Slow fingerprint checks cost Canadians work opportunities

August 3, 2012 - 

Civil fingerprint checks are costing jobless Canadian citizens a chance to work. The system is so backed up that a person applying for a personal security check must wait a few weeks or a few months for papers to clear. Many companies, especially government agencies, require some form of security clearance before making a formal offer of employment.

After the events of 9/11, security has been tight. A personal security check is required for most job applications even if these are fixed term contracts or assignments that only run for a specific number of months. Job applicants often miss the opportunity as they are required to submit a personal security check and these often arrive long after the offer has lapsed.

Chuck Walker, Director General of Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), says that civil fingerprint checks are booming and the agency was able to process 350,000 applications last year. In an effort to speed up the process, the agency has switched to electronic filing instead of the paper applications. They have also enlisted some private firms with the same capabilities to help process the applications.

An average of 95 percent of all applications are processed without a hitch and these are mostly job, travel visa and adoption applications. The remaining five percent however, experience delays due to verification of changes to personal information such as name, marital status, civil status and the like. Name changes are those that take the longest, as they need to go through the provincial ministry.

Is getting more private firms involved in the fingerprinting business a good move for the government?

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About Arizona Mosley

Arizona Mosley writes full time for She is currently completing her Master's Degree in Public Governance at West Visayas State University. Follow her @Arizonamosley.