February 18th, 2021 | Chuck Walker, Senior Advisor of Public Safety Information Management

What Type of Criminal Record Check Should You Run?

One of the questions I am often asked is the difference between the Canadian Criminal Record Check (CCRC) vs. what Sterling Backcheck  refers to as the Enhanced Police Information Check (EPIC). When does an organization need to conduct one vs. the other? The answer lies in understanding the difference between the two and then deciding what your organization requires.

The Canadian Criminal Record Check (CCRC) – a search for Criminal Records

Determining whether a person has a Criminal Record is the basis for CCRC.  The Criminal Record in Canada refers to a fingerprint-based compilation of one or more criminal convictions in the National Repository administered by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. All entries on the Criminal Record are supported by the submission of fingerprints lawfully obtained pursuant to the Identification of Criminals Act.

The National Repository incorporates a Criminal Name Index (CNI) to enable name-based searches of Criminal Records by police services. Sterling Backcheck works with its Police Partner Agencies in accordance with federal policy to provide the CCRC service to our clients.  Individuals who have a Criminal Record will have been fingerprinted in relation to every indictable offence they were charged with and for which a conviction was subsequently rendered by the courts[i].

The Enhanced Police Information Check (EPIC) – a search for Criminal Records, criminal convictions and judicial matters

The EPIC service is based on the CCRC service but also extends to include searches that may uncover criminal convictions that did not establish a Criminal Record or that may be in addition to a Criminal Record. Such convictions occur when police cannot lawfully take fingerprints pursuant to the Identification of Criminals Act, have omitted to do so, or have missed the opportunity to do so[ii].

Beyond Criminal Records and criminal convictions, EPIC discovers judicial matters that may be active. These may include pending criminal charges, the interim release conditions, or the arrest warrants associated to those charges. Other judicial matters that may be found include post-sentencing outcomes such as prohibition orders, terms of probation and non-conviction outcomes concerning criminal restraining orders (peace bonds), or absolute and conditional discharges that may be lawfully disclosed.

CCRC or EPIC – Choosing a service

So, how do you choose?  Organizations should examine their risk tolerance when choosing which service to use. If knowing whether a Canadian Criminal Record exists is deemed adequate for your organization, the CCRC service is the appropriate choice. If it is determined that criminal convictions not forming part of a Criminal Record must be discovered or if establishing whether there may be active judicial matters is deemed necessary, the EPIC service is the appropriate choice.

Still have questions? Contact us for more information.

[i] An offence punishable on summary conviction may also be included if it may be prosecuted as an indictable offence. These are known as hybrid offences and they are treated by the police as indictable offences when determining the authority for taking fingerprints. Hybrids comprise many offences in the Criminal Code.

[ii] The Identification of Criminals Act does not prescribe a duty to take fingerprints. Local arrest and booking procedures, charge approval authorities and the Crown’s discretion to elect to proceed by way of indictment or summarily in the case of hybrid offences, are all factors creating criminal convictions that may not form a Criminal Record or an entry thereof.

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.