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Fort St. John
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Tel: 250-787-7100
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Criminal checks now taking up to 6 months

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Changes last year mean that if your gender and birthday match that of a pardoned sex offender, your name is flagged and fingerprints are required to finish the check.

The federal government realized in 2010 that if a pardoned sex offender changes their name, they could avoid being linked to their offence. This has increased the processing time greatly.

Sgt. Steve Perret of the Fort St. John RCMP detachment says criminal checks normally used to take around 48 hours. With the new Vulnerable Sector Check, if your gender and birthday matches, the RCMP website says it could take more than 120 days to process. In Perret's experience, it takes at least six months.

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Perret says that for males aged 18-55 there is over a 50 per cent chance that fingerprints will be required.

This is causing problems for local businesses and non-profit organizations. Len Aylward of Teco Taxi says that as of tomorrow, October 1, he will have less drivers on the road.

Taxi drivers must apply for their Chauffeur's Permits annually. It used to take a couple days, but some of his employees still haven't heard back from applications submitted in April.

As winter quickly approaches, taxis will be in further demand, causing "tremendous stress" for Mr. Aylward. His drivers are also no longer able to apply for temporary permits for the same reason.

He suggests government either rescind the need for Chauffeur's Permits, or change the system so they are valid for three to five years instead of one. For now Perret recommends taxi drivers immediately reapply for next year's permit as soon as they are issued their current one.

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Author

Erica Fisher

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and energeticcity.ca in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

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