Background Checks Announcements
OLBA Clubs and Background Checks for Volunteers
Many of you who belong to other organizations, know that members of boardsvolunteers and coaches have to get background checks to serve on those bodies. This is done for both legal liability reasons and to meet the requirements of various levels of government. That policy will be coming to lawn bowling clubs across Canada. The federal government has introduced the Safe Sport Policy to prevent harassment, bullying and abuse in sport. For details on the Safe Sport Movement, see this article.
Is your club ready for the safe sport movement?
Background checks for board members and people involved in coaching will be required. This not optional. Both the OLBA and it’s member clubs must become compliant for both reasons of legal liability and because clubs receive funding directly and indirectly from both the federal and provincial governments. The OLBA is working to make this process easier by helping to pay for the process.
Who needs to get background checks?
Members of your club board of directors will have to get a Level 1 background check which checks for criminal convictions.
Coaches and volunteers who work with youth or any other vulnerable group (disabled, etc.) will have to get a Level 3 or Vulnerable Sector Check which also cross references a database of sexual offenders.
Regular club volunteers who do not work with youth or coaching, typically do not need a background check.
Where do you go to do the background checks?
You can do the background checks through your local police force or through an online service like Sterling Backcheck which is used by Bowls Canada
Some local police forces do this for free. Contact your local police force to see if this is the case or if there is a charge. Police can do both the Level 1 and Level 3 check.
Sterling Backcheck charges $25 + tax to do a Level 1 check but does not do Level 3 checks. You can typically get the results from Sterling in 24 hours. We will establish a link to this service on the OLBA Website.
What do you do with the Background Check Results?
People will submit the completed background check to their board of directors to keep on file. If you already have a background check that has been submitted in the last two years for another organization, you can submit that background check and self disclose anything since the time of that background check.
If a conviction shows up on the background check, assign someone on your club board to review the background check as not all convictions are a barrier. For example, you probably don’t want a person convicted for embezzlement as your club treasurer. However, a 30 year old conviction for possessing cannabis would typically not be a barrier. If the local club is not sure what to do, you can contact the OLBA for assistance.
OLBA Background Check Subsidy
To make this process easier, the OLBA will reimburse clubs $15 for each background check paid until June 30, 2020. We have set a deadline to encourage people to get this done now. The OLBA has set aside $30,000 to assist clubs in getting these checks completed.
How does this work in practice?
Each individual would get the background check on their own either through the local police force or through an online service. The individual would submit the bill along with the background check to the local club. After all the background checks are done, the club would submit all the claims at one time to the OLBA Treasurer along with the individual invoices.
Keep in mind that your credit card slip is not an invoice. The invoice must indicate what has been purchased. Claims submitted without proper documentation will not be paid. Money will be paid back to the clubs who either will keep the money if the club paid for the background check or give it to the individual if he/she paid for the background check.
Who pays at the club level?
This will depend on your local club’s policy. Some clubs will have the individual pay the amount. My own club accepts the background check as a club expense and pays it for the individual whether it is a Level 1 or Level 3 check. You will find that having the club pay for the background check as a club expense will remove a lot of the resistance from club members in getting this done.
How often do background checks need to be done?
A typical guideline is that background checks need to be renewed every 3 years. Following through on this policy protects your clubs legally and shows that you have done your due diligence. It prevents people getting on your board that you do not want to be there. It also helps ensure that the people who play at your club have the best possible experience free from harassment and abuse.
The OLBA is working to make this step forward as simple and straightforward as possible. Contact us when you have questions or for general assistance. We are here to help.
OLBA Vice President – firstname.lastname@example.org