False sex registry match forces man to prove innocence

A Brockville, Ont., man says he has spent a lot of time and money trying to clear his name, and may lose his job because he has the same date of birth as a man on a list of pardoned sex offenders.
Brockville man says false positive because of shared birth date with pardoned sex offender has cost him time and money. 2:02

A Brockville, Ont., man says he has spent a lot of time and money in an attempt to clear his name, and may lose his job because he has the same date of birth as a man on a list of pardoned sex offenders.

Scott Glenen told CBC News he is scheduled to start a new nursing home job in a couple of weeks.

To get that job, and others in child care or children's activities such as hockey or Scouts, a vulnerable sector security clearance check is needed.

Glenen, who has worked in nursing homes before, has gone through the check in the past.

This time, Glenen's date of birth matched that of a man on the sex offender registry. Because people can legally change their names, the RCMP had to use fingerprints to confirm he wasn't that pardoned offender. 
Rob Lefebvre of Ottawa police's identification section said police end up doing more detailed checks on people who have the same birthdays or other information with someone on the sex-offender registry. (CBC)

"There was a hit [on the registry list], and all of a sudden I'm paying all this money to prove I'm innocent," he said, adding that the process should be simplified.

The second check cost him $110, and Glenen said he's worried the final clearance might not come before he is due to start work.

Brockville police fingerprint half of applicants

There are 15,000 pardoned sex offenders in Canada. Brockville police said they're now fingerprinting about half of all vulnerable sector applicants.

Rob Lefebvre is the civilian supervisor for Ottawa police's identification section.
RCMP Chief Supt. Chuck Walker says that as more police departments switch to digital fingerprint systems, the problem with false matches will ease. (CBC)

"Because the pardon for a sexually based offence is a sealed record, we don't get to see if that's an actual match or not, so it's inconclusive to us," he said. "And that's why people are being subjected to move to fingerprints after that."

Ottawa police have switched to electronic fingerprinting to deal with a 30-fold increase in volume. But some police forces still work with paper and ink.

RCMP Chief Supt. Chuck Walker said that as more departments go digital, the problem will ease.

"We've gone from receiving approximately five per cent of our vulnerable sector requests electronically, to as of now, about 70 per cent," he said.