Most volunteer organizations or charitable organizations now require a criminal background check for all volunteers.
If you have been convicted for a criminal offence or even if you have been charged and fingerprinted then you may not be able to get the volunteer position. Even if your charges were dismissed, withdrawn, stayed, peace bond, or absolute discharge or conditional discharge.
We receive calls from parents wanting to volunteer at their children’s school and one spouse has an old petty theft offence from years past and they can’t pass a criminal background check. They are devastated that something so old is coming back to haunt them and prevent them from volunteering at their child’s school. It is embarassing and disappointing to learn that a past criminal offence is getting in the way of their lives.
Once a pardon or record suspension is granted, the criminal offence will no longer show up on a criminal background check and you will be safe to volunteer. An exception is if you have been placed on the vulnerable sector list, then even once a pardon is granted, your name will still show up on that database and you may not be able to volunteer for positions involving youth or the elderly. There may be an opportunity to remove your name from the vulnerable sector depending on your specific situation which you can discuss with one of our counsellors.
Here is a recent article in the CBC showing how volunteer positions in Ottawa require a criminal background check which now must be paid by the volunteer: