Get a Background Check
If you require a Criminal Record Check, Criminal Record and Judicial Matters Check or a Vulnerable Sector Check, please apply online by clicking on the button below
Criminal Record Check
Intended for applicants involved as a volunteer or in any situation where a basic police criminal record check is requested. It is not intended for applicants looking to volunteer and/or work with vulnerable persons.
A Criminal Record Check will include the following information:
Criminal convictions (summary and indictable) from CPIC and/or local databases.
Summary convictions, for five years, when identified.
Findings of guilt under the Youth Criminal justice Act within the applicable disclosure period. Only for persons applying for a position with a government agency (federal, provincial, municipal)
Vulnerable Sector Check
Intended for applicants seeking employment and/or volunteering in a position of authority or trust relative to vulnerable persons in Canada only.
It is a collection of offence information, including convictions, outstanding warrants, charges, judicial orders and sexual offence convictions for which the individual has received a record suspension where authorized by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Non-conviction information shall be released only when it meets the Exceptional Disclosure Assessment.
NOTE: In accordance with the Criminal Records Act, the police must be satisfied that a Vulnerable Sector screening check is a truly valid requirement for the position. A request for a Vulnerable Sector check does not guarantee one will be completed. The applicant and agency must satisfy requirements for eligibility.
Vulnerable Sector Check will include the following information:
- Criminal convictions from Canadian Policing Information Centre (CPIC) and/or local databases
- Summary convictions, for five years, when identified
- Findings of Guilt under the Youth Criminal Justice Act within the applicable disclosure period. Only for persons applying for a position with a government agency (federal, provincial, municipal)
- Outstanding entries such as charges and warrants, judicial orders, Peace Bonds, Probation and Prohibition Orders. As per CPIC policy, information obtained from the Investigative Databank must be confirmed and authorized for release by the contributing agency
- Absolute and conditional discharges for one or three years respectively
- In very exceptional cases, where it meets the Exceptional Disclosure Assessment, non-conviction dispositions including, but not limited to, Withdrawn and Dismissed
- Not Criminally Responsible by Reason of Mental Disorder
- All record suspensions as authorized for release by the Minister of Public Safety
Fees must be remitted to Hamilton Police Service at the time of request. We accept cash, debit or credit card payments. No personal cheques.
Note: Screening results not picked up in 90 days will be purged - no refunds issued.
Fees are non-Refundable.
- Criminal Record Check - Employment $50.00
- Criminal Record Check -Volunteer No Cost
- Criminal Record & Judicial Matter Check - Employment $50.00
- Criminal Record & Judicial Matter Check - Volunteer/Student No Cost
- Vulnerable Sector Check - Employment $50.00
- Vulnerable Sector Check - Volunteer/Student $25.00
- Vulnerable Sector Check - School Crossing Guards $25.00
- Police Checks - Extra Embossed Original Copies $5.00+HST
- Fingerprinting Vulnerable Sector - All Applicants $25.00
- Fingerprinting Submission - RCMP Fee for Vulnerable Sector Fingerprints student) * $25.00
- Civil Fingerprints (i.e Records Suspension,immigration,visa), includes $25 RCMP fee $65.00
- Criminal File Closure Requests $35.00
- Freedom of Information Application $5.00
- Motor Vehicle Collision (MVC) Report $50.00+HST
- Motor Vehicle Collision (MVC) Driver/Witness Statements $50.00+HST
- Night Listings Registry No Fee
- Police Incident Reports (Property Crimes) $50.00+HST
- Records Suspension Application - Local Records Check $50.00
How do I apply?
Before applying for an online police record check, applicants will require:
- Two pieces of government-issued identification that are not expired
- One piece of identification that includes a photograph
- Proof of residence in the City of Hamilton if applying for a Vulnerable Sector Check or Criminal Record and Judicial Matters Check
- VISA or Mastercard
Please note: Health cards and Social Insurance Number cards are not accepted. Requests for any level of police record check can be made only by the applicant. Third-party requests will not be accepted.
If fingerprints have been taken in the past or it is discovered that fingerprints are necessary for any reason, the online process will stop and the applicant will be asked to Central Station at 155 King William St. to complete the application.
Apply In Person
You can apply in person at the Records Business Centre located at:
155 King William Street
Fill out the Police Record Check Form, bring Acceptable Identificationand pay the application fee.
Completed search results may be mailed or picked up at the Records Business Centre.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a police record check?
A police record check (alternatively known as a screening or background check) contains information the police have on file pertaining to an individual or confirmation that a search reveals no such information. Depending on the level of check this may include, but is not limited to, a record of convictions for criminal offences across Canada, outstanding charges before the courts, current judicial orders that are in effect (such as peace bonds, prohibitions or probation orders). Some people have absolutely no such information, while others may have some or all of these categories.
In releasing information, the police take no position on the suitability of the applicant, and will not offer any comment or opinion. It is entirely at the discretion of the employer as to whether or not the applicant may be considered for the position.
What kind of police check do I need?
