Interested in working for the Federal Government of Canada or a Crown Corporation? We’re not surprised. There are awesome contract opportunities with the Canadian Government and, now, also an increasing amount of remote work possibilities – which opens up more doors for freelancers all across the country. But, before you dive into your Government contract search, one of the biggest things to keep in mind is that you’ll likely need to obtain a Government Security Clearance. If you’re not sure what a Government Security Clearance entails, which type of Clearance you’ll need or how to get it – you’ve come to the right place.

What is Security Clearance, and who needs it?

Essentially, Security Clearance is a background check conducted by a government organization to ensure that the individual is not a security concern and is reliable and loyal to Canada.

This screening is required for any Government freelancer or employee who will have access to protected or classified information, sensitive worksites or assets. The level of Security Clearance that you’re required to have will vary based on the situation and will be specified on the application.

What are the levels of Security Clearance?

There are several different levels of security screening. These are the 3 most common ones:

  • Reliability Clearance (also often referred to as Enhanced Reliability Clearance)
  • Secret Security Clearance
  • Top Secret Security Clearance.

Here’s an overview of what would be required for each. For more details and to access the docs through, please go to the Government of Canada link.

Reliability Status  Secret Clearance Top Secret Clearance
Required: 

  • 5 years verifiable background check 
  • Law Enforcement Inquiry 
  • TBS Form 330-23
  • Valid for 10 years 

 

 

May Require: 

  • Fingerprint check 
  • Out of country check 
  • Subject interview
  • Credit check
Required: 

  • 10 years verifiable background check 
  • CSIS indices check 
  • TBS Form 330-23 and 330-60 
  • Criminal Record Name Check 
  • Valid for 10 years

 

May Require: 

  • Fingerprint check 
  • Out of country check 
  • Subject interview
  • Credit check 
Required: 

  • 10 years verifiable background check 
  • CSIS indices check 
  • TBS Form 330-23 and 330-60 
  • Fingerprint check
  • 3 passport photos 
  • Credit check 
  • Criminal Record Name Check
  • Valid for 5 years

May Require: 

  • Out of country check 
  • Subject interview

*Chart based on Security Clearance CSO Training modules. 

When should I start my Security clearance process and how long does it take?

Short answer – Now. If you’re interested in working for the Government, you should at least start applying for your Reliability/Enhanced Clearance. It usually only takes less than a month to process, but it will likely require you to obtain fingerprints (which can take up to 8 weeks). Once you’ve been granted your Reliability/Enhanced Clearance, you can always “upgrade” to Secret Clearance or Top Secret Clearance. If you think or know that you’ll need either Secret or Top Secret Clearance based on the department that you’re interested in, then it’s best to start that clearance process A.S.A.P. Expect Secret Clearance to take anywhere between 2 months to 18 months depending on the complexity of your background check. Top Secret Clearance will usually take longer. 

If you want to start applying for a Government contract soon, we believe the best approach is to be proactive and apply for your Reliability/Enhanced Clearance now. You’ll start gaining the benefits earlier and it’ll shave time on the higher level clearances (if it turns out you require a higher clearance for your role).

That being said, if you lack security clearance at the moment, that shouldn’t stop you from applying to that contract. In some instances, the Government may still contract you and begin the clearance process while you start working. Still, it’s better to have it ahead of time to not miss out on potential opportunities. Applying for your Clearance will open a lot more doors.

How do I get my Clearance as a freelance contractor?

Basically, a freelancer must be connected to an organization to initiate their Clearance process. For example, freelancers who are contracting through us, Splice, on a Government contract, would be able to get their Security Clearance through our organization.

We’ll give you more details on what steps you’ll need to take based on the Government contract and its specific clearance requirements. The requirements will be unique to each contract which is why we recommend that you reach out to us.

We’re happy to help you and answer all your questions. Please reach out to us here Clearanceinfo@Splice.co with the subject line: Security Clearance.