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RCMP BACKGROUND CHECKS IN CANADA

POOR QUALITY FINGERPRINTS

BACKGROUND CHECKS OUTSIDE CANADA


Question: How does fingerprinting work for a Legal Name Change?

Answer: The fingerprinting agency takes the Applicant’s fingerprints electronically and submits them to the RCMP instantly using secure online transmission. The RCMP processes the fingerprints and then mails the results directly to the Applicant by ordinary mail.  The RCMP will not courier the results to the Applicant.

Question: How long will it take for the Applicant to get their results?

Answer: Normally, the Applicant receives the results within 2 to 3 weeks if they have NO criminal record or 1 to 3 months if they DO have a criminal record.  The RCMP does not accept emergency requests.  All requests are handled by the RCMP in the order that they are received. 

Question: Can Applicants submit their Name Change Application immediately after being fingerprinted?

Answer: No.  The Applicant must wait until they get their report from the RCMP BEFORE submitting their Application.

Question: Do all children have to get fingerprinted for their Legal Name Change?

Answer: No. Only children ages 12 and older need to be fingerprinted.

Question: Can Applicants go to the Calgary Police Service for fingerprinting for a Legal Name Change?

Answer: No.  The Calgary Police Service no longer provides fingerprinting services for civil purposes unless the application is associated with a Vulnerable Sector Search (volunteer or work with vulnerable people).  The Applicant must go to an RCMP Accredited and Certified Fingerprint Agency. 

More Questions?

Call 403-229-2774


How do I get a police clearance if my fingerprints are unclassified?  There are many reasons why your fingerprints may be of poor quality or unclassified.  They include:

PHYSICAL REASONS:

  • You have lots of wrinkles;
  • Your fingerprint ridges are worn due to the type of work that you do;
  • Your fingerprints are illegible due to medical condition;
  • Your hands are very sweaty and cause your fingerprints to smudge easily;
  • Your hands are very dry;
  • Due to deformity, it was difficult to take clear fingerprints; or
  • You have scars or missing fingers.

TECHNICAL REASONS

  • Not enough pressure was applied (fingerprint too light);
  • Too much pressure was applied (causing smudging);
  • The fingerprint agent only took partial fingerprints (e.g. did not roll enough left to right); or
  • Not enough ink placed on the fingertips (fingerprint too light).

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

  • If you have lots of wrinkles, worn ridges or dry hands, moisturize a lot before your appointment.
  • You can even apply a generous amount of moisturizing cream to your hands before bed and sleep with gloves on to allow the moisturizer to absorb throughout the night.   
  • Mix sugar with moisturizing cream to add a bit of texture and massage your fingerprints gently.
  • If your hands are sweaty, wipe them frequently while being fingerprinted.  You can even cool them down in cold water or hold onto an icepack before being fingerprinted. But, be sure your hands are not wet when being fingerprinted.
  • If your hands are sweaty, use a rag to dry your fingertips frequently while you are being fingerprinted.
  • If you are tense, try and relax your hands when being fingerprinted. Be sure to let the technician do all the work.  Even relax your wrists.  If you are having a hard time relaxing, practice taking fingerprints a few times before you start having your fingerprints placed on the fingerprint form.
  • If your fingerprints are hard to take, be sure to ask for a senior fingerprint technician.

FINGERPRINTS ARE UNCLASSIFIED

Your fingerprints may be of such poor quality that electronic fingerprinting won’t work for you.  If this is the case, your only option is as follows:

  • You will need to be digitally fingerprinted first.
  • If the agent is having a hard time getting good fingerprints, ask if a more senior fingerprint technician is available. 
  • If there are physical reasons your fingerprints are not being recognized (ie. lots of wrinkles, scars, etc.), it does not matter how good the technician is—it will be impossible to take good fingerprints.  The objective is to try and get as many good prints as possible from at least half of your fingers. 
  • If your fingerprints have been rejected, prior to getting re-fingerprinted, see if you can make improvements to the quality of your fingerprints using the suggestions above.
  • If the fingerprint technician is certain that better fingerprints cannot be taken, then follow the instructions below.

