Mandatory credit checks are coming soon
Communiqué: January 9, 2018
This Communiqué provides information about a new requirement for mandatory credit checks (also called financial inquiries). This requirement will affect how Public Services and Procurement Canada's Contract Security Program conducts personnel security screenings for private sector organizations. Learn what mandatory credit checks will mean for organizations and their personnel.
About the upcoming requirement
On January 29, 2018, Public Services and Procurement Canada's Contract Security Program will begin mandatory credit checks for all levels of personnel security screening. This requirement comes from the Government of Canada Standard on Security Screening. Conducting credit checks as part of the overall assessment helps determine an individual's trustworthiness and reliability to access government information, assets and sites. More detailed information concerning this new requirement will be shared with you closer to the implementation date.
When a credit check is required
Personnel of organizations working or intending to work on Government of Canada contracts with security requirements will require a mandatory credit check.
You may know that credit checks are not new; Public Services and Procurement Canada already conducts credit checks but only:
- for Top Secret-level personnel security screening requests
- when PSPC requires additional information during an applicant's security screening assessment
With this change, a credit check will be mandatory for any applicants needing a new security status or clearance, or an update (renewal) or upgrade of their existing status or clearance.
Credit checks will now be required for both types of personnel security screening requests:
- Reliability status
- Security clearance, which has 2 levels:
- Top Secret
Applicants will not require a credit check for any transfer requests unless:
- there is a ARCHIVED—change of circumstance
- the security screening results are more than 5 years old
- the security screening was not previously done in accordance with the Standard on Security Screening
Applicants will not require a credit check for any duplication requests unless, there is a ARCHIVED—change of circumstance
Transfer and duplication requests explained
- Transfer requests
- Used when an organization must transfer the employee's personnel security status or clearance held by a government department other than Public Services and Procurement Canada
- Duplication requests
- Used when an organization must duplicate the employee's personnel security status or clearance held by another private sector organization registered in the program
What a credit check entails
The applicant must provide consent to a credit check by completing section C3 of the personnel screening, consent and authorization form (TBS/SCT 330-23E).
Refusal to provide consent will result in an automatic rejection of the application.
Public Services and Procurement Canada encourages the company security officer or their alternate and their personnel to use the online industrial security services (OLISS) portal to complete and e-sign. This web service is faster and more accurate than filling forms out by hand. To register for OLISS, email email@example.com.
Conducting the credit check
After Public Services and Procurement Canada receives the completed personnel screening form that includes the applicant's consent, it will submit a request to a private consumer credit reporting agency (credit bureau). The credit bureau will then produce a full consumer credit report, which is a record of an individual's past borrowing and repaying history, including judgments and bankruptcy status, if any. The report will not include the applicant's credit score.
Note: A credit check will not affect an individual's credit history.
Credit checks conducted for the purpose of security screenings are “masked,” meaning there is no negative effect on an individual's credit bureau file. Public Services and Procurement Canada inquiry is similar to that commonly done by private sector companies when screening employees.
Cost of a credit check
There is no cost to the applicant or the organization for a credit check. Public Services and Procurement Canada covers all associated costs.
How the credit report information will be used
The overall assessment of reliability considers an individual's trustworthiness in protecting government, assets, information and facilities. Assessing an individual's financial situation is important to the overall security screening process, particularly as it relates to an individual's ability to meet their financial obligations. A credit report can also help validate other information provided by an individual such as previous addresses and date of birth.
Security screening assessment
The credit check is one of many factors considered when assessing risk to government information, assets and sites. Public Services and Procurement Canada will also verify an applicant's:
- education and professional credentials
- personal and professional references
- criminal record
All of these factors are taken into account during the assessment to determine whether to grant a security clearance to an applicant.
Any areas of concern obtained from this assessment could result in a security screening interview to validate or gather more information from the applicant.
Storing and protecting the applicant's information
Results from credit checks are kept confidential on the applicant's security screening file.
An applicant's credit report is never shared with the applicant's company security officer or alternate. Public Services and Procurement Canada will contact the applicant directly whenever there is a need to validate financial information.
Public Services and Procurement Canada may share the results of the individual's credit check with another federal department or agency if the security clearance or reliability status needs to be transferred. The applicant must provide consent to transfer personal information.
The Government of Canada is committed to assuring the highest security level for Canadians and recognizes the importance of cyber security. As such, Public Services and Procurement Canada uses all necessary measures to protect your information.
Personal information is protected in accordance with the federal Privacy Act, the Policy on Privacy Protection and the Directive on Privacy Practices.
To find out more about this requirement, you can:
- email firstname.lastname@example.org
- contact the Contract Security Program
- Date modified: