Monday, January 9, 2012

What the heck? I thought we lived in Canada - 'glorious and free'???

So today I found out something that has baffled me and befuddled me. I had no idea that when a person goes in for a criminal record check that includes a Vulnerable Sector search (for those who would be working with children, disabled, or elderly people), they can now be fingerprinted if their file is flagged - and it can take as much as 6 months to get paperwork back. What? I almost fainted.

Partial reasoning is that there are sex offenders out there who have received pardons and then can legally change their names. If you go in for a vulnerable sector check (govt requirement at my job every 3 years for example), and your birth date happens to match the DOB of a pardoned sex offender, your file will be flagged and you must agree to being fingerprinted in order to get your check done. WHAT? I repeat... WTF?

So here is a problem, one of many - you did not commit a crime but you are being fingerprinted in a police station because your birth date happens to match an offender. You cannot get your record check back until you agree. And then it can take anywhere from 11 weeks to 120 days (according to the rcmp and govt websites), or longer, to get it back.

And that links to another problem - what if your job requires you to have a valid active record check every 3 years (like mine) but you do not get it back in time..... at my job, I would not be permitted to be alone with a group of children for any amount of time until I got the record check back. That would cause serious issues because I work 6 hours a day largely with a group of children on my own! So ummmm... what would that mean for my job?

I have read many articles about this tonight and was shocked. There are people in all sorts of areas having trouble with this (you can google stuff about Graham James + volunteers and get many stories like this one http://www.globaltvbc.com/graham+james-sparked+fingerprint+screening+delays+volunteers/85533/story.html). Yeah, the chances are lower for people in my line of work because most tend to be women and there are far fewer women on the list than men. But it's the principal of the thing that bothers me. I have worked with young children since 1989 and have submitted to every criminal record check, vulnerable sector check, and children's services intervention check (oh wait, I didnt do that oe - more on that in a minute!) that has been required of me. My employer has spent several hundreds of dollars paying for these checks since she opened her center in the late 80s - and after all this time she too could be flagged. Now, she may be able to get an exception because she has had her same married name for almost 40 years and used that name for over 30 years of owning a center, but as of right now I cannot find any info on how to actually OBTAIN an exception. I saw it written somewhere that sometimes you can get an exception, but how you go about it, I have no idea.

I read another article about a dad in Moose Jaw SK that was unable to coach his son's soccer team because his file was flagged and it wasn't done in time for soccer season. I read about volunteers who were retirees and never required record checks when they were working, and their files were flagged so they did not get to do the volunteer services they wanted to do that year, etc. It just seems like we are always shooting ourselves in the foot! You hear an ad on the radio about your local homeless shelter desperately needing volunteers, and you go to the police station and get flagged for being born on a certain date, and then you end up not being able to help out for several months while you twiddle your thumbs and DID NOTHING WRONG in the first place. I don't get it. The govt issued pardons to these people and now the good ones are the ones who will be held up in the system because of it. Nice.

Now onto my earlier mention of the Child Welfare 'intervention' check. In 2009 I was on maternity leave and during the regular inspection, my boss and coworkers were informed that they now had to have a Child Welfare Check done every 3 years. This was not the same as a Vulnerable Record search, it was something they had to go to the Provincial Building and apply for and then pick up later. I looked at the forms when I returned to work and they even had to write down the names and birthdates of their children (even adult children) so their background could be checked to make sure that even if no criminal charges were ever brought against them, the govt could see if they had any sort of intervention from Children's Services in the past. They were told they HAD to do this every three years on top of the police and vulnerable sector checks.

When I returned to work that summer, I looked up the regulations guide that had just come out 10 months prior and I could not find a single thing in that guide anywhere that mentioned a child welfare check. But since I was part time and the 3 main girls had gone to get their's, I didnt bother thinking about it. But after my file was checked by the same inspector this summer (routine random check), and she said my file was COMPLETE, I wondered why - because I did not have the child welfare check. Again I looked at the legal mumbo jumbo in the regulations and found nothing. I went online to the govt of AB child.gov.ab website and put that term into the search bar - and got NOTHING.

Since my boss and coworkers are now due to get their 3 year checks done again, I asked the director to phone the inspector and ask whether we need to get this child welfare one done or not - referring to how the regulations guide says nothing about it whatsoever....... the inspector replied "Well no, it's not actually a regulation, but it is HIGHLY recommended'. WTF? So they are just making up rules now and twisting the words around to make it sound like you HAVE to do something, when in fact you do not?! Gee shocker.

You could say 'why wouldnt you want it done?'. Well let's see - the director has worked in childcare for over 30 years now, over 25 of them being her own center that she bought and runs on her own with a small staff (3 besides herself). Her children are all over 30 years old now and if she had done something naughty, it would have shown up a longgggggggg time before now. The others working at the center have been there 6 years, 12 years, and 17 years. One are mother and daughter. None of the 4 of us has ever been arrested, or even taken in for questioning in any police case ever in our entire lives. None of us has ever been fingerprinted. None of us has done anything inside a police station other than order those police record checks (tell a lie, I was locked in a cell during my grad year while out with friends getting our photos taken in funny locations - a friends dad is an officer here and he shut us in the holding cell in our grad gowns for a fun photo shoot). I paid a fine at the station once in 1991. That's it. But we are continually subjected to more and more nonsense, more and more invasion of privacy, all because of a few bad apples out there who should be kept behind bars when they assault children or other such vulnerable persons, instead of being let out and PARDONED, no less, and run amuck around the country. It's sickening and disheartening.

3 comments:

  1. freedom is a word that should be removed from our vocabulary because we are not free. if we were we would not need too have some government agency approve of everything and i mean everything in our lives. tell me one thing that does not have the hand of the bureaucracy on it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I absolutely agree. I have commented on this blog before that if you look around, you cannot see one single thing in your home or in your life that is not regulated in some manner or another. ooooooo Freedom!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Seriously, you almost fainted? Conservatives are made of sterner stuff. You sound like a lefty precious snowflake.

    ReplyDelete

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