New criminal record check requirements at MLS creating nuisance and confusion
By John Q. Duffy
The process to obtain a Criminal record background check required by Municipal Licensing and Standards and other municipal jurisdictions has changed.
All For Hire Vehicle licensees in Toronto had to comply with the new standards as of November 1st, including drivers working with Private Transportation Companies, at least as far as the Toronto Police Service conducting these searches is concerned.
There are now three levels of check: A Criminal Record check, a Criminal Record and Judicial Matters check and Vulnerable Sector Screening.
Criminal Record Checks will disclose only criminal convictions.
Criminal Record and Judicial Matters checks disclose criminal convictions and charges before the courts.
Vulnerable Sector Screening discloses criminal convictions, findings of guilt under the Youth Criminal Justice Act within the applicable disclosure period, outstanding entries, such as charges and warrants, judicial orders, peace bonds, probation and prohibition orders, absolute and conditional discharges, charges that resulted in a finding of not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder, pardoned offences and, non-conviction information authorized through Exceptional Disclosure.
For Hire Vehicle drivers have to submit the middle level Criminal Record and Judicial Matters check for both new applications and licence renewals.
The Province’s Police Record Checks Reform Act came into effect November 1st, 2018. After this date, according to the MLS web site, MLS requires “Criminal Record and Judicial Matters Checks” for all applications and renewals. “Criminal Record Checks” will not be accepted.
When submitting a new application for a business licence, an original Criminal Record and Judicial Matters Check obtained directly through a Canadian Police Service is mandatory and must be submitted prior to the licence being issued. It must be updated every four years. Copies of these checks will not be accepted.
Checks completed by a third party agency will not be accepted. As well, only checks with an issue date no greater than 280 days in the past are allowed.
It is unclear at this time whether this also applies to Private Transportation Company licensees. Typically these service providers are supposed to provide written permission to the company to obtain and distribute these checks as required. It is also unclear if MLS or other regulators retain copies of these checks and required permissions, or monitors these driver records in any way.
A Criminal Records and Judicial Matters Background Check can be obtained from a Canadian Police Service at one the following locations. Please check with each police service website or call to determine specific application requirements.
You can apply for a Criminal Record and Judicial Matters check in person at the Toronto Police Service Customer Service Centre, 40
College Street, Toronto. Phone: 416-808-8240.
The cost is $20. At this point 40 College St is the only location where these applications are accepted.
An on line application process should be working for Toronto in the first quarter of the new year.
If fingerprints are required, Toronto residents applying for these checks must go through the RCMP process. TPS will not take fingerprints for civil matters such as license applications.
TPS requires fingerprints from applicants if there is a criminal record or even possible common name and birthdate confusion. When confirmation of your identity is received from the RCMP, attach the results to the application and return it to the Toronto Police Service, 40 College Street, Toronto, ON M5G 2J3, Attention: Police Reference Check Program.
Karen Barrett, a group leader with TPS dealing with adapting to these changes, did say police reached out to MLS when confronted by people who did not know of the changes and obtained the lower level Criminal Record check. These people had to go through the process all over again when they found they had to have the Criminal Record and Judicial Matters level check.
Police asked MLS to correct misinformation on its web site, Barrett said, and this was done.
Barrett also said police are aware of potential parking problems near this building and can only suggest applicants use legal on-street or paid parking lots nearby.
She directed applicants to both the TPS and RCMP web sites to familiarize themselves with the new requirements.
Ideally in Toronto Barrett said it will take from 10 to 13 days to process these requests.
Additionally, Barrett stated the TPS has no agreements with third party background check providers, so all drivers working with Private Transportation companies like Uber and Lyft must individually go through the same background check process as taxi drivers.
York Regional Police will provide Criminal Record and Judicial Matters Checks for residents of York Region only. We have confirmed York Region residents only can apply for a Criminal Record and Judicial Matters Check in person at York Regional Police Community Resource Centre, 10720 Yonge St, Unit 112, Richmond Hill, ON L4C 3C9. Elgin Mills Centre. Phone: 1-866-876-5423 ext. 7655. Website: www.yrp.ca.
Durham Police will provide Criminal Record and Judicial Matters Checks for residents and accredited students of the Durham region only. You may go to any police station within the Durham Region. Phone: 905-579-1520 ext. 4104 or ext: 4105. Website: www.drps.ca.
Only in-person applications are accepted. Two pieces of ID are required, at least one government issued. Checks will be mailed to applicants when available, which could be several weeks.
Peel Police have advised that they will provide Criminal Record and Judicial Matters checks for residents of Brampton or Mississauga only at 7750 Hurontario Street, Brampton, ON L6V 3W6. Sir Robert Peel Centre. Phone: (905) 453-2121 ext: 4338. Website: www.peelpolice.on.ca.
The cost without fingerprinting is $33. If fingerprints are required it is an additional $52. They need government issued photo ID. Peel is in the process of developing an on line application process but it is not yet operational.
So, Toronto residents can no longer apply for background checks in York, Durham or Peel. It is unclear, but probable, that farther distant police agencies have the same policy, so it is advisable for applicants to call specific jurisdictions before making long trips.
MLS staff told Taxi News no one was available to comment on apparent inconsistencies in implementation of the revised background check process saying they were “swamped.”
Further clarification of MLS policies may be available for the next issue of the paper.
The link to the Toronto Police Service web site is: https://torontopolice.on.ca/background-checks/criminal-record-judicial-matters-check-process.php.