PAPER CONVERSION SERVICES

The fingerprint technician must provide the following to the RCMP:

  • at least one copy of the attempted live scan fingerprints which were rejected by the system if possible, or a dated letter explaining why the fingerprints could not be processed or submitted electronically (necessary proof that the live scan attempt was made);
  • two full sets of ink fingerprints;
  • proof of payment of the $25 RCMP fee or Money Order payable to “Receiver General”;
  • a photocopy of suitable identification; and
  • a document control number from the electronic submission that was rejected.

All three sets of fingerprints (two ink sets and one digital set) must be signed by the applicant and fingerprint agency.  Our total fee for unclassified fingerprints is $125.00 plus $25 RCMP Fee (if applicable) + GST as a result of the extra fingerprints and time taken by our agents to assist you.   We then submit the entire package to:

The Commissioner, RCMP
Identification Services, CCRTIS

Attn: PAPER CONVERSION
Room 402 – NPS Bldg 
1200 Vanier Parkway
Ottawa, On
K1A 0R2

If there is a DCN number, then the $25 RCMP will automatically be billed to the Fingerprint Agency and does not have to be submitted again.  The RCMP should be notified of the DCN number and the fact that their fee of $25.00, if applicable, has already been charged.


Good Fingerprints

Let’s begin by illustrating what a GOOD FINGERPRINT looks like.  It is important that the center of the loop (circles) and the deltas (triangles) are legible.

Bad Fingerprints

Look below for fingerprints that would be rejected (unsuitable for conducting a criminal record background check).   Reasons, why fingerprints are rejected, include:

  • Pressed too lightly.  (1)
  • Pressed too hard. (2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9)
  • Too much ink (may not be an issue if you don’t press too hard). (2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9)
  • Not enough ink covering entire fingertip (3, 7)
  • Fingertip to warm/sweaty. (2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
  • Fingertip too dry. (7)
  • Center loop and/or Deltas not legible. (All of them)
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Frequently Asked Questions:

Question:  Does each fingerprint need to be legible when requesting a background check in Canada?

Answer:  No.  However, to reduce the risk of rejection, it is useful if over half of all fingerprints are legible.

Question:  What do I do if my fingerprints are unclassified (i.e. it is impossible to obtain fingerprints that are legible)?

Answer:  Check the following blog:  Unclassified Fingerprints

Tips on How to Reduce the Risk Your Fingerprints will be Rejected

There are many reasons why your fingerprints may be of poor quality or unclassified.  They include:

PHYSICAL REASONS:

  • You have lots of wrinkles;
  • Your fingerprint ridges are worn due to the type of work that you do;
  • Your fingerprints are illegible due to medical condition;
  • Your hands are very sweaty and cause your fingerprints to smudge easily;
  • Your hands are very dry;
  • Due to deformity, it was difficult to take clear fingerprints; or
  • You have scars or missing fingers.

TECHNICAL REASONS:

  • Not enough pressure was applied (fingerprint too light);
  • Too much pressure was applied (causing smudging);
  • The fingerprint agent only took partial fingerprints (e.g. did not roll enough left to right); or
  • Not enough ink was placed on the fingertips (fingerprint too light).
  • Too much ink was placed on the fingertips (fingerprint too dark).

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

  • If you have lots of wrinkles, worn ridges or dry hands, moisturize a lot before your appointment.
  • You can even apply a generous amount of moisturizing cream to your hands before bed and sleep with gloves on to allow the moisturizer to absorb throughout the night.  
  • Mix sugar with moisturizing cream to add a bit of texture and massage your fingerprints gently.
  • If your hands are sweaty, wipe them frequently while being fingerprinted.  You can even cool them down in cold water or hold onto an icepack before being fingerprinted. But, be sure your hands are not wet when being fingerprinted.
  • If your hands are sweaty, use a rag to dry your fingertips frequently while you are being fingerprinted.
  • If you are tense, try and relax your fingers and wrist when being fingerprinted. Be sure to let the technician do all the work.  If you are having a hard time relaxing, practice taking fingerprints a few times before you start having your fingerprints placed on the fingerprint form.
  • If your fingerprints are hard to take, be sure to ask for a senior fingerprint technician.

