About identity verification requirements

Learn what organizations registered with Public Services and Procurement Canada’s (PSPC) Contract Security Program (CSP) must do to verify an individual’s identity during background checks.

Identity requirements during background checks

Individuals requiring a new personnel security screening must provide their company security officer (CSO) or alternate company security officer (ACSO) with 1 foundational and 1 supporting evidence of identity.

This documentary requirement is part of the background check process during which CSOs and ACSOs are required to verify the identity of employees and other elements of the employee’s background history. CSOs and ACSOs must ensure the employee’s information is both accurate and complete including:

In some cases, CSOs and ACSOs may also choose to contact personal character references to validate certain background elements.

More information

Conduct background checks for personnel security screening

Company security officer and alternate company security officer responsibilities

All CSOs or ACSOs must verify an employee’s identity as the first step in the security screening process or validate that someone in the organization has verified this information as part of the hiring process. This process applies to all levels of personnel security screening.

In this section

Identity verification process

To verify the identity of an employee, the CSO or ACSO must:

  • obtain 2 pieces of identification (1 of which must contain a photo) from the employee. One must be from each of the following:
  • review the documents to confirm that they are valid (for example, not expired) and that they were issued by governmental authorities in Canada such as a vital statistics or provincial licensing body
  • ensure that the information contained in both documents is consistent and has not been tampered with or changed
  • ensure that the information contained in both documents is consistent with the information the employee provided in their personnel security screening forms
  • keep photocopies of each evidence of identity in the employee’s personnel screening file for audit purposes
  • attest to the employee’s identity by completing the official’s portion of section C(1.) of the personnel screening, consent and authorization form (TBS/SCT 330-23E)

Delegation of responsibility

The CSO or ACSO of the organization must complete the identity and background verifications either themselves, or delegate the responsibility to their human resources department or to a third-party service provider.

If the CSO or ACSO delegates the responsibility, they are accountable for ensuring that all necessary verifications have been completed and documented in the individual’s file before submitting the personnel security screening request.

Sole proprietors

In the case of sole proprietors (also known as individual business entities), whose CSO is the only employee of the organization, the verification of the CSO’s identity will be completed by PSPC’s CSP. As indicated on PSPC’s CSP website Appointing a company security officer, all CSOs who submit a security screening request on their own behalf must also submit copies of 1 foundational and 1 supporting evidence of identity along with their completed screening form(s).

Subcontractors

The CSOs and ACSOs must only verify the identity of their own employees who require a security status or clearance. Subcontractors, including consultants, must be registered in PSPC’s CSP and have their own CSO or ACSO complete the necessary verifications for their employees.

More information

Subcontracting security requirements

Evidence of identity

Learn which type of documents may be accepted by PSPC’s CSP from the employee to verify their identity during background checks.

In this section

Required evidence of identity

The individual must provide 2 pieces of evidence of identity:

  • 1 foundational
  • 1 supporting

At least 1 of the 2 pieces of identification must contain the individual’s photo.

Foundational evidence of identity

Foundational evidence of identity: a piece of identification, issued by a Canadian authoritative source, that establishes core identity information, such as:

  • given name
  • surname
  • date of birth
  • sex
  • place of birth

Accepted identification

PSPC’s CSP accepts the following foundational evidence of identity:

  • Canadian birth certificate
  • Canadian citizenship certificate or citizenship card
  • confirmation of permanent residence document
  • record of landing document

Note

Even though a Canadian passport cannot be issued without proof of Canadian citizenship, the passport is first and foremost a travel document and, as such, the Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada (TBS) does not accept it as a foundational evidence of identity for the purpose of security screening.

Supporting evidence of identity

Supporting evidence of identity: a piece of identification, issued by a Canadian authoritative source, that establishes the information provided by the foundational evidence of identity, links the core identity information to an individual, and provides additional information, such as a:

  • photo
  • signature
  • current address

Accepted identification

PSPC’s CSP accepts the following supporting evidence of identity (they must be valid):

  • Canadian passport
  • driver’s licence or enhanced driver’s licence
  • provincial photo card for non-drivers (excluding health cards)
  • Secure Certificate of Indian Status issued by Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
  • Nexus card
  • firearms licence
  • student authorization/study permit (visitor record)
  • employment authorization/work permit (visitor record)

Note

Health cards not accepted.

In some provinces, health cards can only be given to health care providers. For this reason, PSPC’s CSP does not accept health cards issued by any province or territory as supporting evidence of identity.

Other checks that require evidence of identity

Although applicants may have provided evidence of their identity for other checks (for example, fingerprints), the CSO or ACSO must still verify the employee’s identity as part of the background check process.

For example, a fingerprinting service provider may not have verified the appropriate foundational and supporting evidence of identity since they are not subject to this TBS requirement.

Tools to help determine authentic documents

The Identification cards recognition index helps CSOs and ACSOs validate the authenticity of identity documents and validate that these were issued by the appropriate authoritative source.

To determine the authenticity of a document, the CSO or ACSO must also look for the following signs:

Special circumstances

In the case of special circumstances, learn which type of documents may be accepted by PSPC’s CSP from the employee to verify their identity during the background checks.

In this section

Suspected inauthentic or unverifiable documents

If the CSO or ACSO cannot properly verify the identity of an employee and confirm with certainty that the individual is who they say they are, they should stop the screening process and should not submit the screening request to PSPC’s CSP.

