ARCHIVED – Chapter 2: Security screening, Part I—Reliability status

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200. General

1. According to the Policy on Government Security, individuals who may have access to protected information or assets must have a reliability status.

When individuals may have access to classified information, assets or sites, refer to ARCHIVED - Part II—Personnel security clearances.


  1. reliability screening is the process which must be completed before the individual can be granted their reliability status. A reliability status is the result of the reliability screening process
  2. reliability screening information is collected on the Personnel security screening form. The instructions contained in this chapter supplement and take precedence over the generic instructions attached to the form
  3. mandatory electronic fingerprints are a requirement of the security screening process. For more information, please consult Mandatory electronic fingerprints

201. Reliability status

1. A reliability status is mandatory for individuals when the duties or tasks of a position or contract require access to protected information and assets, regardless of the duration of an assignment. Personnel who hold a valid personnel security clearance are not required to undergo an additional reliability screening (refer to the detailed instructions in section 203. Pre-screening requirements.

2. The reliability screening is composed of the following elements:

  1. surname (maiden name) and given name(s)
  2. verification of date of birth
  3. verification of address for the last 5 years
  4. verification of educational and professional qualifications or trade certification or accreditation
  5. verification of employment history
  6. assessment of performance reliability and personal character by checking with previous employers and identified references
  7. written declaration concerning any conviction for a criminal offence for which a pardon has not been granted
  8. law enforcement inquiry (criminal record check including mandatory electronic fingerprints)
  9. personal financial inquiry (if required)
  10. other checks, as determined by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) depending on the particular requirements specified in the contract
  11. resolution of doubt (ROD) interview (if required) for cause


The company security officer (CSO) or alternate company security officer (ACSO) is responsible for parts a. to f. (above) and must ensure that all submitted information is both accurate and complete.

3. Reliability screening documentation may only be submitted to PSPC's Contract Security Program (CSP) by the CSO or ACSO.

4. Organizations have the sole jurisdiction and responsibility for the engagement and termination of an employee. They are also responsible for determining and justifying an employee's need for access to protected information, assets or sites.

5. An organization may only submit reliability screening documentation on behalf of persons who have started employment with that organization or who are under contract to start work within 60 days.

6. A reliability status is valid for a 10 year period from the date of issue, unless rescinded for cause, or will terminate when:

  1. the employee leaves the organization on whose behalf the reliability status was granted
  2. access to protected information, assets or controlled sites is no longer required
  3. the organization's participation in the Contract Security Program lapses or is cancelled

7. The CSO or ACSO is responsible to complete the Security screening certificate and briefing form, either:

  • after briefing the applicant who has been granted a reliability status by PSPC
  • when terminating a reliability screening request or an existing reliability status on behalf of an applicant or employee

Note 2

  1. protected information can be recognized by the "PROTECTED" marking which must appear on all such documentation
  2. an individual must be the age of majority in order to be processed for a reliability status or the signature of a parent or guardian must be provided (some provinces have different age of majority requirements. Refer to "Instructions" attached to the Personnel security screening form, for the correct requirement)
  3. the criminal code, section 748 (3) states that no person convicted of an offence under section 121 (frauds on the government), section 124 (selling or purchasing office), or section 418 (selling defective stores to Her Majesty), has, after that conviction, the capacity to contract with Her Majesty or to receive any benefits under a contract between Her Majesty and any other person or to hold office under Her Majesty unless a pardon has been granted (this effectively prohibits granting of a reliability status to any such individual)

202. Access to protected information, assets or sites

A reliability status does not in itself give a right of access to protected information assets or sites. It gives organizations the authority to allow access to protected information, assets or sites to persons holding a reliability status, on a need-to-know basis, and subject to any restrictions that may be imposed in the contractual or pre-contractual documentation. Access to protected information, assets or sites is not permitted before granting the necessary reliability status. Persons with a personnel security clearance may only have access to protected information, assets or sites on a need-to-know basis.

203. Pre-screening requirements

Background verifications

  1. The CSO or ACSO must ensure that the applicant can provide sufficient information to permit government authorities to conduct a background inquiry covering the last 5 years. In cases where this requirement cannot be met or the applicant has resided outside Canada during the past 5 years, PSPC's CSP must be consulted for further instructions prior to the submission of the forms
  2. The CSO or ACSO is directly responsible to verify the identity of an applicant using 2 or more of the official documentation listed below. The CSO or ACSO must undertake the verification either themselves or they must be responsible to ensure that an approved employee of the organization has conducted such verification and has obtained copies of the documentation to confirm the background or identity of the applicant


    Please note that the implementation of the new identity verification requirement has been postponed to a later date. In the meantime, we will provide additional guidance to company security officers to assist them with this new requirement.

    Official documentation includes an employee's:

    1. current passport
    2. birth certificate
    3. baptismal certificate
    4. citizenship certificate or immigrant visa and record of landing document
    5. Canadian work permit or visa
    6. valid driver's license that has been issued in Canada which includes a laminated photograph
  3. The CSO or ACSO must be satisfied that the identity documents are physically verified, and that they match the individual, originate from an appropriate authority such as a vital statistics agency, immigration authority or jurisdictional authority in Canada and are the most current records available. The CSO or ACSO must also keep photocopies of each piece of identification in the employee's personnel security screening file for audit purposes
  4. When the CSO or ACSO submits a reliability screening request on behalf of themselves to PSPC's CSP, copies of 2 or more of the official documentation listed above, which confirms identity, must be attached to the reliability status application

Guidelines and instructions

The subject of the reliability screening must be properly identified through a preliminary verification as follows:

  1. date of birth: an applicant's date of birth may be verified using one or more of the official documents (refer to 203. Pre-screening requirements, section b)
  2. addresses: the applicant's address(es) for the last 5 years must be provided. The addresses must include apartment number, street number, street name (civic number, if appropriate), city, province, and/or state, postal code, country and (from and to) dates. Refer to instructions attached to the Personnel security screening form for guidance
  3. education and professional qualifications: these may be verified by official transcripts, diplomas, certificates from educational or professional institutions and/or originals of professional certification from municipal, provincial and federal licensing bodies, associations or institutions
  4. employment history: this may be verified by contacting previous employers to ascertain dates of employment, performance and reason for leaving employment
  5. character and employment references: these may be verified by contacting references provided by the applicant


Only after a thorough preliminary verification has been completed, documented and retained by the CSO or ACSO (subject to audit by PSPC's CSP), may a request for a reliability screening be submitted to PSPC's CSP.

