Saskatchewan

Sex offences prompt school division to enforce volunteer record checks

The Chinook School Division in Swift Current, Sask., is now making it mandatory for volunteers to undergo criminal record background checks.

Chinook School Division responds to charges against Ryan Chamberlin

Ryan Chamberlin was a volunteer hockey coach in the Cabri area. The Chinook School Division has now tightened up it rules, so that volunteers must undergo criminal record checks. (CBC)

The Chinook School Division in Swift Current, Sask., is now making it mandatory for volunteers to undergo criminal record background checks. 

The change was made after a volunteer coach on a local hockey team in Cabri was charged with sexual assault and sexual interference of minors.

Ryan Chamberlin has since pleaded guilty. Court has heard the victims were boys who were 13 and 14.

The coach had a previous sexual assault conviction but he did not undergo a background check.

Liam Choo-Foo, a spokesperson for the school division, said its policy previously applied to employees, but was not strictly enforced for volunteers.

"It was more indicated around volunteers that it should be done. But it wasn't specific and direct that it had to be done," he said.

The Ministry of Education says it is mandatory across the province to have criminal background checks on all staff members. 

However, it is the discretion of each school board when it comes conducting background checks on volunteers.