Understanding Criminal Record Checks for Employment
Table of Contents
Why Are Canadian Criminal Record Checks Important?
In Canada, sectors such as healthcare and social services, education and childcare, transportation, financial services and banking, law enforcement and security, and government services are subject to legal obligations that necessitate conducting background checks like Canadian criminal record checks for employment. If employers in these industries fail to adhere to these requirements it can lead to regulatory violations.
However, even in industries without explicit legal mandates, background checks are widely recognized as a way to mitigate risk and legal consequences such as negligent hiring. In fact, according to the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA), 94% of employers run background checks on candidates.
Background Checks for Employees
In Canada, employers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their employees, customers, and the public. Therefore, conducting background checks, like Canadian criminal record checks, on prospective employees as part of the hiring process is one way they can demonstrate due diligence in fulfilling this responsibility. For instance, if they hire an individual with a documented record of violent behaviour and that person subsequently harms someone in the workplace, the employer could be deemed legally responsible for negligent hiring. By performing background screening that includes checking criminal records, the employer can proactively identify potential risks and mitigate their liability.
How Long Does a Background Check Take
If requested by your employer, the time it takes for them to get your background check results depends on factors such as the complexity of the check, the type of information being verified, the responsiveness of the databases and sources, and the efficiency of the screening process.
A criminal record check for employment is the most basic type of pre-screening, and is conducted at the local police agency level, so results are typically available within a few days to a week, assuming the sources respond promptly. Though, online checks and automation, like the Certn background check process, can help speed up turnaround times.If you’re running a check on yourself through mycrc.ca, we connect to the Canadian Police Information Centre and other police databases to search for criminal records and background checks so you can get the results in as little as 15 minutes.
How Far Back Does a Criminal Record Check Go
The time frame covered by any background check depends on factors such as the purpose of the check, local regulations, and the employer’s policies. The time frame for criminal convictions that may appear on a background check can vary, but it’s common for checks to go back seven years. Some jurisdictions may have restrictions on reporting certain types of convictions after a specific period, such as non-conviction records or minor offenses.
If you’re being hired for a security- or government-related role, the criminal records search may go back even further or involve more extensive scrutiny. As always, the scope and time frame of a check being requested by any employer should be proportionate to the position and the employer’s legitimate needs, so talk to the hiring manager if you have any questions or concerns.
Types of Criminal Checks in Canada
There are three types of Canadian criminal record checks employers can request:
Criminal Record Check (CRC): A criminal record check (CRC) is the most basic type of criminal records screening. CRCs are performed by local police agencies and are suitable if you’re looking to work in settings that don’t involve vulnerable adults or children. A CRC offers details about charges and convictions that have resulted in a criminal record. A CRC may include summary convictions, which apply to less severe offences, and indictable convictions, which relate to more serious offences. However, a CRC doesn’t provide information on pending charges or non-conviction records. If a CRC can’t be completed using your full name and date of birth, you may be required to submit your fingerprints.
Enhanced Police Information Check (E-PIC): The E-PIC is a more comprehensive criminal check. Given the comprehensiveness, E-PICs are usually reserved for positions of trust where a higher level of scrutiny is necessary such as law enforcement and security positions. An E-PIC includes what’s covered in a basic CRC, any pending charges, probation orders, and other records of police contact referred to as non-conviction records. The availability of E-PICs can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the nature of the role.
Vulnerable Sector Check (VSC): You’ve probably heard of a vulnerable sector check if you’ll be working or volunteering with populations such as the elderly, people with disabilities, and/or children. A VSC includes a CRC and also searches for records of sexual offenses that may not appear in other background checks.
Criminal Record Check for Employment
The following types of jobs will likely require a CRC as part of the hiring process:
- Health care and social services roles: If you’re planning to work as a nurse, doctor, social worker, counselor, or in a support position in a healthcare setting, your employer will likely ask you to complete a CRC. It’s also likely that a vulnerable sector check will be required.
- Education and childcare professions: Teachers, classroom assistants, daycare employees, childcare workers, and individuals working with vulnerable populations like children or individuals with disabilities often need a CRC. Additionally, these roles may need a vulnerable sector check.
- Driving-related jobs and transportation: If driving is a part of your job, your employer may request a CRC to ensure public safety. If you’re applying for roles such as taxi driver, rideshare driver, commercial truck driver, and/or transit operator, your prospective employer will also look into your driving history with a driver’s abstract.
- Financial and banking positions: Jobs in the financial sector that deal with sensitive financial information require a criminal record check. Additional background checks such as credit checks may also be requested.
- Law enforcement and security positions: Due to the nature of their work, police officers, correctional officers, security guards, and private investigators typically undergo a very thorough background investigation including an E-PIC as covered above. E-PICs combine a search of the National Repository of Criminal Records in Canada and a search of local police information within multiple databases.
- Government services roles: Jobs in the government, especially those involving access to sensitive information or national security, often require the most comprehensive type of CRC. This includes positions in intelligence agencies, military, and other security-related roles.
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