Police certificates show Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that an immigration applicant is eligible to enter Canada. A clean criminal record check is necessary for many professions, volunteer positions, educational opportunities, and even some types of travel visas. These certificates are more commonly known as police clearance certificates. They are used to ascertain whether an applicant has a criminal history or constitutes a security danger to Canada.

Understanding Police Clearance Certificates

A police certificate is a document that informs authorities about an individual’s criminal history. It is used to evaluate applicants for citizenship and permanent residence in Canada. Depending on the nation from which they are obtained, these certificates may be referred to by different titles, such as judicial record extracts or police clearance certificates. They’re even known as good conduct certificates in some countries. Regardless of the name, they are required as supporting documents in all permanent residency applications and are occasionally asked for by IRCC in other instances. 

The Types of Police Clearance Certificates

In Canada, criminal records can be obtained through a number of ways, each with a distinct function and degree of information:

  • Criminal Record Check: This is the most basic type of criminal background check. It looks up any convictions related to the person’s name and birthdate in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) database.
  • Vulnerable Sector Check: Volunteers and employees who work or volunteer with vulnerable groups, such as children, the elderly, or people with disabilities, must complete this thorough check. It involves looking further into local police records and any pardoned sexual offences.
  • Certified Criminal Record Check: This kind of check offers a thorough report on a person’s criminal history and is based on fingerprint analysis. Applications for immigration, adoption, and visas often call for it.
  • Police Information Check: Also referred to as a Police Certificate, this check comprises a search for records of convictions and non-convictions as well as other pertinent police data. For volunteer or employment roles where a greater degree of scrutiny is required, it is usually a must.

The Role Played in Canadian Immigration

Police certificates are required for most work permit applications and permanent residency applications. Applications for work permits, study permits, and visitor visas are not always dependent on them, but Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada may ask for them in specific circumstances. Depending on the program they are applying to, primary immigration candidates and family members over the age of 18 may be required to provide police certifications.

Police Clearance Certificates are essential in many fields since they guarantee people’s personal and public safety. PCCs are particularly important in the following areas:

  • Employment: In order to be considered for positions of trust or those involving financial responsibility, access to sensitive information, or engagement with vulnerable populations, many companies require a PCC on employment applications. Possessing no criminal record can greatly improve one’s chances of finding work.
  • Volunteer Work: Volunteers are frequently asked to provide a PCC by organizations that work with vulnerable groups, such as schools, hospitals, and nonprofits. This helps guarantee that the people volunteers are assisting are not put in danger.
  • Citizenship and Immigration: People who are applying to Canada for citizenship, permanent residency, or immigration may need to submit a PCC from each of their previous countries of residence, including their native country. This aids in the evaluation of the applicant’s suitability for admission or residency by Canadian immigration officials.
  • Foster Care and Adoption: To make sure they are qualified to care for children, prospective adoptive parents and foster caregivers must go through a rigorous background investigation, which includes a PCC. This contributes to safeguarding the wellbeing and security of the kids entrusted to their care.
  • Visas and Travel: A PCC may be required by certain nations throughout the visa application process, especially for extended stays, employment visas, or resident permits. This aids in evaluating the applicant’s personality and any risk for the host nation.
  • Grants of Licenses: Verification of criminal history may be required for some professional licenses, such as those held by security guards, private investigators, and cab and truck drivers.
  • Additional Typical Causes: A certificate may be required for name changes, applications for rental accommodation, entry to certain federal government employment and facilities, and other legal procedures.

Getting a Police Clearance Certificate in Canada

Although it varies by location, the stages involved in acquiring a Police Clearance Certificate are as follows:

  • Choose the police service jurisdiction from which the certificate is required. Usually, it’s the police department serving the municipality in which you now reside.
  • For information on the application procedure and particular requirements for criminal record checks, visit the police department’s website or main office. These days, most include online request forms.
  • Provide essential details such as your full name, birthdate, previous addresses, and the reason you need the certificate. A valid ID is necessary.
  • Pay the processing charge, which is $75+ for a fingerprint-based check and $25–$65 for a name-based check.
  • Agree to a name-based search of the CPIC database for criminal records. Fingerprints or other screening may occasionally be required.
  • Await the police service’s processing of your request. If fingerprint verification is required, it could take up to 120 days. It usually takes 5 to 15 working days.
  • You can have the completed Police Clearance Certificate mailed to you or pick it up at the police station. It has a predetermined validity span of three to six months.


Many avenues for work, education, volunteer work, vacation, and other opportunities in Canada can be unlocked with a clean police clearance certificate. Knowing the steps and prerequisites will help you get this crucial certification quickly when you need it. Remember that any arrests, convictions, or charges related to criminal activity—even those from childhood—will probably show up on the certificate. Therefore, it’s imperative that you be truthful while revealing your background.

Applicants must be aware of the precise rules and guidelines pertaining to police certificates to properly and efficiently navigate the Canadian immigration system. For individualized advice and help with your immigration program, make an appointment with Ronen Kurzfeld and benefit from his experience and expertise.