Reference checks - FAQ


  1. When should I request a reference check? 
  2. How do I request a reference check?
  3. Who should my character references be?
  4. What is the role of the Group Commissioner in this process?
  5. How long does the process take?
  6. Who is Backcheck?
  7. Is there cost associated?



The purpose of this article is to explain the Reference check process. Scouts Canada requests Volunteers to have three character references. These references vouch on behalf of the candidate's capability and suitability to be a Scouter with Scouts Canada. 



 When should I request a reference check? 

The reference check process is used as an element of the Volunteer Screening Policy. If you are already a Scouter you are asked to obtain new reference checks and a new interview when you switch Groups.



 How do I request a reference check?

When a Scouter first fills out their Volunteer Application via MyScouts the request for references is made. 

Candidates should be prepared with their character references full names, email addresses and relationship with the reference. Family members including spouses are not accepted as valid references due to inherit bias.

Up to 5 references will be accepted. We are seeking three completed references to fulfill the requirement.

If a candidate fills out the Volunteer application in MyScouts and skips over the reference check portion the system will not allow the candidate to move backward and fill in the information at a later time. When this happens candidates are to reach out to the Help Centre who will submit on behalf of the candidate. 

When a Scouter is changing Groups and require new references they are to reach out to their new Group Commissioner who will reach out to the Scouter's previous Group Commissioner to determine if their references can stay the same/ are sufficient or if new references are needed. If new references are needed the new Group Commissioner can complete these and enter them manually.



 Who should my character references be?

a.      A co-worker or workplace supervisor

b.     If the individual has volunteered with another youth-serving organization, a person from the organization. Where the applicant has volunteered with another organization and has not provided a reference from that organization, the file is referred to the Safe Scouting Department

c.      Others who can attest to the person’s character

d.     At least two references who have known the applicant for the past five years

e.      More character references, when a workplace or youth-serving organization reference cannot be provided

They must be able to reply to an email in English or French. They must, therefore, have an email address. 

Tip: Some email addresses are protected by firewalls & may prevent the reference check email from being received. Request personal email addresses from references rather than work email addresses. Specifically, avoid Government of Canada email addresses.  



 What is the role of the Group Commissioner in this process?

Group Commissioners have a new role in this process. 

If a reference does not reply to the email requesting their reference the Help Centre will make multiple attempts to contact the candidate and receive an alternate email address for the reference who has not replied. If after these attempts we are unable to make contact we will reach out to the candidate's Group Commissioner to request assistance. 



 How long does the process take?

The time for a reference check to be completed after being submitted to Backcheck can be as few as 3 days or as long as several weeks. 

After the Candidate submits their references Backcheck will send emails to the addresses provided. The time varies as it depends on when references reply to the email.

Backcheck will make two attempts to email the address provided. If a reply is not received after these two attempts Backcheck will reach out to Scouts Canada asking for a new email address for the already submitted reference. The Help Centre will then reach out to the candidate.



 Who is Backcheck?

Backcheck is the third party company who administer reference checks on behalf of Scouts Canada. Backcheck also provides a service where they can renew a Scouters PRC/VSS for a fee. This can be done alternatively via your local police detachment.



 Is there cost associated?

Backcheck is a free service for candidates and Scouters. Scouts Canada absorbs Backcheck's fees. 

Unfortunately, Backcheck's fees are not a set rate. When a candidate first submits references the rate is standard however each time a correction to a references email address is made or a new file is opened for a Scouter who already has a check in the process new fees are incurred. 

To prevent these avoidable expenses we ask the following of our candidates and Group Commissioners. 

1. The only time references are to be submitted in MyScouts is when the Candidate is filling out their original Volunteer registration application. 

2. If a candidate needs to submit corrected email addresses or new references once they have already completed their Volunteer registration application these are to be submitted via the Help Centre. Group Commissioners are not to update references in MyScouts on behalf of the candidate as this incurs a cost. 





Help Centre

Still need help? Please feel free to contact the Scouts Canada Help Centre


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