The agency or employer should let you know which type of check you need based on the position you are applying for within the organization. Please note that Vulnerable Sector (VS) checks can only be conducted in very specific circumstances. If you believe you need a VS check, you will be required to provide the police with the following information:
- A description of the position
- The name of the organization to which you are applying
- Details regarding the children or vulnerable persons with whom you will have contact
The police service will use this information to determine if the position meets the legal requirements to conduct a VS check. If the position does not meet the requirements, it will not be processed. It is illegal for a police service to conduct a VS check if the requirements are not met.
The main requirement for a VS check is where the applicant will be working in a position of trust or authority with vulnerable persons. This is created when an individual's relationship with someone else has any of the following characteristics:
- Decision-making power
- Unsupervised access
- Closeness inherent in the relationship
- Personal nature of the activity itself
A 'vulnerable person’ is generally defined as children under 18-years-old, the elderly, or any person who, by nature of a physical, emotional or psychological condition, is dependent on other persons for care and assistance with day-to-day living.
Someone working in an environment where they may have passing or incidental contact with vulnerable persons such as a receptionist, maintenance worker, kitchen worker or in an administrative role would not usually qualify for a VS check.
Public Safety Canada offers valuable information to assist agencies and employers on hiring employees and volunteers, including guidance on which level of police check is most appropriate based on the position, and how to determine screening requirements. Their Screening Handbook is an excellent resource and reference document.
Do I need a police check to get a job?
Not necessarily. We advise employers to use a police check as one of the last steps in the employment process, after they've reviewed the applicant’s information, conducted interviews and checked references.
You may be asked to provide one by the agency/employer to which you are applying. Our role is limited to providing a report with any potentially relevant information held in police databanks.
I am under 18-years-old. Can I get a police check?
Hamilton Police Service does not offer police checks for persons under 18-years-old unless the applicant requires one for a paid or volunteer position with a government employer (federal, provincial or municipal).
Also be advised that in accordance with RCMP policy, persons under 18 may not apply for a Vulnerable Sector (VS) screening check. Due to the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, an individual sentenced for an offence as a Young Person does not have to apply for a record suspension (Pardon), since all records are destroyed or archived once all applicable time periods have elapsed.
As well, persons under the age of 25 are highly unlikely to have any information for which a VS screening check is required. Our recommendation is that the employer considers a Criminal Record & Judicial Matters Check which is just as comprehensive. However, we will process VS checks for applicants between the ages of 18-25 if requested, and if eligible.
I am attending post-secondary school and living in Hamilton as a student. Can I get a screening check done here?
If you live in another jurisdiction and still retain your permanent address there, you are advised to obtain a screening check from that police service. We will accept your screening application if you are able to provide documents proving you are registered as a student in a Hamilton educational institution. This would include a current student card, as well as documents showing your local address such as a rental or lease agreement.
I am beginning my job search. Should I obtain my police check in advance?
We do not recommend it. First, you might obtain the wrong type of check and then have to apply for a new one at additional cost. As well, most employers will want a recent police check. If you do one in advance, it might not be accepted depending on when it was originally completed.
How long is a police check valid? Is there an expiry date?
Police records checks are only valid on the day they are issued since information can change from day-to-day. The expiry date is determined by the employer. Some employers may accept a police check that is three to six months old, while others may require a new one.
Since a person can be clear of charges or criminal activity today but could be arrested and charged tomorrow, we offer no guarantees on the validity of a police check beyond the actual date on which the search was conducted. As well, not all criminal convictions are reported to the RCMP, and more recent dispositions may not be updated on their system at the time a check is conducted.
Note that Vulnerable Sector screening checks are only valid for the specific employer/position for which it was conducted, and are not likely to be accepted by another employer.
What if I choose the wrong type of police check?
We stress that you make your choice carefully as we do not provide refunds or exchanges once we have completed your check. If you are in doubt, the agency/employer should be able to tell you which one is required for the position.
What if I have a criminal record? Will this automatically bar me from getting a job?
The employer must find information from a police check relevant to the job they are offering. The Ontario Human Rights Code states that a person cannot be discriminated against based on, among other things, a 'record of offences'.
Obviously some jobs - such as Police or Corrections Officer - will require the person to be free of convictions and have nothing in their history that might call their integrity into question. A person seeking a job at a financial institution will not likely be successful if they have convictions for theft, fraud or other crimes of dishonesty. However, a criminal record may not necessarily bar a person from obtaining employment or a volunteer position. The employer must show how that record is relevant to the position being offered - a bona fide reason for refusal.
Am I able to obtain a police check from any police service?
Most police services, including Hamilton, will only conduct Criminal Records Checks (CRC) or Criminal Record & Judicial Matters Checks (CRJMC) for local residents, although some may extend this to persons living outside their communities, as long as they reside in Canada.
However, Vulnerable Sector Checks (VS) must be conducted by the police of local jurisdiction, in accordance with the Ministerial Directive Concerning the Release of Criminal Record Information by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Why must I be fingerprinted for a Vulnerable Sector check?
If your name, birthdate and gender (or just your birthdate and gender) resulted in a possible match to a pardoned offender record for sexual offences, your fingerprints must be taken for comparison and elimination purposes.
