Medical doctoral program now requires criminal record check

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Doctor with clipboard

Joyce Wang

I’M GOING TO PRESCRIBE YOU ONE DOSE OF ME STRANGLING YOU IN A DARK ALLEY. The Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry now requires program applicants to undergo a criminal record check so maniacs like this guy aren’t admitted.

The admission process for the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry now requires medical doctoral program applicants to undergo a criminal record check.

Francis Chan, Schulich’s associate dean of admissions and student affairs, said this protects vulnerable individuals, specifically children, from being exposed to potentially dangerous people.

“For any volunteering position, [for example a] soccer coach, they would have to clear a police check,” Chan said. “If a person has a criminal record, we need to know the nature of [it], prior to being admitted to medical school.”

Criminal record checks are standard in many medical doctoral programs, Chan added.

Queen’s University and Western were the last two Ontario schools to implement a criminal record check policy. When Queen’s recently implemented a policy, Western followed suit.

A criminal record check or vulnerable sector screening policy involves checking Canadian Police Information Centre and RCMP records for any trace of criminal activity in individuals’ past.

A vulnerable sector screening is used instead of a criminal record check for volunteers or employees who will be in contact with persons who, because of their age, disability or circumstances, are at a greater risk of being harmed by someone in a position of authority.

Some items that may be included in a criminal record check are criminal convictions, findings of guilt, conditions of discharge and current judicial orders.

Schulich’s criminal record check review committee consists of three faculty members appointed by Chan.

Program applicants will receive either a “clear” or “not clear” from the check. If a student doesn’t pass the check, they can plead their case to the committee.

“Most jobs require a check,” says Andrea Pechey, a fourth-year medical science student. “I already had to have a check for my job upstairs.”

While she’s concerned some students may be rejected by the program for criminal actions they’re no longer likely to commit, Pechey thinks it’s a positive policy. Having council will help prevent the exclusion of such individuals, she added.

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