- What is screening?
- Screening is a process designed to create and maintain a safe environment. This process involves identifying any activity of a volunteer position which by virtue of the responsibilities of the position could bring about harm to children, youth, or vulnerable persons. The screening process also ensures the most appropriate match is made between volunteer and task. Screening involves recruiting, selecting, and managing volunteers.
- Screening is a poorly understood and a relatively new concept in the Air Cadet Program. This is particularly true in that we are predominantly a volunteer-driven organization that utilizes a large number of parent volunteers who work with hundreds of children.
The answer is simple. It's the law and we want to do a better job of assigning volunteers while protecting them and program participants. All organizations that provide programs to vulnerable people, whether run by staff or volunteers, have a responsibility to appropriately screen their volunteers. This responsibility is moral, legal, and spiritual; it is not only the right thing to do but it is legally required under the "Duty of Care" concept.
"Duty of Care" is the legal principle that identifies the obligations of individuals and organizations to take reasonable measures to care for and protect their participants. Groups need to understand that Canadian courts will uphold their responsibilities with regard to screening in the context of their "Duty of Care".
While many organizations accept their responsibility to protect the vulnerable participants in their programs, they can feel overwhelmed by the need to screen every one of their volunteers.
To fulfill its responsibilities to our cadets, the Department of National Defence is required to conform to rulings by the Supreme Court of Canada that defined the "Duty of Care" required by any organization in protecting youth under its direction. This level of care has been defined as that which would be exercised by a prudent parent in protecting their child.
As a full, active partner in this aspect of the Air Cadet Program, we not only have a legal and moral requirement but it is also reasonable that our registration and screening protocols meet the same standard required by our military partners. The military will be responsible for screening the volunteers of the Canadian Forces, both Regular and Reserve as well as contracted Civilian Instructors.
Accordingly, in December 2005, the Air Cadet League of Canada and the Department of National Defence signed a Memorandum of Understanding asserting that only volunteers who have been screened and approved in accordance with the process agreed upon by the Department of National Defence and the League can participate in activities defined as "cadet duty". The Air Cadet League assumed responsibility for registering and screening all volunteers. Furthermore, the League agreed to participate in the development of management and screening processes with the Department of National Defence and to maintain a national database of approved volunteers.
Following discussions with the Navy League of Canada and the Army Cadet League of Canada, it was decided that the three leagues would use a single database so that information on volunteer candidates that are considered unacceptable can be shared between the Leagues. Further discussions with the Department of National Defence also resulted in the implementation of a Volunteer Agreement for candidates who were going to work at the squadron level.
All volunteers must be registered and screened. This applies at the national, provincial and local level. At the local level, volunteers may work primarily with the Squadron Sponsoring Committee or with the Squadron training staff. Some individuals may choose to work with both the Squadron Sponsoring Committee and the squadron staff. When volunteers are working with the squadron staff, they will be supervised by a Cadet Instructor Cadre officer or civilian Cadet Instructor. If unsure whether or not a person must be screened, it is always better to err on the side of caution.
It should be understood that the League's responsibilities for civilian volunteers complement those of the Department of National Defence and are of a supporting nature. The Commanding Officers and their supporting staff have command and control of the Cadets and are responsible for supervision of the training program.
The screening process requires that individuals complete the Volunteer Registration and Information Form and obtain a Police Records Check and Vulnerable Sector Screening (PRC/VSS). Also, for positions of trust (such as Treasurer and Fund Raising), a Credit Check may be required. Local police agencies use the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) system to perform Vulnerable Sector Verifications by conducting name-based queries of criminal records databases and flagged pardoned sex offender records. Recent changes are explained on the RCMP web site
The PRC/VSS is accomplished through your community police service and may require a charge for the service. Individuals in rural areas may visit their regional RCMP Detachment while those in larger communities should utilize the resources of their local police service.
To obtain the record checks in Winnipeg the Police Service at Public Safety Building, 151 Princess St. at William Ave. is closed on holidays and only available for this service Monday through Thursday 8 AM to 3:30 PM. For those ubable to visit during those hours, the PCR check applications can be down loaded and mailed to the Police Station. Directions and documents are noted on the Winnipeg Police Service's web page.
To assist in the implementation of the process a selection of tools is available for each Squadron Sponsoring Committee that may be accessed through the Information for Members page of this site. They include:
- A manual providing directions for Squadron Sponsoring Committees;
- A Power Point presentation for group briefings; and
Completed documentation and receipts should be forwarded to the Provincial office at:
P. O. Box 17000 Stn Forces