Fingerprinting for federal contractors comes into effect in Canada
01 February 2017 15:50 GMT

Contractors taking on work with Canada’s federal government will have to submit their fingerprints electronically to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as of 1 February for criminal record checks.

Public Services and Procurement Canada has said it needs to make the change because the RCMP is ending its old practice of checking criminal history using a person's name.

PWGSC says the fingerprinting will help “eliminate the chances of mistaken identity resulting from variant spellings of names, common surnames, the use of nicknames and name changes.”  The RCMP already uses fingerprinting checks for employees of most government departments.

A pilot began on October 3 for approximately one month, and it’s expected that the mandatory fingerprinting system will be fully implemented after December 1, 2016, although a firm date is not set yet.

Handled under PWGSC’s Contract Security Program, the new process will involve the applicant going to a service provider to have their fingerprint taken. A confirmation will have to be submitted with the employee’s personnel screening form.

The RCMP has now has the technology to handle criminal background checks using the quicker, more accurate, fingerprint method. The new rules apply to all levels of clearance, from the basic "reliability status" to "top secret."