Mandatory electronic fingerprints
On February 1, 2017, Public Services and Procurement Canada's (PSPC) Contract Security Program (CSP) implemented the mandatory criminal record check process, which requires electronic fingerprinting. Learn when mandatory electronic fingerprints are required and why the Program implemented this change. Also find out about the validity period and the steps applicants and company security officers must take.
Training video: Criminal record check process
Why are electronic fingerprints part of the criminal record check process? Do you need to send your employees for electronic fingerprints?
Watch our training video on changes to the criminal record check process to learn how to comply with this requirement.
- About mandatory electronic fingerprinting
- Find a fingerprint service provider
- When electronic fingerprints are required
- When electronic fingerprints are not required
- How to submit a personnel security screening request requiring electronic fingerprints
- Learn more about mandatory electronic fingerprints
- More information
About mandatory electronic fingerprinting
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the lead agency for law enforcement inquiries, has retired the criminal record name check process. They replaced it with a criminal record check process, which requires electronic fingerprinting.
Validity of the clearance
The validity of an existing PSPC-issued personnel security clearance is not affected by the new criminal record check process.
Validity period of the criminal record check results
The results of the criminal record check and the associated document control number (DCN) sent to PSPC's CSP will both be valid for 1 year from the date the fingerprints were taken.
Within that year, as long as the DCN was generated for a personnel security screening processed through PSPC's CSP, the same DCN can be reused for another personnel security screening request such as:
- updates (renewals)
A DCN cannot be transferred to or used by other departments or agencies.
Cost of fingerprinting
The RCMP does not charge a processing fee for criminal record check for fingerprints taken for federal employment or contracts. The fingerprints applicant request form clearly indicates that fingerprints are for a government security clearance and that the results are to be sent directly to PSPC's CSP. Although the RCMP does not charge a processing fee, the third-party fingerprint service provider will charge an applicant the market rate, typically between $40 and $65, for their processing services.
The fee charged may vary from one provider to the next. PSPC's CSP does not receive funds from providers and does not profit from their services. Applicants who require a personnel security clearance are responsible for absorbing all costs associated with these fees.
Protecting the applicant's identity
PSPC's CSP does not receive copies of applicants' fingerprints. The third-party service provider submits the fingerprints electronically to the RCMP. The RCMP uses the fingerprints to search their criminal record database and provides the Program with the results of that particular search.
The RCMP does not retain copies of the fingerprints in their system. Once the criminal record check results are produced and shared with PSPC's CSP, these results are deleted from the RCMP system. At no time are copies of civil fingerprints kept in the RCMP database.
The RCMP will send the criminal record check results directly to the PSPC's CSP. The Program will use the document control number (DCN) and the date of birth supplied by the applicant to match the personnel security screening request with the results supplied by the RCMP. All these need to be accurate and correctly matched to proceed with a security clearance request.
PSPC's CSP recommends that applicants request a copy of the RCMP submission results electronic (SRE) transaction record, which identifies the applicant's DCN and confirms the destination to where the criminal record check results will be sent. These documents help validate the DCN associated with the applicant's criminal record check results and help the Program identify any potential matching issues.
If there is a matching issue, the PSPC's CSP will contact the company security officer (CSO) or alternate company security officer (ACSO) who may be asked to provide additional information.
It is important to ensure that the originating agency identifier (ORI) number, also found on the fingerprints applicant request form, is correctly entered in the service provider system when fingerprints are submitted to the RCMP. The ORI number is PQ80800. This number allows the applicants' criminal record check results to be sent directly from the RCMP database to PSPC's CSP for processing.
PSPC's CSP cannot match the applicant's criminal record check results if the service provider system did not include the PQ80800 reference number when the fingerprints were taken and the DCN was generated.
Find a fingerprint service provider
Consult the list of service providers that are authorized to submit electronic fingerprints directly to the RCMP. It is not a complete list. There are other companies that are accredited by the RCMP to provide electronic fingerprint services.
Find an accredited fingerprint company.
When electronic fingerprints are required
Read the following conditions carefully.
All new personnel security screening (Reliability status, Secret or Top Secret) requests require mandatory fingerprints.
Electronic fingerprints are also required for upgrade requests.
An upgrade request is when an individual is requesting a higher level of personnel security clearance.
Since criminal record check results will be valid for 1 year, individuals who apply for an upgrade with PSPC's CSP within 1 year of having already undergone a 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.
Signal Intelligence requests
The criminal record check process does not affect special access Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) requests. These requests always require electronic fingerprints.
Electronic fingerprints are required to reactivate a personnel security clearance that has been inactive for more than 1 year.