For example, the CSO should not request a screening for the individual, if either the:

  • applicant is not able to present the required evidence of identity to their CSO or ACSO
  • information contained in their identity documents is inconsistent, such as their:
    • surname and full given names
    • date of birth
    • place of birth (if applicable)

The same applies if there are inconsistencies between the identity documents and the screening form(s) that are not due to typos or accidental data entry errors. For example, the CSO or ACSO should not pursue the screening if the applicant provided on their form(s) a completely different name, date of birth, place of birth and/or citizenship than what is stated on their identity documents, and cannot provide a logical explanation for it.

Individual does not identify as a specific sex

TBS is currently developing new security screening forms and will be including a new gender category (gender "X") for individuals who do not identity as male or female. Until then, if an individual does not identify as a specific sex, they must indicate their legal gender on the form as it is shown on their evidence of identity, for example, on their passport or driver’s licence.

Temporary foreign workers or students

In the case of a temporary foreign worker or student, the CSO or ACSO can accept a foreign birth certificate as foundational evidence of identity. To satisfy the photo requirement, the CSO and ACSO can also accept a foreign passport or driver’s licence in addition to the temporary work or study visa.

Permanent residents

Before 2002, a record of landing was issued to new permanent residents in Canada. Since 2002, new permanent residents are issued a confirmation of permanent residence document.

If an individual who was issued a record of landing before 2002 left Canada permanently and returned as a new permanent resident after 2002, they should have been issued a confirmation of permanent residence document, which is an accepted foundational evidence of identity. If however, the individual lost their permanent residence status and returned to Canada on a temporary basis, they cannot present their previously-issued record of landing.

Refugees

Learn which type of documents may be accepted by PSPC’s CSP during the background checks to verify the identity of refugees resettled in Canada as permanent residents and individuals seeking asylum in Canada.

Refugees resettled in Canada as permanent residents

Refugees from abroad who arrive in Canada as permanent residents will have a confirmation of permanent residence document, which they can provide as a foundational evidence of identity. They must also be able to supply a supporting evidence of identity and photo identification to satisfy the identity verification requirement, such as a:

  • driver’s licence or enhanced driver’s licence
  • provincial photo card for non-drivers
  • firearms licence

If they do not have 1 of the supporting documents accepted by PSPC’s CSP, they can use their confirmation of permanent residence document to apply for the required document.

Individuals seeking asylum in Canada

Individuals must provide 1 foundational and 1 supporting evidence of identity to their CSO or ACSO if they want to undergo a personnel security screening. This documentary requirement comes from TBS’s Standard on Security Screening.

If an individual seeking asylum in Canada is not able to present the required documentation to satisfy the identity verification requirement, the CSO or ACSO should halt the security screening process since they are not able to validate the individual’s unique identity.

Supporting evidence of identity for minors in Quebec

Applicants who have not reached the age of majority in Quebec must provide 1 foundational and 1 supporting evidence of identity to their CSO or ACSO in order to verify their identity. Although Quebec does not issue provincial photo cards for non-drivers, applicants under the age of 18 can still meet the identity verification requirement with other valid supporting evidence of identity that contains a photo including a:

  • Canadian passport
  • driver’s licence
  • student authorization / study permit (visitor record)
  • employment authorization / work permit (visitor record)
  • minor firearms licence (must be between 12 and 17 years old)
  • Nexus card

If an applicant under the age of 18 in Quebec is not able to present a supporting evidence of identity to satisfy the identity verification requirement, the CSO or ACSO must contact the applicant’s parent or legal guardian to validate the identity of the applicant and confirm their relationship with them.

The CSO or ACSO must also ensure that the parent or legal guardian signed the Privacy Act Statement on the personnel screening, consent and authorization form (TBS/SCT 330-23E) and indicated their relationship to the applicant beside their signature. For requests submitted in the online industrial security services (OLISS), the CSO or ACSO must submit a copy of the personnel screening, consent and authorization form with the parent or legal guardian’s signature, even if the applicant e-signed the form in the OLISS portal.

Proof of historical immigration

A verification of status document can be used when an applicant must provide proof of historical immigration information, such as the date and place of entry to Canada. It is not an identity document and, as such, it is not accepted as foundational or supporting evidence of identity.

If an individual loses their immigration document(s), they must request a replacement from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

More information

Application for a verification of status or replacement of an immigration document

Photocopied documents as evidence of identity

The CSO or ACSO should make it a best practice to request the original evidence of identity; however, if they are unable to view the originals because they are not physically located in the same city, area or region as the applicant, the CSO or ACSO can accept photocopies from the applicant. In this case, the CSO or ACSO should still make every reasonable effort to have someone in the organization view the originals, either a colleague or employee of the organization who has physical access to the applicant.

Update, upgrade, reactivation, duplicate and transfer requests

Only for update or upgrade requests is the employee and the CSO or ACSO required to complete section C1 of the TBS personnel screening, consent and authorization form (TBS/SCT 330-23E). This confirms that the background and identity of the applicant was verified during the initial security screening.

If a CSO or ACSO has reasons to believe the background and identity of applicants was not properly verified during the initial screening, they must redo the verifications for update, upgrade, reactivation, duplicate and transfer requests. For reactivation, duplicate and transfer requests, section C1 of the personnel screening, consent and authorization form does not need to be completed, however, the CSO or ACSO must still document the verification in the applicant’s security file.

Contact us

Do you have additional questions that were not addressed on this page here’s how to contact us. 

Phone
613-948-4176 (toll-free: 1-866-368-4646)
Email
tpsgc.dgspsctransformation-dobcsptransformation.pwgsc@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca
Date modified: