FAQs

The Ottawa Police Service continues to provide record checks to active residents of Ottawa as we progress through the COVID-19 pandemic. All applications are to be submitted online by clicking on the following link https://olbc.ottawapolice.ca/.

If you are not an active resident of Ottawa you will need to apply with your local police service.

If your application indicates that you are required to attend in-person to complete your records check, click CONTINUE, attempt to submit payment and finalize your application to submit it online. Do not abandon your application as it will not be received, and we will be unable to schedule your appointment to complete the necessary in-person component of your records check.

When you are required to attend in person please ensure that you bring two (2) pieces of valid identification. 2 valid pieces of identification are mandatory to complete your online Records Check. Both pieces of identification must include your name and your date of birth; one must have a photo and one must reflect your current Ottawa address as listed on your online Records Check request.

If your driver’s licence does not have your current Ottawa address you may bring a third piece of documentation that includes your name and your current Ottawa address such as a recent (2 months or less): utility or telecommunications bill, bank or credit card statement, original signed lease agreement/ housing agreement from a recognized secondary/post-secondary learning institution, paystub, insurance policy or any form of registered mail from an independent third party. Hand written mail/mail with no formal letterhead/branding will not be accepted.

If you do not have a driver’s license you are still required to bring (2) valid pieces of identification. Both must reflect your name and date of birth; one must have a photo and you may bring a third piece of documentation that includes your name and your current Ottawa address such as a recent (2 months or less): utility or telecommunications bill, bank or credit card statement, original signed lease agreement/ housing agreement from a recognized secondary/post-secondary learning institution, paystub, insurance policy or any form of registered mail from an independent third party. Hand written mail/mail with no formal letterhead/branding will not be accepted.

If any of the above mandatory requirements are not satisfied, the Ottawa Police Service reserves the right to terminate the appointment without completing the online record check. There will be no exceptions made. Ontario photo Health Cards cannot be requested by the Ottawa Police Service; however, the applicant may use this identification at their own discretion. 

Identification required to apply for a Records Check

All pieces of identification must contain your name and date of birth, cannot be expired and must be original documents or certified true copies. No photos or photocopies will be accepted.

Accepted Photo Identification (1 of your 2 pieces of identification must be from this list):

  • Driver's Licence
  • Passport 
  • Ontario Photo Card
  • Government Employment Card (that contains both your name and date of birth)
  • Military Employment Card (that contains both your name and date of birth)
  • Age of Majority Card
  • Canadian Citizenship Card (up-to-date)
  • Indian Status Card
  • International Student Identification Card (ISIC)
  • Permanent Resident Card
  • Possession and Acquisition License (PAL)

Accepted Non-Photo Identification (must contain both name and date of birth):

  • Birth Certificate
  • Baptismal Certificate
  • Hunting License
  • Fishing License
  • Outdoors Card
  • Hospital Card
  • Immigration Papers (Work permit, Study Permit, Refugee Claimant, etc)

Important Notice: Ontario Health Cards cannot be accepted for identification purposes (Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 section 34(4)).

What do I need to submit an application?

To submit your application online you will create an account and follow the steps on the website to submit your records check. If you have a bank account, credit history and the ability to pay online your application can be processed entirely online unless you are required to attend in person. This can occur if Equifax was unable to verify your identity using their Electronic Identity Verification (EIV) process. You will then be required to come in person and have your identification verified (see below). Applicants will also be required to attend in person if payment received when submitting the application or fingerprints are required to complete the records check.

As a volunteer, you will need an electronic, scanned or .pdf copy of the organization's capacity letter to attach to your application to receive the reduced/waived fee at the time of application.

Is my police record check for service with the Vulnerable Sector transferrable from one organization to another?

No, Vulnerable Sector screening checks are only valid for the specific employer/position for which it was conducted due to the potential Ministerial disclosure, and are not likely to be accepted by another Vulnerable Sector employer.

How long is a police check valid? Is there an expiry date?

Police records checks are a point in time search and only valid on the day they are issued, since information can change from day-to-day. The police service does not determine an expiry date; this is up to the agency/employer. Some might accept a police check that is 3-6 months old, while others may want a new one.


Since a person can be clear of charges or criminal activity today but could be arrested and charged tomorrow, we offer no guarantees on the validity of a police check beyond the actual date on which the search was conducted. As well, not all criminal convictions are reported to the RCMP, and more recent dispositions may not be updated on their system at the time a check is conducted.

Why is the Ottawa Police no longer completing  Background Checks for Gatineau residents as of January 1, 2020?

This is to conform to the Ministerial Directive that background checks are to be completed by the Police Service of jurisdiction where the applicant resides.  

