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Police record checks will soon be free for volunteers in Ontario

Solicitor General Sylvia Jones announces the elimination of police check fees for volunteers at a news conference in Toronto on March 30, 2021. (CP24/ Kenneth Enlow)
Solicitor General Sylvia Jones announces the elimination of police check fees for volunteers at a news conference in Toronto on March 30, 2021. (CP24/ Kenneth Enlow)
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Ontario is eliminating the cost of police record checks for volunteers beginning on April 1.

Typically, police record checks, also known as background checks, cost about $25 and serve as a screening process for an individual applying for a volunteer position.

“Our government wants to make sure that everyone who wants to volunteer their time, skills and talents are able to do so. Taking fees out of the equation will make a real difference,” Solicitor General Sylvia Jones announced at a news conference in Toronto on Wednesday.

Starting next month, volunteers applying for criminal record checks and judicial matters checks will receive five copies for free to make the screening process more accessible, on top of the affordability factor.

“Twenty-five dollars was very likely not covering the cost of the police services doing the work anyway,” Jones said.

The fee will not be eliminated for students receiving an academic credit for their volunteer work.

The solicitor general confirmed that some local police departments in Ontario were already offering this service for free, but that decision was “inconsistent” across the province.

“Ensuring that people who want to volunteer don't have a fiscal financial barrier to do so overrides the inconsistency across Ontario in some police services offering for free, some charging, some taking longer for those police record checks to happen and therefore, delaying people to give back to their communities.” 

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