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The Ultimate Guide to the RCMP Criminal Record Check

Ultimate Guide to the RCMP Criminal Record Check
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Home » The Ultimate Guide to the RCMP Criminal Record Check

The Ultimate Guide to the RCMP Criminal Record Check

A correct background screening process makes sure everyone in an organization is safe. This includes employees and customers, as well as the organization’s property and reputation.

The usual search done before being officially employed is the criminal record check.

You’ll also need a criminal record check if you:

  • Need reference checks
  • Are buying something and need credit history checks
  • Are going through an adoption application process

Here at Instant Record Check, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about getting a criminal record check in Canada.
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What Is a Criminal Record Check?

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Criminal Check is a certified background check. It determines if you have been charged or convicted of a crime.

This criminal record check is done against the RCMP’s Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC), within the National Repository of Criminal Records.

The Criminal Record Check includes data from:

  • The Investigative, Identification, and Ancillary banks
  • Local Police Records
  • Police Information Portal (PIP)

The search can only be done with the candidate’s approval. It is based on their date of birth and name, and these are checked through an ID verification process provided by the applicant.

What Is CPIC?

The Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database is the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) national database. It holds records and information related to criminal and police action in Canada. CPIC contains criminal records showing convictions and offences. 

The RCMP also maintains the Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (CCRTIS), which is a database of fingerprints. It shows an individual’s criminal history, charges, and the court’s ruling.

Only police departments and government organizations authorized by the RCMP can access CPIC.

Third parties such as Instant Record Check can also access CPIC and complete a record check. However, this is only possible through valid agreements with individual police partners.

Types of Offences

There are three different criminal offences in Canada:

Summary Offence

A Summary Offence includes minor offences, such as “harassing telephone calls” and “disturbing the peace.”

This is the least serious criminal offence in the Canadian Criminal Code.

The sentence for a summary conviction ranges from 6 months in jail to a $5,000 fine.

Indictable Offence

The indictable offence includes charges such as violent crimes — the most serious type of offence in the Criminal Code.

Punishment for an indictable offence depends on the crime. It can be extremely severe, such as life in prison.

Hybrid Offence

A hybrid offence is a type that can be treated in both ways — as a summary or an indictable offence.

In these situations, the Crown Counsel decides on the approach, depending on how serious the crime is. The decision is based on certain factors:

  • The criminal history of the accused
  • The court’s workload
  • Availability of evidence

Examples of this offence are assault, theft under $5000, and impaired driving.

Types of RCMP Criminal Record Checks

Criminal Records
Source: Rawpixel

There are three types of RCMP criminal record searches that are the most common:

  • Basic or CPIC search
  • Enhanced Criminal Record Search
  • Vulnerable Sector Search

Basic Criminal Record Check

A basic criminal record check is done based on the candidate’s information. This includes their birth date and name.

To conduct the search, two sources of information are used:

  • Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC)
  • Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (CCRTIS)

Results provided fall into the categories:

  • Negative — RCMP hasn’t found any police records for a person with candidates’ information (name and birth date).
  • Incomplete — The results are inconclusive about the existence of a registered RCMP criminal record, and the applicant is required to have fingerprints submitted to the National Repository of Criminal Records the Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (CCRTIS). This will result in a Certified Criminal Record Check or Vulnerable Sector Verification Product.

The search checks active records in the National Repository of Criminal Records, and will show all convictions that haven’t been:

  • Pardoned
  • Sealed by record suspension
  • Discharged

Enhanced Criminal Record Checks

An employer can ask for a more detailed criminal record check, which is a check done with Local Police Information. It’s known as an Enhanced Criminal Record Check.