Placements or co-op studies

The Background Clearance Section uses the definition from Volunteer Canada for the criteria of waiving the fees. 

Definition: A volunteer is a person who works for an organization without being paid, a person who voluntarily offers themselves for a service or undertaking, or a person who performs a service willingly and without pay.

For this reason, the Background Clearance Section charges for practicum/co-op placements since the applicant receives a credit towards program completion and in some circumstances gets remunerated for their placements as a form of compensation.  It is not viewed as a volunteer opportunity but a compulsory credit to complete their program requirement.

The OPS has never waived the fees with a letter for students completing placements or co-op studies. We also identified this category as an example of applicants requiring a police records check for employment purposes.

What do I need to know about Electronic Identification Verification?

To submit an application online, and in order to use the Electronic Identification Verification process, you are required to have a bank account and credit history. This is NOT a credit check.

Applicants whose identity cannot be verified electronically will be required to submit an application in person at 2670 Queensview Drive.

Following that, if you are still unsuccessful in your online Electronic Identity Verification check, you can visit us in person.

Before you get started online, you will need:

  • a computer with an internet browser and an email address
  • a bank account and credit history to complete the online Electronic Identity Verification process

The OPS uses Equifax, which uses your credit information to confirm your identity. If you are unsuccessful in your online Electronic Identity Verification check, you may still apply in person.

An electronic copy of your volunteer capacity letter (this may be scanned or attached as a .pdf)

If you are a volunteer, you will be asked to attach a scanned or .pdf version of your volunteer letter. It must clearly indicate the organization that you will be volunteering with, on organization letterhead and signed by the volunteer organization. Illegible or incomplete letters will be rejected and you will be notified that you must reapply.

How will I receive the results of my Records Check?

Results stemming from Record Check applications will be returned to you either via Email (Softcopy) or Paper (Hardcopy).

Email (Softcopy)

Regardless of whether the Record Check application was made Online or In-Person, the Ottawa Police Service now has the ability to return Record Check results to applicants via Email method.

Emailed Record Check results must remain electronic (no printing) in order for the authenticity and continuity of the Record Check to remain uncompromised. Printing the Record Check results renders the authenticity and continuity incomplete, and therefore the Ottawa Police Service will not recognize the results as valid and legitimate.

It is essential that applicants confirm with the Agency requesting the  Record Check, that the Agency is willing to accept and maintain the electronic copy of the Record Check on file in an electronic capacity as printing the Record Check results will cause the results to become illegitimate.

In order to view the Emailed softcopy results, you are required to have access to a program which can support .PDF formatted documents (i.e. Adobe Acrobat).

Paper (Hardcopy)

Additionally, regardless of whether the Record Check application was made Online or In-Person, the Ottawa Police Service can also return Record Check results to applicants via Paper method.

Paper Record Check results will be returned to the applicant either in-person at our 2670 Queensview Drive (Nepean) location or by mail depending if the applicant is required to attend in person to complete their application.

How many copies of my Records Check will I receive?
You will be provided with one (1) original copy of your Records Check in the format you have selected at the time of application.
How long does it take to get my Records Check back?
  • Online Record Check submissions (24-48 hours)*

Timelines are subject to a Monday-Friday work schedule and any requirement to contact other Police Services may add additional processing time. Processing timelines do not account for postage processing (if applicable). For additional information regarding postage processing, please refer to Canada Post.

The Ottawa Police Service Background Clearance Section strives to serve you in a timely manner. Please help us meet our timelines by filling out your online Record Check application accurately and carefully.

What can cause a delay in the process?
  • The Background Clearance Section must contact other police agencies to request local information of an applicant who has resided outside Ottawa in the last five years. We allow seven business days for the outside agency to respond to our inquiry.
  • If you have any outstanding matters before the courts with another police/law enforcement service. We allow 7 business days for the outside agency to respond to our inquiry.
  • If applications are received and are missing information, we attempt to contact the applicant by email. We are unable to process your records check until the information is received.
  • Applications with errors or omissions to the current address, such as missing apartment numbers, often end up being returned to the Ottawa Police Service by Canada Post. This results in delays to your service. 
Which form do I fill out for a Records Check?
There are three (3) types of Police Record checks. These include a (1) Criminal Record Check (CR), a (2) Criminal Record and Judicial Matters Check (CRJM), and (3) a Vulnerable Sector Check (VS). Which form you fill out depends on the organization requesting the Police Record Check, your status as an employee or a volunteer, and if you are working directly with vulnerable persons in a position of trust or authority and responsible for their wellbeing.
What is a Digital Signature and why is it so important?
Police Record Check results created and submitted online will be provided to you in an electronic format or mailed. The Digital Signature is a unique identifier and combination of personal information which certifies the .PDF as original and authentic.
Why do I need to authenticate myself each time I log in?
Your privacy is protected. Once your identity is verified, we will authenticate your identity each time you login.  A special authentication key is sent to you each time you want to log in. This special key changes every time. It allows us to confirm it is person with a known email address that is requesting access and not automated 'bot' or someone who does not have access to your email address.
How much does it cost? What forms of payment are accepted?