204. Procedures for requesting a reliability status

1. The following must be completed, submitted to PSPC's CSP and processed before the granting of a reliability status:

For more information about electronic fingerprints, refer to Mandatory electronic fingerprints.

2. For ease of processing, all forms must be completed and submitted electronically. If this system is unavailable, all forms must be typed or printed, using black ink and in block letters, when submitted manually. If any forms are illegible or incomplete, they will not be processed and will be returned to the applicant for completion.

For those organizations which are using an automated process, the applicant's hardcopy documentation, bearing original signatures, must be forwarded to PSPC's CSP on the same day as the electronic submission. Legible facsimiles are acceptable.

For more information, refer to How to complete the personnel screening, consent and authorization form.


Instructions contained in this portion of the manual, supplement the generic instructions which are attached to each of the forms.

205. Security screening certificate and briefing form

The Security screening certificate and briefing form must be completed for the purposes of:

  1. briefing and acknowledgement
    • after a reliability status has been granted by PSPC, the CSO or ACSO must:
      • provide a comprehensive briefing to the employee about their security responsibilities
      • get, in writing, the acknowledgement of the employee to comply with the necessary requirements
  2. termination:
    the CSO or ACSO must complete and submit this form if an:
    • applicant terminates employment before receipt of a reliability status
    • employee granted a reliability status terminates employment with the organization

For more information, refer to How to complete the security screening certificate and briefing form.


The CSO or ACSO is expected to place the original signed form in the individual's security file with the organization.

206. Transfer and duplication of reliability status between organizations

  1. The reliability status of an individual may be transferred between organizations, provided the following criteria have been met:
    1. the reliability status was not terminated more than 2 years ago
    2. the reliability status is not due for updating
    3. the individual has stated that there have been no changes in their personal history regarding criminal convictions
  2. The personnel screening form must be completed, as per a new request (refer to 204. Procedures for requesting a Reliability status. Procedures for requesting a reliability status of this chapter), but with the following differences in:
    1. section A. Place an "x" in the transfer box
    2. section B. Ensure to provide all the required details on line "Have you previously completed a Government of Canada security screening form?"
    3. section C. Leave blank all the boxes on lines 1 through 5. The individual, however, must sign and date the form in order to confirm the validity of the personal details in section B, above
  3. The reliability status of an individual may be duplicated among multiple organizations providing the following criteria have been met:
    1. reliability status is still valid
    2. reliability status is not due for updating
    3. organization requesting the duplication is registered and in good standing in the Contract Security Program

For more information, refer to duplicate requests under Section A—Administrative information of How to complete the personnel screening, consent and authorization form.

207. Inability to grant or denial of a reliability status

If it is not possible to get background information to cover the last 5 years or if significant adverse information arises during the process of a reliability screening, the applicant must be notified in person, unless the information is exempt from disclosure under the Privacy Act, and given an opportunity to explain the circumstances. After reviewing all relevant information and negative recommendations, should PSPC's CSP decide that the applicant does not meet the requirements for a reliability status, the applicant concerned must be so notified, in writing, of their rights of access to review and redress mechanisms.

208. Reliability status records

Safeguarding and disposal

  1. because of its sensitivity, reliability screening documentation containing personal information shall not be retained in an organization's personnel files but rather in a separate security file and safeguarded appropriately
  2. CSO or ACSO's must maintain a current listing of all employees who have been granted a reliability status for tracking, updating and auditing purposes
  3. In accordance with access to information guidelines issued by the Treasury Board Secretariat, reliability screening records, under the access to information bank, must be destroyed 2 years after an employee leaves the institution for which the reliability screening was conducted

Submission of reliability screening forms

A submission must include:

  1. 1 copy of the Personnel security screening form to initiate the reliability screening process
    • photocopies of this form with original signatures may be used
    • clear and legible facsimiles are acceptable
  2. either a copy of the electronic fingerprint service provider's receipt; or a copy of the fingerprint applicant request form so long as the 20-digit document control number (DCN) is included. For more information, refer to Mandatory electronic fingerprints
  3. 1 copy of Security screening certificate and briefing form when a reliability status is granted by PSPC, and subsequently at the time of termination. Photocopies of the form with original signatures may be used


The form must be completed accurately with all required information or it will be returned.

Learn how to submit requests, forms and other documents for contract security.

209. Reports

Change of circumstances report

An employer or employee who becomes aware or has reasonable and probable grounds to suspect that circumstances, which prevailed when the applicant was granted a reliability status, have changed and may adversely affect that individual's reliability or trustworthiness, or who for any reason doubts the reliability or trustworthiness of such an individual or notices unusual behaviour that may be cause for security concern (like drug or alcohol misuse, sudden or marked changes in financial situation):

  1. must forward a complete report of the change of circumstances through their manager to the CSO or ACSO, who must forward it on to PSPC's CSP
  2. may deny that individual access to protected information and assets until the situation is resolved
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