Fingerprinting Made Mandatory for Criminal Records Check


The new mandatory electronic fingerprinting for a criminal record was enacted on July 1st, 2016 for all federal government employment security screening.

The following information from GambIT in Ottawa will help people learn all about the mandatory fingerprinting.

What was the reason behind the replacement of name-based Criminal record checks by the RCMP?

The name-based checks have inherent weaknesses caused by the differences in the spelling of names, use of nicknames, common surnames, and even name changes. Fingerprinting provides an effective and positive way of confirming the identity of individuals and to prevent the association with a criminal record from another person in Ottawa.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has previously used the name-based checks for criminal record check since no technology existed to support the fingerprint checks. The RCMP now utilizes a fingerprint system that supports the demand for all criminal record checks.

Why the greater level of screening?

The fingerprinting verification is an improvement on the previous system and provides a higher level of surety. Fingerprinting is not necessarily a higher level of screening since the information being checked and being released by the Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (CCRTIS) remains unchanged.

Since fingerprinting has been associated with criminal activity, isn’t asking for fingerprints treating people like criminals?

Fingerprinting is internationally accepted as best practice in the confirmation of identity. Fingerprints are also used to confirm the identity for purposes that are totally unrelated to criminality such as unlocking digital devices, visas, and immigration.

In criminal records check, fingerprinting is the surest way of determining if an individual has a criminal record. It is, therefore, the best method of eliminating false accusations or associations of criminality.

Submission of fingerprints seems like a complex and time-consuming process. Why compel people to have their fingerprints taken whereas their name and date of birth can also be effective?

The electronic submission of fingerprints is both easy and convenient. Members of the public can make use of an accredited company such as GambIT or the police service to have their fingerprints taken and submitted for civil purposes using the electronic submission device.

The quick retrieval of electronic results offers a direct benefit to both applicants and employers. The statement is particularly true for individuals who would have had their application delayed unnecessarily where their names have been incorrectly linked to those of convicted offenders. Keep in mind that the results of name-based searches are not as accurate as the fingerprint-based searches.

Will this new process causes a backlog or increase processing times for the RCMP?

The RCMP has embarked on automation of internal process and the electronic responses that have effectively reduced response times.

How long are fingerprints stored at the RCMP?

Civil fingerprint submissions are not retained in the RCMP system. A submission is deleted immediately it is completed since civil fingerprints are not populated in a database where they could be subjected to further search and scrutiny.

What option do I have in submitting fingerprints?

The RCMP accepts electronic fingerprints only. The electronic submission must always be per the required RCMP standards. The electronic submission must be created using an Electronic Fingerprint Capture Device (Livescan), or by Cardscan where paper-based fingerprints are scanned and converted into an electronic submission.

What is the established process for new employees?

Students, recruits, all casual and term employees can visit GambIT where their fingerprints can be taken at a small cost. The cost of the fingerprinting service is approximately $50. Alternatively, people can have their fingerprints taken at a local police or RCMP detachment which will also attract a small processing fee.


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