Policy Recommendation: Further reduce barriers to volunteering
The Government of Ontario recently announced a policy to absorb the cost of police record checks for volunteering. However, charities or volunteers will still have to pay for Vulnerable Sector Checks (VSCs). The existing policy should be extended to fully absorb the cost of VSCs.
- VSCs are the most comprehensive type of police check and are required for volunteers who will be working with vulnerable populations. The cost of VSCs for volunteers can range from $15 to $35. Fingerprinting is sometimes required for these checks at an additional cost.
Why it matters: The financial burden of VSCs is onerous for smaller charities or volunteers with a low income, especially if each organization requires a separate check. Absorbing these fees would further eliminate barriers to volunteering.
- Details: Fully subsidize the cost of VSCs and associated fingerprinting requirements (if needed) when accessed for volunteer purposes. This should go beyond the current legislative elimination of fees. The province should transfer funding to police services based on the number of checks processed each year. This change would cost $8 million, representing 0.0004% of the province’s $173 billion budget for program expenses in 2021–22.
For more details read Cardus’s forthcoming report Vulnerable Sector Check Costs Remain a Barrier for Volunteers.