Criminal Background Checks

All Teacher Candidates (TCs) enrolled in a BEd program must have a valid criminal record check with vulnerable sector screening (VSS) for each year in the program. This applies for both community and school-based practicum placements. Ensure you get 2 copies; some school boards keep the copy you submit, and you do not want to be left without a copy in your possession. At the start of the program in September, all TCs must have a cleared VSS document with an issued date of no earlier than July. TCs must re-apply for a new VSS prior to the expiry date of the existing one every year.

Without a clear VSS document TCs will not be allowed to participate in practicum assignments.

School boards, practicum schools, community organizations, course directors and practicum facilitators will demand that you show your original VSS document prior to attending your practicum. Please keep your original document with you at all times so that you can produce this document as requested. TCs placed in specific school boards and/or community organizations may be asked to forfeit their original VSS document. For this reason, you may request a second copy at the time of application. Most Police Services will provide a second copy at a nominal charge.

How and Where Do I Obtain a VSS?

TCs must apply at their local police service. This means they have to go to the police service in the town/area/region listed as their permanent residence on their driver's licence or other official government ID.

Requirements will vary by region. We have provided information below for some jurisdictions. If you live in a jurisdiction that does not appear below, contact your local police service or check their website for the most up-to-date information.

For students who do not live in Toronto (i.e. with a postal code that begins with “M”), please consult your local police service website to apply for your Criminal Background Check with VSS. Some police services may ask for a letter from York confirming your enrollment. If so, please email to request the letter.

York Region Residents
Information can be accessed on the York Regional Police website where you can download the VSS form.

Peel Region Residents
Information can be accessed on the Peel Police website. The Peel Police Headquarters is located at 7750 Hurontario Street, Brampton. Telephone number 905-453-2121 (X-4391).

Residents of Barrie, Durham & Regions Outside of the GTA
Information can be accessed on the Regional Police Services Website.

Toronto Residents (you are a Toronto resident if your postal code begins with "M")
Toronto Police Services has recently launched a new online application system for Police Record Checks – including Vulnerable Sector Screenings. This is the most efficient way to proceed with your VSS application.

You will need a unique organization code to apply. Please email for the verification code.

This code is provided upon verifying that you are a Faculty of Education student at York University for the purpose of completing an unpaid practicum placement. This code is not to be used for any other purpose or shared with any other individual.

The complete process is discussed in your advising package.


  1. Can I use my VSS check for my practicum if have one already?
    Mostly No but depends on when you received your VSS check. If you have a cleared VSS check in your hand BEFORE July 1st, then you will need to get a new one. It will become invalid by the time January 2025 arrives. Most school boards only consider VSS checks valid 6 months before the issue date.
  2. What if I’ve moved and I no longer am in a location with a postal code “M”?
    Typically, most regions will ask Proof of Enrollment letter. Please email us at for this request.
  3. When is the deadline for those who do not live in “M” postal code?
    Same as everyone.