If you’re a nurse or healthcare worker who does relief and/or contract work for RPI Consulting Group, you may occasionally be asked to submit a Vulnerable Sector Screening (VSS) before being approved for a work assignment. While this isn’t a request that our clients often submit to us, it is necessary in certain situations. In this blog, we’re going to outline exactly what a VSS is, and what you need to know.
A different kind of background check
First and foremost, it’s important to understand exactly what a VSS is. The Toronto Police Service website outlines it as the following:
A Vulnerable Sector Screening is intended for individuals seeking employment or volunteer opportunities with vulnerable persons. A vulnerable person is defined as a person who, because of their age, a disability, or other circumstances, whether temporary or permanent, are (a) in a position of dependence on others or (b) are otherwise at a greater risk than the general population of being harmed by person(s) in a position of authority or trust to them. (Source: https://www.torontopolice.on.ca/background-checks/vulnerable-sector-screening.php)
The main purpose of a VSS is to ensure that a potential candidate for a position that would see them working with a vulnerable person hasn’t previously been charged with a crime, have any outstanding criminal charges or warrants, or even were found not guilty of past charges due to not being criminally responsible from a mental disorder.
A VSS can be applicable and required for healthcare employees who are working with elderly, minor and/or disabled patients who are unable to take care of themselves. At RPI, we’ve received requests for a VSS from clients who are looking to hire registered nurses (RNs), registered practical nurses (RPNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), nurse practitioners (NPs), personal support workers (PSWs) and other similar positions to work in setting such as nursing homes, hospitals, and even vaccination clinics. Of course, the main reason for this is that our clients want to ensure that their patients/residents will be in good hands when a new employee is brought in to work with them.
How to get a VSS
In order to get an up-to-date VSS to submit to a client for work purposes, you will need to request one from your local police precinct, as well as pay a small fee (in Toronto, for example, it will cost $65 for each VSS that you request). Because of COVID-19, many police stations/headquarters (including those in Toronto) are currently closed to the public, meaning that you’ll need to mail in your application form.
We suggest that you acquire an up-to-date VSS annually, as many clients will want to ensure that your VSS is still in good standing before approving you for a position.
If you’re a nurse, PSW or other healthcare worker who will regularly work with vulnerable individuals, RPI’s clients may want you to submit a VSS before coming to work for them. If you have any questions about the VSS process or simply want some advice on how to best obtain one, contact your Account Manager and let them know.