Top 3 Myths About Background Checks

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When asked to do a background check, what are the first thoughts that come to mind? Are they positive? Negative? A mix of both?

When employers complete a background check, the process can feel shrouded in mystery and might leave you wondering what actually gets revealed. Fortunately, when you complete a background check on yourself, you’re the one in charge, and you’re the one getting the report at the end. So what can you expect, and how many of your assumptions are correct? Keep reading to find out!

A Quick Word About Different Kinds of Background Checks in Canada

There are many different types of background checks, which could be how some myths began. So before we get started, let’s go over a few common types of checks available in Canada:

Criminal record check (also known as a name-based criminal record check): This is the most common type of background check employers ask for. It takes a look the RCMP CPIC National Repository of Criminal Records to see if you have a criminal record. This is the type of background check MyCRC provides.

Certified criminal record check: This type of check uses your fingerprints and is usually completed at a police station. Just like a name-based criminal record check, this type of check looks through several databases to determine if you have a criminal record. It’s usually used by people who have difficulty verifying their identity or who have a criminal record but don’t remember details such as the conviction offence, date of sentence, and/or court location.

Vulnerable sector check: This type of check can only be completed at a police station. It is used to determine if you have a criminal record as well as if you have committed a sex crime for which you received a pardon. This type of check is only used if you will be working or volunteering in a role that puts you in a position of power over a vulnerable population such as seniors, children, or people with disabilities. 

MYTH #1: A Background Check Shows Every Detail of Your Conviction

If you have a criminal record, this might be one of your top concerns. Fortunately, Canadian law and criminal background check providers take your privacy very seriously. In fact, third-party background check providers like MyCRC cannot show criminal record details, including conviction information. So what does a criminal record check/name-based criminal record check reveal?

When completing a criminal record check, you will be asked if you have been convicted of a crime for which you have not been pardoned.

If the answer is “yes,” you’ll then be prompted to provide the following information for each of your convictions:

  • conviction offence
  • date of sentence
  • court location 


MyCRC makes this process easy by providing a drop-down menu of common conviction offences for you to select from. Once your background check is complete, you will receive an email allowing you to access your report. Here is what your report will reveal:

If you don’t have a criminal record: It will reveal that the background check did not find a criminal record.

If you have a criminal record but didn’t disclose your convictions: The lack of disclosure will trigger an “incomplete” result in the report.

If you have a criminal record and disclosed your convictions: It will reveal a “confirmed” result, and the convictions you disclosed will be visible on the report. It’s important to know that it will only show the details you provided (i.e. the conviction offence, date of sentence, and court location). No other details about your conviction will be revealed.

If you make an error while disclosing your convictions: If you make an error in your disclosure (the location, the conviction date, the offence name, or even disclose a conviction that is no longer on your record), you will receive an “incomplete” result.

As you can see, you’re in charge of what information gets revealed. So where did this myth come from? It’s hard to say, although it might have originated from confusion between name-based criminal background checks and certified criminal background checks. Because a certified criminal background check uses your fingerprints to confirm your identity, it’ll reveal the details of your criminal record rather than simply confirm or deny the details you provided. 

MYTH #2: Background Checks Take a Long Time and Require a Lot of Paperwork

This myth is a common one, in part because background checks used to take a lot longer than they do today. Now, providers like MyCRC can quickly verify your identity (in rare cases, though, this may not be possible and you will need to have your identity verified through other means). As a result, most of our checks can be completed quickly and can be done right from your smartphone. What’s more, in most cases, you’ll receive your results in less than an hour, making the whole process from start to finish easy, breezy, and painless. 

MYTH #3: If You Do Have a Criminal Record, You Won’t Get the Job

First things first: If you have a criminal record, you’re not alone. Approximately 3.8 million Canadians have a criminal record, with many going on to have fulfilling careers. Another important thing to know is that depending on where you are in Canada, there may be anti-discrimination laws in place protecting people who have a criminal conviction. In British Columbia, for example, an employer cannot refuse to employ you unless the crime you committed is related to the job for which you are applying. Similarly, in Québec, you cannot legally be denied employment for a criminal conviction unrelated to the position.

So, why do employers ask for a criminal background check? For some professions—especially those that involve working with children and vulnerable populations—a background check (usually a vulnerable sector check) may be legally required. In other cases, employers conduct a background check in order to confirm an applicant’s identity, maintain SOC 2 or SOC 3 compliance, or to prevent negligent hiring


Background checks can feel intimidating. Fortunately, your privacy and right to employment matter and are taken seriously by lawmakers and third-party background check providers. If you have a criminal record, only the information (conviction offence, date of sentence, and court location) provided by you will be listed on your report. And, depending on where you are in Canada, there may be laws protecting your right to employment. Getting a background check doesn’t have to be a long a difficult process. In fact, it rarely is!

Do you need to complete a background check?

Get your background check done with MyCRC and get results quickly!