Mandatory credit checks

On January 29, 2018, Public Services and Procurement Canada’s Contract Security Program will implement mandatory credit checks for all levels of personnel security screening.

This new communiqué contains additional information about our processes.

Why mandatory credit checks are being implemented

Mandatory credit checks are required as part of the Government of Canada’s standardization of security screening processes, as indicated in the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) Standard on Security Screening.

Purpose of a credit check

Conducting a credit check as part of a security assessment helps determine an individual’s reliability, particularly as it relates to their ability to meet their financial obligations. While the status of an individual’s financial situation may not affect their ability to do a job, financial obligations or pressures could pose a security risk.

It is important to note that assessing an individual’s financial situation is just one part of the overall assessment. Public Services and Procurement Canada also assesses an applicant’s background information, education and professional credentials, personal and professional references and criminal record.

Applying the new process

This requirement applies to all new security status or clearance requests. This does not apply to an existing security status or clearance unless it is due for an update (renewal) or upgrade.

A transfer request will not require a credit check unless:

A duplication request will not require a credit check unless:

How mandatory credit checks take effect

Although Public Services and Procurement Canada will begin performing credit checks for all security screenings on January 29, 2018, applicants and security officers may be required to consent to a credit check  before the January 29 date when using the online industrial security services (OLISS) portal. This is due to a mandatory system alignment. However, Public Services and Procurement Canada will not perform credit checks on applications submitted before the implementation date.

Reminder for online industrial security services (OLISS) users

It is important to note that all applications created in OLISS before January 29, 2018, but not submitted to Public Services Procurement Canada (the submit button was not pressed) will be subject to a mandatory credit checks.

No additional forms

There are no additional documents associated with a credit check. The applicant provides consent at section C3 of the personnel screening, consent and authorization form (TBS/SCT 330-23E) or will be prompted to consent when completing their request through the Online Industrial Security Services portal.

For duplication and transfer requests, when required, Public Services Procurement Canada would verify that consent for a credit check had previously been provided.

Type of information assessed in the credit history report

Public Services and Procurement Canada receives a credit history report from the credit bureau. This report contains a record of an individual’s past borrowing and repaying history, including information about late payments and bankruptcy. The report contains an applicant’s date of birth, addresses, employment information, as well as a comprehensive history of current credit or credit that has been used in the past 6 years.

The report will not include the applicant’s credit score and a Public Services and Procurement Canada credit history request has no impact on an individual’s credit score.

Privacy of information

Public Services and Procurement Canada is committed to protecting the privacy of personal information and uses all necessary measures to protect clients’ information.

Public Services and Procurement Canada is aware of the cyber security incident impacting a credit bureau agency in the United States and Canada and is closely monitoring the situation. There are two available service providers in Canada that provide credit information, which are regulated by provincial legislation. The credit information they receive is kept up-to-date by banks, credit card companies, retailers, auto lease financing companies and other establishments that provide an individual with credit.

These service providers are aware of the Government of Canada’s expectations when it comes to protecting the privacy of personal information and the importance of offering secure services to Canadians. The providers must adhere to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act that outlines the requirements for organizations that use, collect or disclose personal information during the course of their business activities.

Impact on screening times

In general, this additional check will not cause further delays in the security screening processing times. However, delays can be expected if the credit history report contains  information that requires a more in-depth assessment on the part of Public Services and Procurement Canada.

Again, a credit check is part of an overall assessment. Credit history report findings will be considered along with other personnel security screening findings.

Attend a webinar to learn about this change

Public Services and Procurement Canada’s Contract Security Program offers free webinar training for organizations bidding and working on government contracts with security requirements.

To help you better understand credit check requirements, a live webinar with a subject matter expert will be offered. This will allow for a question and answer period at the end. To register for this webinar, please visit the link below:

Detailed and dedicated website information on credit check

For your convenience, Public Services and Procurement Canada has created a dedicated webpage on credit checks. More information about this requirement will be available on the credit check section of the Contract Security Program web page starting January 29, 2018.

Contact us

To learn more about this requirement, you can:

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