Here are the differences in search criteria between Basic and Enhanced Criminal Record Checks:

Search Criteria Basic Enhanced
Based on the candidate’s name and birth date Yes Yes
A search of active criminal files in the National Repository of Criminal Records Yes Yes
Searches of the Investigative and Identification data banks of CPIC Yes Yes
Searches the Police Information Portal No Yes

The information that is reported also differs:

Basic Enhanced
Criminal activities that haven’t been pardoned, discharged or sealed by record suspension Yes Yes
Convictions that haven’t yet been populated into the National Repository of Criminal Records No Yes
Summary Convictions within the past 5 years No Yes
Outstanding warrants No Yes
Pending charges before the courts No Yes
Relevant and releasable discharged No Yes

Across Canada, the Enhanced check is also known as:

  • Level 2 Check
  • Police Information Check (PIC)
  • Canada post background check application, fingerprinting services, certified criminal record
Canada post background check application, fingerprinting services, certified criminal record check service
Source: Freepik by macrovector

The results can be:

  • Negative/Clear
  • Incomplete/Unclear
  • Confirmation of declared record(s), showing criminally indictable convictions
  • Additional Check Recommended

Results can’t be shown to third parties — only directly to the candidates.

Vulnerable Sector Check

A vulnerable sector check includes the same criminal record checks done in an Enhanced check. Most importantly, it includes a search of the national pardoned sex offender database.

Who Can Be Asked to Do a Vulnerable Sector Check?

People who are working in a position of authority over children or vulnerable people.

This check is only done by the local police service where the candidate lives.

A vulnerable check will list individuals who reside in Canada and who:

  1. Have been tried and convicted of a sexual offence.
  2. Served their entire sentence, parole, or probation.
  3. Completed ten years of good behaviour.
  4. Then applied to the government for record suspense.

This check exposes ONLY individuals convicted of sexual offences. Suspensions or pardons granted for other criminal convictions will not be discovered. This is why some employers can ask for two checks — a basic criminal record check and a vulnerable check.

How to Get a Criminal Record Check

electronic id verification fingerprinting services police records application, credit bureaus, criminal record checks
Source: Pexels by Sora Shimazaki

For a Criminal Check to be valid, the candidate has to pass identity verification.

ID Verifications come in two forms:

Basic Identity Verification

For this check, the candidate answers questions from their credit file to verify their ID information. The candidate needs a Canadian credit history to pass the Basic ID Verification.

Enhanced Identity Verification

If you fail the basic ID verification, enhanced ID verification is done. A photo ID is needed for this.

Acceptable Primary Identification:

Acceptable Secondary Identification:

  • School identification card (student card)
  • Bank card (only if it has the applicant’s name)
  • Credit card (only if it has the applicant’s name)
  • Canadian or U.S. driver’s licence
  • Foreign birth certificate (a baptismal certificate is not acceptable)
  • Police identification
  • Picture employee ID card
  • Vehicle registration (only if the applicant’s signature is shown)
  • Foreign Affairs Canada or consular identification
  • Canadian Firearms Licence (PAL)
  • Social Insurance Card (new style without signature strip is not acceptable)
  • Parole Certificate Identification
  • Secure Certificate of Indian Status
  • Correctional Service Conditional Release Card


background checks, criminal record check service application fingerprints
Source: Flickr by CPOA

RCMP fingerprinting is also needed to establish a person’s identity.

As fingerprints are taken during arrests, this is a sure way to conduct criminal record checks and criminal record verification.

The RCMP’s CCRTIS is the division that is responsible for:

  • Processing fingerprint submissions
  • Running the checks
  • Providing the results

Fingerprints application can be done in two methods:

  • Digital — Electronic ID verification. It uses a high-definition digital scanner to capture your fingerprints. They are combined with criminal record checks and transferred to the RCMP via a secure portal.
  • Ink fingerprints — This is traditional ink fingerprinting information. It transfers ink from fingerprints onto paper.

While both of these are valid methods, digital is preferred. This is because the process is more expedited compared to physical ink submissions.

Once the identity verification has been established, the criminal record checks are done.

Get your Criminal Record Check with Instant Record Check

Not an individual, but a group? We can cover all of your group processing needs and complete record checks in record time.

Have more questions? We’ve got the answers.

On our blog, we cover topics such as, ‘Why Do You Need a Police Clearance Certificate?‘ and ‘When to Run an Online Police Check’.

Check it out today.

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Featured Image: Flickr

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