Background check wait times stall would-be volunteers
Would-be volunteers in Ottawa say they are growing frustrated with how long it takes to get a police background check processed.
In many municipalities, the process can be completed online, but in Ottawa, an online system for applying to have a police background check processed isn't expected until next spring.
At the Ottawa Police headquarters on Elgin Street on Friday, two dozen would-be volunteers waited in frustration, with some saying they had been waiting for two hours.
Ottawa police can get up to 300 applications a day, according to Lisa Kelleher, the supervisor of Ottawa Police's background clearance section.
Putting in the application only begins the process, as police then have to do the background check and then mail out the information, a process that can take months to get back to the organization relying on volunteers.
Michelle Maniscalco applied for her background check in July to volunteer at Big Sisters Ottawa.
She was told it would take four weeks to complete, but when that didn't happen on schedule, she said she came back Friday to pay more for express service.
"It's frustrating because I feel it should be a little faster especially since I don't have any criminal record or anything along those lines...it's definitely annoying for sure," she said.
Hockey season means big need for volunteers
Nepean Minor Hockey has 900 volunteer coaches and trainers with the organization who need criminal background checks.
"It's going to be an issue the odd one is going to say hey it's not worth it and we're going to lose volunteers," said spokesman Craig Shouldice. "That concerns me. I want something a little quicker."
To speed things up for the large organization — and to reduce lineups at police headquarters — members from the Ottawa Police background clearance section will be going to the hockey association to process the applications there.