A social work student at the University of Saskatchewan wants the cost of criminal record checks to be cheaper.

Lindee Larson said this year she did two practicums through school, each requiring her to provide a criminal record check.

“There’s no discount if you’re a student. The agency is most likely not going to pay for it for you because a lot of times we’re working for non-profits, so funds are pretty limited,” said Larson.

Saskatoon Police Service charges $45 for a criminal record check, but $75 for a vulnerable sector check.

“As students we have tuition, we have books and we spend a lot of time studying on top of that and when we have to pay for this criminal record check it just adds a lot of strain and a lot of stress and it’s unbelievable to me there’s no discount,” she said.

Larson wrote a letter to the city asking the cost be lowered, or dropped altogether, similar to exemptions offered to volunteers. But she said the high cost affects more than just students.

“For people on social assistance there’s no discount either, so it’s a huge barrier to people to have to come up with that cost when they’re just trying to get a job.”

Larson’s letter was presented at Wednesday’s Board of Police Commissioners meeting. Chief Troy Cooper said Saskatoon’s prices are comparable to other police services and charging for the checks comes down to cost recovery.

“We have staff that their full-time job is to conduct criminal record checks. We have to have a revenue stream to fund them and currently we have a fee structure that’s consistent across the province,” said Cooper.

“There are occasions when we actually have to pay a fee to have someone in Ottawa check that criminal record, so there’s a fee to us, so we recover that fee through our fee for service.”

However, other services have a different model. The Regina Police Service’s vulnerable sector check costs $45, and should it need to confirm a hit with Ottawa, it charges an extra $25.

“So we know the cost is inflated,” said Larson.

“We know they’re already giving them out for free to some people, so in my view finding a job is a very worthy cause and people should be able to give them out for free.”

Cooper said criminal record check fees are reviewed on an annual basis. The Saskatoon Police Service will be presenting its latest review at next month’s Board of Police Commissioner’s meeting.