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What are the Five Types of Calgary Police Checks?

How to Get a Calgary Police Check

What Type of Criminal Record Search do you Need?

A Calgary Police Check is also known as a Criminal Record Check, RCMP Background Check, Name Check, Police Clearance, Background Check, Security Clearance or Backcheck or Vulnerable Sector Search.  In fact, there are five types of Police Checks that you can request in Calgary.  It is important that you know what type you need in advance of requesting a Check to ensure that the proper one is conducted. Some can only be completed by the Calgary Police and some must be completed by a private fingerprint agency.  Some fingerprinting and background check services have been privatized, which is why you can no longer go to the Calgary Police for all of your services.

All five checks are available all across Canada.  If you do not live in or near Calgary, then you’ll probably have to investigate how to get the proper search done for the region you live in.  We provide free consultations if your search is in relation to one of the following:

  • you have a criminal record or conditional discharge (we provide services in this area across Canada);
  • you need fingerprinting or background check services in Calgary; or
  • you are outside Canada (we assist individuals outside Canada with background checks in Canada).

Private Background Checks

Private background checks are background checks that can only be completed by Private Fingerprint Agencies.  In Calgary, you need to go to an accredited and certified fingerprint agency if you need one of the following two types of checks:

#1.  48 Hour Name Check

In reality, a 48 Hour Name Check completed in Calgary is really a search of the National RCMP Canada.  All police voluntarily register most convictions on the National RCMP database.  So, rather than search local databases which only contain local information, a search of the National RCMP database is made.  Applicants do not have the option of which database is searched, meaning a search of the National RCMP database is the only option.

A 48 Hour Name Check is a criminal record background check that is based upon a search of your name and date of birth only.  The benefit of this type of search is that it is normally completed within 48 hours.  It is fast.  The results will reveal one of the following:

  • there is no criminal record associated with the applicant’s name and date of birth; or
  • there might be a criminal record which can only be verified if the applicant submits a set of fingerprints.

There are 2 possible risks for the employer with 48 Hour Name Checks:

  • the employee may not have provided all of their names during the screening process; or
  • the local police may have entered the name, date of birth, or gender of the employee into the system incorrectly when either registering a conviction or searching to see if a conviction exists

As a result, a check may come back clear when in fact the person may have a criminal record.  A 48 Hour Name Check also does NOT reveal convictions for which a person has been pardoned (or given a record suspension).  Typically, a 48 Hour Name Check is not suitable for jobs involving the vulnerable sector.  Most employers who employ people in the vulnerable sector will not accept a 48 hour name check.

Further, if there is a criminal record, then this type of search is NOT suitable as it will only disclose the fact that there might be a record which has not yet been verified by fingerprints.  This also leads to another BIG problem for the employee.  They may NOT have a criminal record.  Instead, someone with a similar name and date of birth might have a criminal record, leading the employer to think that their employee might have one.  To prove the employee does not have a criminal record, they will need to be fingerprinted.

The only way to determine reliably if there is really a criminal record or to access a criminal record, the employee needs to be fingerprinted (see #2 below).  Fewer companies are relying on 48 Hour Name Checks as a screening method as a result of the digital technology that often provides results in as few as 10 days (when the applicant does NOT have a criminal record).

#2.  Fingerprint Based Search

Your fingerprints are taken electronically through a digital fingerprint agency and sent to the RCMP in Ottawa for processing.  This type of search reveals only convictions registered on the National RCMP database.  Most police voluntarily register convictions on the RCMP database.  This type of search is mandatory for applications involving Record Suspensions, Waivers, Immigration, Licensing and by most employment positions.

The Calgary Police no longer provide fingerprinting services to the public unless it is in relation to a Vulnerable Sector Search or criminal matters (such as when a person is being charged/convicted).  Instead, you’ll have to go to an accredited RCMP fingerprint agent (details below) for this service. For a fingerprint-based search, please contact our office. We are RCMP Accredited and Certified.

If you need to have your fingerprints processed outside Canada, we can provide you with a set of ink fingerprints for submission purposes.

Calgary Police Service

There are 3 types of checks conducted by the Calgary Police.

#3.  Local Police Check for Record Suspension (Pardon)

Are you applying for a Record Suspension?  If yes, there are two types of criminal record searches that must be completed.  First, you must complete the #2 Search above.  Secondly, only after you have received your RCMP criminal record, you must give your RCMP criminal record, along with the Record Suspensions Application form “Request for Local Police Check” to the police.  They will conduct a search and prepare a report disclosing , if any, convictions missing from the RCMP database, pending charges, charges not resulting in convictions, and other police matters (such as speeding tickets, disturbances, etc).

We recommend that you contact us before commencing a Record Suspension application.

#4.  NEW:  Criminal Record Check Provided by the Calgary Police

The Calgary Police will now give you a printout of your criminal record.   Though this printout is not recognized for Record Suspensions, Waivers, licensing, Immigration and most employment purposes, it does reveal to you what is on your criminal record and usually only takes an upwards of 10 days to receive. The Calgary Police will process this search based on a search of your name and date of birth.  This search is not verified by fingerprints.

#5.  Vulnerable Sector Search

If you are applying for a job in the vulnerable sector (working with vulnerable people such as children, elderly, and disabled), you will need to attend the Calgary Police Service for a vulnerable sector search.  This search reveals convictions on the National RCMP database and convictions involving offences against the vulnerable sector which may have been pardoned or suspended.  The local police may refuse to give you a police clearance if you have had charges related to the vulnerable sector which did not result in convictions.  Please visit the CPS Website for more information on vulnerable sector searches.

***If you are not sure what type of search you need, please contact our office.***

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