Impact of mandatory credit check requirements: Update from PSPC

April 5, 2018

AIAC recently met with Pascal Girard, Director General of the Industrial Security Sector (ISS) and his team at Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to discuss security clearance processes and mandatory credit checks. Here’s what they shared with us:

 

How is the credit check used by PSPC as part of the security clearance process? What weight is placed on the credit check, and what other information goes into PSPC’s assessment?

While the status of an individual’s financial situation may not affect their ability to do a job, financial obligations or pressures could pose a security risk. When we are conducting our assessment, an individual’s financial situation is just one part of the overall process. PSPC also reviews an applicant’s background information, education and professional credentials, personal and professional references and criminal record.

 

What happens if a credit check comes back with negative information? Does it mean that my security clearance application will be denied?

Negative credit check information will not result in an automatic denial of a security status or clearance. If the credit check reveals areas of concern, an additional assessment will be made. In some cases, a security screening interview may be required with the applicant to validate or gather more information.

An individual’s financial history will be considered in direct relation to their performed duties and access to sensitive information and assets. This is but one aspect that is taken into consideration when determining the reliability or loyalty of an individual.

 

How will the mandatory credit checks affect processing timelines for security clearances?

For most security applications, mandatory credit checks will not affect the processing timelines of a request. If there are no credit issues, that particular process will be done within a day.

Previously granted reliability statuses or security clearances will not be affected by the newly implemented mandatory credit check requirements.

There are many new streamlining initiatives taking place this year to further reduce processing timelines and make screening processes easier for our clients. The best example would be the mandatory requirement for Fingerprinting.  This initiative has significantly increased the efficiency and timelines for security clearances.

It should be noted that criminal convictions and credit checks are two distinct processes and therefore do not necessarily affect each other.

 

What will the impact be on transferring statuses from one government department to another?

It is understood by the government security community that currently, transferring statuses and clearances from one government department to another continue to be problematic for our suppliers, particularly for a few specific “security” departments. However, generally speaking, a transfer of an individual’s clearance between departments is an easy process. If the necessary security verifications had previously been completed, in accordance with the Treasury Board Standard on Security Screening and there are no security concerns the Contract Security Program would be able to accept the transfer of those submitted granted clearances. Given that all government departments and agencies need to comply with the Treasury Board standard, the new mandatory credit check requirement will make future transfer requests easier to facilitate.

 

Has PSPC prepared any training information that our members can use to learn more?

Yes, a recorded training webinar is available in English and French.

Your members can also visit the following links for more information:


For more information on AIAC’s work on public procurement and defence, please contact Iain Christie, Executive Vice President.