Agency wondering about new criminal record legislation

'For us, the hindrance is that we require an original copy of the criminal record checks'

Kamloops Daily News
February 23, 2013 01:00 AM

Proposed legislation that would let non-profit agencies share their volunteers' criminal record check information was welcomed by the executive director of the Kamloops Big Brothers Big Sisters branch Friday.

Terry Axani said sharing information would make it easier for those who help out at multiple agencies.

The new legislation would also allow those who agree to share information to get the volunteer criminal record checks free of charge. Axani said her agency doesn't pay for volunteers now, but does have to come up with the $40 per check for its staff, including part-timers or summer students.

Big Brothers Big Sisters runs about 20 staff checks each year, while volunteers amount to 200 to 300 a year.

Earlier this week, B.C.'s Justice Minister Shirley Bond said she would introduce legislation that would allow agencies dealing with children and vulnerable adults who signed agreements to share criminal record checks on their volunteers.

The provincial program falls under the Criminal Records Review Act. Organizations that opt into the program would get access to its adjudication process.

Axani wondered how the information sharing would work out when typically, only one original criminal check document is provided with each request. For volunteers who help in multiple agencies, that could be a problem.

"For us, the hindrance is that we require an original copy of the criminal record checks," she said.

Photocopies aren't allowed with her agency, and several others she knows of - Boy Scouts, Rotary and others - are the same.

Volunteers who do in-school mentoring during the school year and help out in mental health or other areas in the summer have to have two separate checks done now, she said.

Axani didn't have any details about Bond's proposed legislation, but said the Big Brothers Big Sisters president is coming in next week and there's a meeting set up with provincial MLAs.

"We can ask them for further clarification," she said.

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