Good editorial, but as with most stories, this goes a bit deeper.
Last year, I was asked by the clergy at our church if I would support one of our youth workers by acting as a back-up leader.
Since I had taught air cadets as both a civilian instructor and later a commissioned officer, had been a 4H leader and later coached kids in the Canadian Pony Club, mostly teenaged girls. I figured that I would be a good candidate.
Later, I was informed that I would have to undergo a criminal record check.
Having no criminal record, I acquiesced.
When I turned up at the police station, I was shocked to be hit up for a $25 fee.
However, if it was going to help the kids and support my church, well it was the least I could do. Later, the form was returned as inconclusive.
I was shocked. I was then offered, for another $25, the opportunity to submit my fingerprints for further vetting.
At this point, I was thinking about cutting my losses and letting the matter die a natural death. But, you cant really get away with doing that.
Whether it was just me or whether others in my community were really viewing me somewhat differently I’ll never be able to know, but there was no stopping now. I had to go through with it.
I returned to the police station at my appointed time and taken to the cells to be fingerprinted.
An all-business warden proceeded to fingerprint me while I gave a bleak gaze over the empty cells. You don’t want to ever go there.
I was informed that this further investigation would take up to three months. Later, weeks later, I was informed I could come back and retrieve my well-vetted and stamped form.
It showed to the best of the RCMP’s investigation that I was not a molester. Whoopee.
By this time, my curiosity was piqued. I mean, what were the search fields used in the early investigations, and also why was I required to provide fingerprints when this data was garnered twice before, once when I was enrolled in the armed forces, and once again when I became an air traffic controller.
Air Canada did me as well but we know what those prints were for.
I politely asked the police agent about the fields used to establish the shortlist for the first form, and I was informed the initial search was based on gender, given first name and year of birth.
If there were any discrepancies in these, that would trigger the second phase.
Good heavens, do you know how many males named William were born in 1946?
I don’t but I bet it’s a lot, and I’m sure that some got up to some misdeeds.
At this point, I suggested that maybe they add the last name and maybe the three middle digits of the applicant’s SIN.
She thought it was a good idea, but it wasn’t RCMP policy.
I also asked about the fingerprints and was informed the RCMP could not access armed forces or security clearance prints.
So now I am $50 poorer but I have bragging rights showing I’m not a pervert.
Though, maybe I should be careful here because the form did say that the RCMP could not find any, not that it didn’t exist.
All of this left such a bad taste in my mouth that I no longer volunteer.
The obvious moral here is that if you are male, have a common given name and were born between 1900 and 1995, you will be thoroughly vetted and it’s going to cost you $50, or stay away from volunteer work with kids.