A reactivation request pertains to employees who previously held a personnel security screening/clearance with a private sector organization registered in PSPC's CSP.
A personnel security screening/clearance request is considered inactive when a termination has been submitted for that employee to the Program.
Update (renewal) requests
Electronic fingerprints are required for update (renewal) requests, except in cases where an applicant has already undergone a criminal record check through PSPC's CSP within 1 year of the date the update (renewal) request was submitted.
When electronic fingerprints are not required
Read the following conditions carefully.
Electronic fingerprints are not required for transfer request 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 of Canada department or agency.
Electronic fingerprints are not required for duplication request unless there is a change of circumstance.
Consult Annex A: Guidelines on company security officer and alternate company security officer responsibilities – section VI.D Change of circumstances of the Contract Security Manual to learn more about 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.
Learn more about the duplication process
North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Control of Secret Material in an International Command Top SecretFootnote 1 special access requests
Fingerprints are not required if an applicant requesting North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and COSMIC special access already holds a valid Secret or Top Secret clearance, as these requests do not constitute an upgrade.
Additional steps may apply depending on the requirement.
How to submit a personnel security screening request requiring electronic fingerprints
Follow these steps when personnel security screening requests require mandatory electronic fingerprints.
The CSO or ACSO determines if the employee needs mandatory electronic fingerprints for their personnel security screening.
The CSO or ACSO provides the employee (applicant) with a fingerprints applicant request form.
The applicant brings the fingerprints applicant request form and 2 pieces of valid government-issued identification (ID) to an accredited fingerprint company, which has been certified and accredited by the RCMP to submit fingerprints electronically.
At least 1 piece of ID must be photo ID.
The following types of Canadian government issued ID are accepted:
- valid passport
- citizenship card
- driver's license
- permanent resident card another piece of government-issued ID, issued in Canada and containing the employee's date of birth
Provincial health cards are not accepted.Footnote 2
The fingerprint service provider takes the electronic fingerprints. A confirmation document control number (DCN) is generated and identified on the service provider's receipt. The service provider must record the 20-digit DCN on the fingerprints applicant request form.
It is very important that the applicant receives either a copy of the original fingerprint receipt with the DCN or a copy of the fingerprints applicant request form with the DCN recorded.
PSPC's CSP recommends that applicants request a copy of the RCMP submission results electronic (SRE) transaction record, which identifies the applicant's DCN and confirms the destination to where the criminal record check results will be sent.
Please retain copies of all documents associated with fingerprint until the applicant's personnel security screening request has been completed.
The applicant's electronic fingerprints are forwarded to the RCMP by the service provider electronically.
If an applicant works in a remote location in Canada, their fingerprints can be taken on paper at any RCMP remote location office. The applicant will send copies of his paper and ink fingerprints to a service provider central site. Please make sure that the fingerprints applicant request form is attached to the fingerprint paper and ink form being sent to the central site. The service provider will scan and submit them electronically to the RCMP.
If an applicant is given that option, the DCN generated from the fingerprint submission must be included on the personnel security screening form(s).
The applicant gives a copy of either the fingerprints applicant request form or the receipt to the CSO or ACSO. The CSO or ACSO then proceeds with the personnel security screening request electronically via the online industrial security services (OLISS) portal.
Submitting completed forms online (recommended)
Submitting applications online is a convenient and effective service that increases the accuracy of the applications and allows the Program to initiate the process more quickly.
For electronic requests
The CSO or ACSO must enter the 20-digit DCN into OLISS.
For updates (renewals) and upgrades, you must enter the DCN even though the DCN field is not mandatory in OLISS.
For manual requests
PSPC's CSP recommends that the CSO or ACSO:
- record the DCN on the employee's personnel security screening form(s)
- submit, as supporting documentation, to the personnel security screening form(s):
- a copy of the fingerprint applicant request form, or a copy of the service provider receipt
- a copy of the service provider "RCMP submission results electronic (SRE) transaction record"
- It is very important that the destination refer to the PSPC's ORI number (PQ80800)
- If the results are not sent to that destination, the Program will not be able to match the personnel security screening request with the criminal record check results
Manual requests may be subject to processing delays.
For both request methods
The DCN is required as proof that electronic fingerprints were taken and to allow the Program to match the RCMP criminal record check results to the applicant's request.
The Program reviews the personnel security screening request, proceeds with the remaining checks and verifications and determines if the request can be granted. If the request is granted, the CSO or ACSO is notified and asks the employee (applicant) to read and sign the briefing certificate.
Learn more about mandatory electronic fingerprints
- Update on mandatory electronic fingerprints and reminders—consult the Program's communiqué on this requirement
- How does the fingerprinting process work for criminal record checks
- Date modified: