Massive criminal background check backlog at SPVM

A major backlog at the Montreal police department could have serious consequences for daycares, school boards, summer camps and amateur sports associations.

According to the Journal de Montreal, the Montreal police department is behind on 11,732 criminal background checks. Those checks are required by the Quebec Ministry of Family for all employees or volunteers working with children. 

This means camp councillors, replacement staff for summer schools, volunteer coaches for youth soccer and new daycare hires are stuck in limbo, wanting to work but cannot legally do so.

Any company, organization or institution caught skipping criminal background checks can be subject to fines between $250 and $2,000. In the case of daycares they risk having their license revoked.

Claude Bussières, deputy director of the Montreal Police Department told the newspaper the problem is because of a perfect storm. The department received about 20 per cent more requests than usual from school boards, while at the same time saw staff drop by ten per cent due to illness, injury and other factors.

According to the list obtained by the Journal some background checks have been waiting three months, while one daycare said it took four months for its checks to be completed.

Bussières said more staff is being hired to help weather the storm, but it takes a little over three months to train new hires, putting their start date in the fall.

The deputy director said the police department should be able to catch up by October or November, putting some summer activities at risk.