You may pay online with a major credit card (Visa, Master Card, American Express, and Debit). You may also pay in person by Debit or with a major credit card.

Fees depend on your status and location. You may confirm the current fees on our Fees and Payment Methods page.

No refunds will be issued for record checks that have already been processed. 

Outside of Canada
We no longer process Canadian Police Certificates for persons residing outside of Canada. Please refer to the RCMP for this service.
Hiring

The decision to engage or hire staff is not made by the Ottawa Police Service.

A Record Check is a valuable screening tool; however, it is not a substitute for appropriate hiring or screening practices and overall corporate due diligence. It is up to the individual organization to consider the information provided by the police or by the individual in question and to make appropriate decisions about whether the information should exclude someone from a particular position or participation in their program.

The responsibility lies entirely with representatives of the organization. The Ottawa Police Service makes no representation or warranty with respect to suitability or reliability of the individual. 

Where can I check the status of my online Records Check request?

In order to check the status of your Online Record Check Request you are required to login to the account originally created to submit your Record Check request.

How do I determine if the Records Check I've received is completed and authentic?

Hardcopy (Printed) Record Check result:

  1. Hardcopy Record Checks are sent by the Ottawa Police Service to the Record Check applicant's mailing address.

  2. Confirm the Record Check you have received is in fact your Record Check and that all information is accurate.

  3. In the result portion of the Record Check, there will be a box selected (in section 1, 2, 3). This is the result of the Record Check.

  4. There will also be an inkless imprint of the Ottawa Police Service. This inkless imprint can be felt on both sides of the hardcopy Record Check. This certifies the Record Check as authentic.

  5. Confirm that the "Date Completed" and "Cadre Number" fields are filled in.

 screenshot of records check result

Softcopy (E-Mail) Record Check result:

  1. Softcopy Record Checks are sent by the Ottawa Police Service to the Record Check applicant's email with a .pdf attachment.

  2. Using a pdf reader (ie. Adobe Acrobat), open the .pdf.

  3. Confirm the Record Check you have received is in fact your Record Check and that all information is accurate.

  4. At the top of the .pdf's first page you will see either (dependent on the type of software you are using):

    • "The file you have opened complies with the PDF/A standard and has been opened read-only to prevent modification"

screenshot of records check result

    • "Signed and all signatures are valid"

 screenshot of records check result5. In the result portion of the Record Check, there will be a box selected (in section 1, 2, 3). This is the result of the Record Check.

6. At the bottom of the page you will find the Digital Signature from the Ottawa Police Service.

screenshot of records check result

7. Select the "Click here to verify Digital Signature". This will open up the Signature Validation status. You will be able to see here that "The Document has not been modified since it was certified". This certifies that the Record Check is authentic.

screenshot of records check result       

8. Confirm that the "Date Completed" and "Cadre Number" fields are filled in. 

Fingerprinting

The Ottawa Police Service provides fingerprinting for the following services:

  • Adoptions
  • If the results of a records check completed by Ottawa Police Service indicate fingerprints must be submitted to complete the application.
  • All other fingerprinting services are provided by authorized third party fingerprinting agencies in the Ottawa/Gatineau region. This includes for government employment, immigration, record suspension applications, etc.

Helpful Links

Technical Questions

All questions relating to the Online Background Web Application will be directed to (i.e. difficulty logging in/online payment issues) Rogue Data Corporation:

  • Email 
  • Voicemail at (613) 693-0365

Emails and Voicemails will be responded to within 24 hours between 0900-1700 hours Monday-Friday (excluding Statutory Holidays)

All questions related to Background Clearance process, forms and all other questions will be directed to:

Background Clearance Section
Ottawa Police Service
P.O. Box 9634, Station T, 
Ottawa, Ontario, 
K1G 6H5

Questions about your Records Check-Contact Information

The Ottawa Police Service Background Clearance Section can be reached by:

Telephone at (613) 236-1222, extension 5485

Emails will be responded to within 1-2 business days between 0900-1700 hours Monday-Friday (excluding Statutory Holidays)

Voicemails will be responded to within 2 business days between 0900-1700 hours Monday-Friday (excluding Statutory Holidays)

Mailing address

Background Clearance Section

Ottawa Police Service

P.O. Box 9634, Station T 

Ottawa, Ontario, 

K1G 6H5