What if I have already been fingerprinted before for a prior Vulnerable Sector check?
As with all fingerprints collected for civil (non-criminal) purposes, they are only retained in the RCMP system for 120 days. If you have been fingerprinted before for purposes such as military, security clearance, etc., those prints cannot be re-purposed for a Vulnerable Sector check. It is highly unlikely the prints were queried against the pardoned offenders’ database at the time, as it requires (a) a justifiable purpose for the query, and (b) written consent by the applicant to have their prints queried against this specific databank. Therefore, in most cases you will have to submit new prints each time you require a Vulnerable Sector check.
What are police contacts on a police vulnerable sector check?
Police contacts are incidents where a person has been investigated for a crime but charges were never laid or where charges were laid but did not result in a conviction. Although not a criminal record, there can be situations where a person has had contact with the police that might cause an employer to ask additional questions or seek further references. This type of information will only be released on a Police Vulnerable Sector Check if it meets the Exceptional Disclosure Assessment.
The disclosure of these types of contacts does not imply the subject is guilty of any crime or even has a criminal record. This information may or may not be relevant to an employer for the position being offered. The determination on relevance is up to the employer. Our role is limited to completing the record check request. We offer no opinion or comment on a person's suitability, and we do not undertake any discussions with an employer regarding specific individuals. All information in this process is released directly to the applicant. We do not disclose any information to employers or other persons.
What is the Exceptional Disclosure Assessment?
In exceptional circumstances, police contact or non-conviction records may be considered for release on a Police Vulnerable Sector Check. There may be specific, exceptional cases where the existence of these types of records gives rise to a concrete and compelling concern for the safety of vulnerable persons.
The disclosure is based on the Police Services Act, Disclosure of Personal Information Regulation 265/98 rather than the applicant’s consent. All information in this process is released directly to the applicant. We do not disclose any information to employers or other persons.
I have police contact information I feel may hinder my chances of getting a job. What is the process to get something removed from my police check?
You have the option of appealing the release of certain information through our reconsideration process. This relates only to non-conviction police contact information released under the Exceptional Disclosure Assessment. Criminal convictions are always released and cannot be appealed.
You must submit your request in writing within 60 days of the police check’s completion and provide the reasons why you feel the information should not be included.
Requests should be submitted to:
Hamilton Police Service
Records Business Centre
Attention: Records Supervisor
155 King William St
Hamilton, ON L8N 4C1
You will be informed in writing of the final decision and will be provided with a general reason for acceptance or denial.
Please note that removal of any information will only be done if there is a substantive reason to support it.
What if I have had past contacts with police involving mental health incidents?
This information is not authorized for release within any level of police screening check.
Is there a difference between a screening check from my local police service and a check offered by a third-party company?
There are differences between a screening check by Hamilton Police and those offered by third-party providers. For more information, click here.
Do you release information on my driving history, including speeding tickets and other infractions?
We do not disclose any non-criminal driving offences. If the job you are applying for requires proof of a clear driving record, you can obtain your Driver's Abstract from the Ministry of Transportation. However, we will disclose any driving offences under the Criminal Code, such as Impaired Driving, Dangerous Driving, Criminal Negligence, as well as the disposition.
Why does it take so long to get my check done?
On average, we process over 30,000 police screening check requests each year for various employers, as well as school boards and minor sporting leagues. Each one must be queried, the results analyzed, and in the case of potential police contacts, reports must be reviewed individually. If you've resided at an address outside Hamilton in recent years, we must also contact that police service to conduct a query of their local records. All of this takes time and resources. While we can usually complete your police check well within the stated timeframes, there may be occasions where information is delayed or requires further confirmation.
Can I get my police check done any faster?
Police checks are completed on a first-come, first-serve basis. We appreciate that everyone would like their check completed as quickly as possible, and we strive to minimize the turnaround time as best we can.
What if I don’t disclose all the pages of my police check or alter the information prior to showing it to my employer?
Hamilton Police Service applies a security seal to certify documents as original and includes the number of pages to ensure all available information is properly released. Deliberately altering the results of a police check is a Criminal Code offence and charges could be laid.
Agencies or employers with questions regarding the validity of the document can contact us.
Although we will not discuss the content of a person's police check due to privacy reasons, we will confirm the number of pages originally released, and advise whether or not a document may have been altered.
I don’t live in Hamilton or reside outside Canada. How can I get a screening check?
Hamilton Police Service provides screening checks only for Hamilton residents. Note that Vulnerable Sector Checks can only be done for Canadian residents residing and employed in Canada. As per RCMP directives, police services cannot conduct Vulnerable Sector screening for citizens living and working outside Canada, even if the employer is a Canadian firm.
If you reside outside Canada, you can obtain a certified criminal records check by submitting fingerprints directly to the RCMP. Note that this only contains information relevant to criminal convictions, if any. It does not include police contact information, nor a search of the pardoned database. More information is available on the RCMP website.
I am undergoing a legal name change. Can I submit my police check for a name change using your online police check process?
No. Individuals that are required to provide a police record check with the Name Change application must apply directly with the Service.
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