position being offered. The determination on relevance is up to the employer, not the police service. Our role is limited to completing the record check request. We offer no opinion or comment on a person's suitability, and we do not undertake any discussions with an employer regarding specific individuals. All information in this process is released directly to the applicant; we do not disclose any information to employers or other persons.
The Sarnia Police Service completes record checks in accordance with the LEARN Guideline for Police Record Checks.
What is the Exceptional Disclosure Assessment?
In exceptional circumstances, police contact or non-conviction records may be considered for release on a Vulnerable Sector Check. There may be specific, exceptional cases where the existence of these types of records gives rise to a concrete and compelling concern for the safety of vulnerable persons.
The disclosure is based on the Police Services Act, Disclosure of Personal Information Regulation 265/98 rather than the applicant’s consent. All information in this process is released directly to the applicant; we do not disclose any information to employers or other persons.
I have police contact information that I feel might hinder my chances of getting a job. Is there a process I can use to get things removed from my police check?
You do have an option of appealing the release of certain information through our Reconsideration process. This relates only to non-conviction police contact information released under the Exceptional Disclosure Assessment. Criminal convictions are always released and cannot be appealed.
You must submit your request in writing, and provide the reasons why you feel the information should not be included. Requests for reconsideration should be made within 45 days of the completion of the applicant's police record check. A reconsideration request must be made in writing (click here to download) and submitted to:
Sarnia Police Service
555 Christina Street North
Sarnia, ON N7T 7X6
What if I have had past contacts with the police involving mental health incidents?
This information is no longer authorized for release within any level of police screening check.
Is there a difference between a screening check done by my local police service, and a check offered by a third-party company?
Please view the following page:
Do you release information on my driving history including speeding tickets and other infractions?
We do not disclose any non-criminal driving offences. If the job you are applying for requires proof of a clear driving record, you can obtain your Driver's Abstract from the Ministry of Transportation. However, we will disclose any driving offences under the Criminal Code, such as Impaired Driving, Dangerous Driving, Criminal Negligence, etc., as well as the disposition.
Why does it take so long to get my police check done?
On average, we process approximately 10,000 checks a year for various employers as well as school boards and minor sporting leagues. Each one must be queried, the results analyzed, and in the case of potential police contacts, reports must be reviewed individually. If you've resided at an address outside Sarnia in recent years, we must also contact that police service to conduct a query of their local records. All of this takes time and resources. While we can usually complete your police check well within the stated timeframes, there may be occasions where information is delayed or requires further confirmation.
Can I get my police check done any faster?
We do not have a system in place to process 'rush' requests. No one applicant is more or less important than the next person. We appreciate that everyone would like their check completed as quickly as possible, and we strive to minimize the turnaround time as best we can.
What if I don't disclose all the pages of my police check, or alter the information prior to showing it to an employer?
The Sarnia Police Service applies a security seal to certify documents as original, and include the number of pages to ensure all available information is properly released. If a person deliberately alters the results of their police check by changing the content, it is an offence under the Criminal Code. If we become aware this has occurred it will be investigated and charges could be laid.
If an agency/employer has any questions about the validity of the document, they can contact us. Although we will not discuss the content of a person's police check due to privacy reasons, we will confirm the number of pages originally released, and advise whether or not a document may have been altered.
I don't live in Sarnia, or I reside outside of Canada. How can I get a police check?
The Sarnia Police Service completes record checks only for residents of Sarnia. Note that Vulnerable Sector Checks can only be done for Canadian residents residing and employed in Canada. As per RCMP policy, police services cannot conduct Vulnerable Sector Checks for citizens living and/or working outside Canada, even if the employer is a Canadian firm.
If you reside outside Canada, you can obtain a certified criminal records check by submitting fingerprints directly to the RMCP. Note that this only contains information relevant to criminal convictions, if any. It does not include police contact information, nor a search of the pardoned database. More information is available on the RCMP website at:
How will I receive my police record check results?
Secure download instructions are emailed to the email address provided at the time of registration.
What if the requesting agency requires an embossed paper copy of the results?
An extra copy can be requested at the time of application ($5.00) resulting in an embossed paper copy of the police record check results being sent to the mailing address provided on the application.