Update on mandatory electronic fingerprints

December 14, 2016

On February 1, 2017, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) will launch the new mandatory electronic fingerprint requirement. Learn how this will change the personnel security screening process for those required to work on Government of Canada contracts.

Why the new criminal record check process is being implemented

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the lead agency responsible for law enforcement inquiries, is retiring the criminal record name check process. They are replacing it with a new criminal record check process. This new process uses fingerprints rather than a name to positively identify an individual. This allows the RCMP to provide accurate and timely responses to its clients.

Fingerprint screening has been used for many years to confirm identity, and it is an international best practice. It is the only definite way to determine whether an individual has a criminal record and to reduce false associations with criminality.

Fingerprinting is more accurate

Fingerprint-based verification is not a higher level of screening, but rather an improvement over the existing process. The results of name-based searches are not as accurate as those determined from fingerprint-based searches.

Name-based checks are not always reliable due to errors in spelling, common surnames, use of nicknames and name changes. To date, the RCMP has used name-based checks for criminal record verifications because the technology could not meet the demand to support fingerprint checks. The RCMP now has a biometric (fingerprint) system capable of supporting the demand for all criminal record checks.

Fingerprinting is faster

The automation of internal processes along with electronic responses from the RCMP will help reduce response times and reduce the number of complex screening requests that come as a result of a "match" with same or similar applicants' names.

Increased Royal Canadian Mounted Police capacity and infrastructure

The RCMP has invested significantly in a solution that meets mandatory fingerprint processing requirements. Its robust infrastructure can process enforcement, government and private industry biometric-based requests.

Police services and third-party fingerprinting service providers are ready

Since 2013, most police services have made arrangements to either buy the equipment or associate themselves with other police services that have the required capability or equipment. Many private suppliers have followed the trend to ensure that most locations are adequately served. The RCMP maintains an approved list of accredited fingerprint companies who have been certified and accredited to submit fingerprints electronically.

How the new criminal record check process will work

Applicants will need to visit an RCMP-accredited third-party fingerprint service provider with a new application request form to have their fingerprints taken. This form will be available upon implementation of the new process. The fingerprint service provider will give the applicant a document control number as confirmation. Once fingerprinting is completed, the company security officer will need to provide the Contract Security Program with the document control number and the applicant's personnel security screening form.

The RCMP will send the fingerprint results directly to the Contract Security Program. The program will use the document control number supplied by the applicant to match the personnel security screening request with the results supplied by the RCMP.

Validity period

Electronic fingerprint results will be valid for 1 year from the date the fingerprints have been taken.

Since the criminal record check will be valid for 1 year, individuals who apply for an upgrade with the Contract Security Program within 1 year of having already undergone the criminal record check will not require new electronic fingerprints. Instead, the program will use the RCMP results from the previous criminal record check when processing the upgrade request.

Transfer requests

Electronic fingerprints are not required for transfer requests unless the applicant's personnel security clearance is due for an update (renewal).

A transfer request is used when an organization must transfer the employee's personnel security clearance held by another government department.

Duplication requests

Electronic fingerprints are not required for duplication request unless there is a change of circumstance.

A duplication request is used when an organization must duplicate the employee's personnel security clearance held by another private sector organization.

Cost of fingerprinting

Third-party fingerprint service providers are private companies that charge a fee for their service. The fee charged may vary from one provider to the next. The current estimate is between $40 and $65. The Contract Security Program does not receive funds from providers and does not profit from their service. Applicants who require a personnel security screening are responsible for absorbing the costs associated with these fees.

Learn more about the new process

Consult the steps to submit a personnel security screening request requiring electronic fingerprints. Learn when, as the company security officer, you need to inform your applicants that fingerprints are required.

Mandatory electronic fingerprints

Reminder about the current process

Until the implementation on February 1, 2017, the Contract Security Program will continue to process applicants' personnel security screening requests using the name-based criminal record name check process.

Attend webinars to learn about the changes

The Contract Security Program offers free training for organizations bidding and working on government contracts with security requirements. To help you understand the changes we have developed a new webinar: Changes to the criminal record check video. The webinar is presented by subject matter experts and allows for a question and answer period at the end.

Contact us

Email tpsgc.dgspsctransformation-dobcsptransformation.pwgsc@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca, or you can contact the Contract Security Program

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