Vulnerable Sector checks are a method of screening potential employees or volunteers for both criminals AND pardoned sex offence convictions. This background check goes through both local and Federal files, as well as the sex offenders database. This is a common screening for anyone working with vulnerable people.

Who are vulnerable people?

Vulnerable members are persons who, permanently or temporarily, are in a position of dependence on others. This can be due to age, disabilities or any other circumstances in which they are at a greater risk than the general population of being harmed by someone in a position of authority.

Why is it necessary to have a vulnerable sector check?

For most volunteering (and some employment) you may be in a position of trust to persons who are highly vulnerable. This requires the company to do a thorough background check on the individual in question to ensure the safety of vulnerable persons.

Although this is not a guarantee the person of trust will not abuse their power, it is believed to lower the risk considerably.

Who decides a vulnerable check is necessary?

The responsibility is on the organization or person responsible for the vulnerable persons to request this type of check. Organizations requesting this check are required to provide details about the position so the Calgary Police Service can determine if it requires a vulnerable check. Some important information usually expected is:

  • The role the applicant will have with vulnerable persons
  • If the applicant will have unsupervised access to vulnerable persons
  • Frequency and length of time applicant will spend with vulnerable persons

The organization or person in question will often provide documentation to bring with you for your vulnerability check (consent forms, verification letters…). 

Where to go for a vulnerable Check?

You can not go to a private fingerprint agency for a Vulnerable Sector Search in Calgary.  You must go to the Calgary Police Service Office in the NE.

Calgary Police Service only has one location for vulnerable checks

Westwinds Campus – 5111 47 Street NE, Calgary, AB T3J 3R2

PH: 403-428-2200

Hours of Operation: Tues – Thurs 7:30 AM to 3:00 PM
You must call in advance to schedule an appointment. Walk-in are not accepted.

If volunteer letter is provided by the organization there is no fee attached for this service. If this is for employment OR unpaid practicum/internship there is a $25 fee.

What to bring:

You are expected to bring 2 pieces of valid government-issued ID. At least one of the IDs must have a photo.

  • Photo ID examples include: Provincial Driver’s License, Identification Card, Passport, Permanent Residency Card, Firearms license, etc.
  • Non-photo ID examples include: Provincial Health Care Card, Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate, etc.

What happens next:

Once the search is complete one of the following two things can happen

  1. CPS could not find any criminal and/or sexual offences linked to your person. They will provide you with a certificate confirming the results. The certificate must be given to the person or agency requesting it and this is your responsibility to do so.
  • CPS got a “hit” based on the information provided by you, which results in an inconclusive search. If this is the case CPS will contact you for further verification, which requires you to provide fingerprints. They’ll work with the RCMP CCRTIS (Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Service) department to make sure, based on fingerprints, if there are any actual records of you. If this is asked of you, CPS will give you 45 days to comply.

If your fingerprints have NO MATCHES from CCRTIS, RCMP will provide CPS with the certificate required for volunteer/employment.

If your fingerprints have a MATCH in the CCRTIS system, RCMP will make a request to the Minister of Public Safety to disclose relevant records. Once this process is complete CPS will be provided with a copy of the individual’s record.

The average wait time for an individual with no record is approximately 7-10 business days and upwards of 120 days if there is a record.

Once the search is complete your fingerprints are retained for upwards of 90 days and then destroyed by the CCRTIS. Your fingerprints are not added to any repository afterward.

Sidenote: If the initial search results in a “hit”, it in no way implies you have a record, only that the CPS need more information for a more conclusive search.

Can I come see your company if I’ve been requested to provide fingerprints?

Unfortunately, you must go to CPS to provide fingerprinting for vulnerability checks.   This still requires you to call in advance and make an appointment with the CPS.

My Volunteer/Employment offer does not require vulnerable check, only RCMP  background check

If your employment/volunteer offer does not require you to do a vulnerable check but a standard RCMP background check come and see us if you live in or near Calgary.  To book an appointment in Calgary, click here: