Officialism and Privacy

I’m in the process of applying for a particular kind of job. One of the application requirements is that I supply a criminal record check certificate. Simple enough, or so I thought.

I dropped into the Owen Sound Police Services building when I was through town the other day. With identification in hand, I told the nice lady behind the reception desk what I needed. She told me she “couldn’t” help me – I had to apply for the record check “where [I] live” (technically, 30 kilometers away, at Sauble Beach).

OK, I thought; on the way home, I dropped into the Sauble Beach OPP detachment. Despite a sign on the door describing office hours as being from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., the place was locked up tighter than a drum, no cars in the parking lot (It was 2:00 p.m.).

I came back two more times, different days, both during supposed ‘business hours’ (and not during the lunch hour) to find the same sign on the door….and the door firmly locked. The second time, I tried to telephone outside the door to find out when someone might be there. I reached ” dispatch” and was referred to someone else. When I told them why I was there, I was told “We don’t do that in Sauble Beach; you’ll have to go to Wiarton”. (For the record, Wiarton is about the same distance from Sauble Beach as Owen Sound).

In Wiarton, I was presented with a form to fill out – itemizing what job I was applying for, why I needed the record check and various other stuff that would seem to be nobody’s business but mine. When I voiced my objection to the lady behind the desk, she was blase: “Well, then you can’t get your record checked”. Needless to say, I had to capitulate.

Lord save us from both “procedure” and governments who espouse protection of privacy rights for their citizens.

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