Each applicant for a Canada Immigration (Permanent Resident) Visa, aged 18 or over, will undergo a Security Clearance to prove that he or she is not criminally inadmissible.
Police Clearance Certificates or certificates of non-criminal activity, as they are sometimes referred to, must be obtained from the country of current residence and from each country in which the applicant has resided for more than six months since his or her 18th birthday.
Police Clearance Certificates can usually can be obtained through law enforcement offices or other government agencies. In extenuating circumstances, Canadian Immigration Visa Offices will waive the requirement to submit Police Clearance Certificates.
In general, applicants and, if applicable, all family members who are 18 years of age or older need to get a police certificate. These certificates must be obtained from each country or territory where the individuals has lived for six or more months in a row since the age of 18.
For the country the individual currently lives in, the police certificate must be issued no more than six months before you apply.
For countries where the individual has lived for six months or more, the police certificate must be issued after the last time you lived in that country.
If your certificate is in a language other than English or French, it must be sent along with the original copy of a translation done by a certified translator.
All applicants for Canada immigration must also undergo a background clearance to weed out those who have been, or are involved in, espionage, subversion, or terrorism. This is to ensure that the safety and order of Canadian society are maintained and protected. Such security screening decisions are made based on information from every available source, which is then carefully weighed to determine whether an applicant is likely to threaten the internal security of Canada. When there is an indication of security concerns, an interview will be scheduled to discuss these findings with the applicant. Anyone who poses such a threat must necessarily be prevented from entering Canada.
Please note that there is a clear distinction between the Police Clearance Certificate, which the applicant is required to obtain, and the background clearance, in which the applicant for the most part is not actively involved.