Update to identity verification requirements in the background check process

Communiqué: April 18, 2019

On May 15, 2019, Public Services and Procurement Canada's Contract Security Program is implementing new documentary requirements included in the Standard on Security Screening. This means that security screening applicants must now present to their company security officer (CSO) or alternate company security officer (ACSO) 1 foundational and 1 supporting piece of identification, 1 of which must contain a photo.

The Government of Canada is committed to maintaining the highest standards of security, as set out in the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's Policy on Government Security. These changes will help ensure that greater scrutiny is given to the evidence of identity and provide greater assurance to the CSO or ACSO of an individual's unique identity.

Changes to company security officer and alternate company security officer responsibilities

All CSOs or ACSOs must conduct background checks and verify an employee's identity as the first step in the security screening process. The CSO or ACSO must also check educational credentials, professional qualifications, work history and personal character references, or validate that someone in the organization has verified this information as part of the hiring process. To do this, the CSO or ACSO must:

  1. Obtain 2 pieces of identification from the employee. One must be a piece of foundational evidence of identity which establishes core identity like name, date of birth, sex, place of birth from an authority in Canada with the necessary jurisdiction (birth certificate, Canadian citizenship certificate, permanent residence document, record of landing document). The second can be a piece of supporting evidence of identity which confirms the foundational evidence and provides additional information like a photo, signature or current address such as a Canadian passport, driver's licence, secure certificate of Indian Status or provincial photo card (issued in lieu of a driver's licence).

    Note: The CSO or ACSO should request the original pieces of identification from the employee. However, if the employee is not physically located in the same office or worksite as the CSO or ACSO, electronic photocopies can be accepted.

  2. Review the documents to confirm that they were issued by governmental authorities in Canada.
  3. Ensure that the information contained in both documents is consistent and that the documents do not appear to have been tampered with or changed. If there are doubts surrounding the employee's identity, indicate it in the employee's personnel security screening request.
  4. Ensure that the information contained in both documents is consistent with the information the employee provided in their personnel security screening forms.
  5. Keep photocopies of each piece of identification in the employee's personnel security screening file for audit purposes.
  6. Attest to the employee's identity by completing the official's portion of section C1 of the personnel screening, consent and authorization form (TBS/SCT 330-23).

Conducting background checks

Verifying an individual's unique identity is an important first step in the security screening process. This must be done before continuing with further security screening activities. However, identity verification is only 1 component of the CSO's or ACSO's background check responsibilities. The CSO or ACSO is also required to verify educational credentials, professional qualifications, employment history, and in some cases, personal character references.

Checklist: Conducting background checks

Public Services and Procurement Canada is committed to ensuring that organizations working with the Government of Canada respect federal security requirements. To help you conduct background verifications, the Contract Security Program has developed the attached checklist.

Learn more about the new requirements

Refer to the resources below to learn more about the new requirements for conducting background checks.

Webinar: How to conduct background checks

You are invited to register for a live webinar on how to conduct background checks. This webinar will be presented by a subject matter expert and allow for a question and answer period at the end. Learn more about the webinars offered by the Contract Security Program

More information

Public Services and Procurement Canada has recently updated its website to include a how to conduct background check section which explains the new requirements in more details; also included is a list of all acceptable pieces of foundational and supporting evidence of identity.

Contact us

To find out more about this requirement, you can:

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