News Release Archive

Volunteer agencies will be able to obtain a criminal record check
of some volunteer applicants under a new screening protocol
announced today by Justice Minister Alan Mitchell.

"We must take every precaution to protect our children and those
who depend upon us most," said Mr. Mitchell. "This protocol will
make a positive difference in offering that protection."

The new process, aimed at volunteers working with children and
other vulnerable populations, will require organizations to enter
into a memorandum of understanding with the police agency serving
their area. The dialogue between the volunteer organization and
the police regarding the memorandum will be an opportunity to
discuss obligations and expectations.

Where appropriate, a volunteer applicant will be required to
present a form to police, which will then conduct a Canadian
Police Information Centre check to determine whether the
applicant has a record of criminal convictions. The completed
form will be sealed and returned to the applicant for submission
to the volunteer organization.

"The police records check is only one aspect of the screening
process, but it is a very important aspect, where a volunteer
will be working in a position of trust with a vulnerable person,"
said Joanne Thomsen, co-ordinator of the Volunteer Resource
Centre. "We are very pleased with the development of this

The protocol was developed by the Department of Justice in
partnership with the Volunteer Resource Centre and police
agencies in Nova Scotia.

"This is really about prevention, and working in partnership with
the community," said Chief Vince MacDonald of the Halifax
Regional Police.

Added RCMP Chief Supt. Dwight Bishop, commanding officer of H
Division: "As National Volunteer Week is celebrated, we can also
celebrate this protocol as an example of community policing
really working well."

Volunteer organizations will develop a screening process that
includes a definition of which volunteer positions require a
criminal record check, when the check should be conducted, and
what information will result in refusing the services of a

A nominal fee (generally $10) may be charged to cover the
administrative costs of the program. The volunteer agency can
request a fee waiver.

The Department of Justice will review the protocol in six months
with the Volunteer Resource Centre and police agencies to gauge
its effectiveness and efficiency.


Contact: Michele McKinnon  902-424-6811

         Joanne Thomsen    902-423-1368

trp                        Apr. 14, 1997 - 9:08 a.m.