In Canada, determining whether other people have criminal records involves navigating through the court system and using basic clues and information, such as date of court hearing, the name of the person indicted and the judge and police officers present at the time. In Canada, as with the United States, court records exist as formal documents, recorded at the court of hearing, but are inaccessible to the public. The Canadian Police Information Center stores records at a central location, but only police officers have access to those records.
Individuals present at the time of a hearing typically have more luck finding and retrieving official criminal records, but even then finding the desired information is tedious. Members of the public must demonstrate some knowledge of the events at the court proceeding of choice to begin the search process. Because records held at the Canadian Police Information Center are obtainable only by officers, the best way to obtain records is to find the name of the officer present at the proceeding on the day of the court hearing. Individuals can then request the presiding officer to extract records, which may involve examining a series of documents. Court reporters can produce written transcripts of trials and verdicts, but at a high cost. Sometimes, third sources like newspapers provide listings of court hearings, but never specify the final verdict.