The Canadian Police Information Center is the only law enforcement networking computer system in Canada. This system which has been operational since 1972 ensures that officers across Canada have access to the same information. The system is maintained by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Each year there are approximately 3 million files generated – it is the responsibility of the originating agency, not the CPIC, to ensure the data integrity of each file. For comparison, in 2006 the latest year for which there are statistics, there were 2.45 Million crimes reported. That leaves 550 thousand files unaccounted for.
Why is this database relevant for Canadians? The increase in criminal background checks by employers and volunteer organization is sourced directly from this database. The RCMP, at the request of an employer releases any information about a person directly to the employer. Importantly, the database is not purely for criminal reports. As seen above, there are a huge number of cases logged into the database above and beyond the number of criminal reports.
What does this mean for Canadians? This means, that despite feeling confident about not having a police file, the possibility remains that the file does exists. Encounters with the police that are not of a criminal nature are also logged. Persons who are deemed to be of ‘special interest’ to the police, for example, are logged. These persons may have committed no crimes, having purely been a witness of compliant.
What options do Canadians have? Every Canadian should check to see whether they have a criminal record. This can be done quickly and cheaply through accredited service providers. If the criminal record search reveals the existence of a file there are several options. A Canadian Pardon which will have the record hidden from all future searches. Alternatively, if a file exists but no criminal conviction, a Police File Purge is a logical option. This will petition the RCMP to remove the file from the database permanently.
Having a clear police file is imperative for Canadians. Having an existing file hampering future opportunities is an unnecessary risk. Look into your file; ensure that there is nothing holding you back from your potential.
For Information on Travelling with a Criminal Record try this blog