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Types of Background Checks in Canada and When to Use Them

Canadian workers are needed more than ever, as the country is currently experiencing a 12% growth rate for hiring. This also means that background checks are going to spike. While background checks are less prevalent in Canada than in neighboring countries, hiring managers still need to know how to use background checks to filter out candidates who aren’t a good fit. Which background checks Canada’s hiring managers use will make the difference. But how do hiring managers access the most reliable data with the fastest turnaround? How do hiring managers stay in compliance when conducting background checks? And what are the most common Canadian background checks to use?

 Here’s the A-Zed on what you need to know about background checks in Canada.

Canadian Background Check Laws

PIPEDA, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, is the main factor in any Canadian background check. This law governs how an employer can use a candidate’s personal information and, equally important, how they can obtain that information. 

Non-government organizations can only request a background check if they can reasonably argue that it’s required to succeed in the role. Additionally, employers must get explicit consent to run a background check. Employers must also ensure their candidates’ private info is only used for the hiring process and is seen only on a need-to-know basis.

For example, An employer would be liable for legal repercussions if they use data from the background check to decide on a candidate’s advancement potential after said candidate has been hired. 

Another factor is time. Like other sensitive records, background data must be destroyed once it is no longer relevant. Canadian background check retention can extend for up to six years but is often deemed irrelevant before then. 

Companies that utilize background checks during the hiring process must have protocols to ensure the safety and accurate reporting of the information. And they must provide a candidate with this information before conducting the background check.

PIPEDA is in place to protect potential employees from unfair hiring processes and fraud. As a hiring manager, you must abide by PIPEDA, or you may risk legal whiplash.

Canadian Criminal Record Check

Canadian criminal records checks are split into the following three main categories. 

Name and PII Checks: Name and PII-based checks are background checks submitted to the RCMP that verify a person’s arrest history and general legal info. 

Certified Criminal Record Check: Also known as CCRC, this process involves fingerprinting a candidate and comparing the results against the police database. 

Vulnerable Sector Check: Also known as VSC, this check ensures that a person doesn’t have a legal history of abusing vulnerable people such as children, people with disabilities, the elderly, etc. It’s most commonly used in roles where an employer works with vulnerable people such as school teachers, nurses, and others. It’s worth noting that only Canadian police can conduct a vulnerability check, and they also reserve the right to allow the review only if it can be proven that a VSC is required for the job.

Canadian Employment History and Verification

Hiring managers should consider an employment background check an essential part of the hiring process. An employment history check doesn’t just ensure your candidate is qualified and experienced, but it also speaks to their honesty. If a candidate is willing to lie about a position on their resume and during the interview, you can expect them to bring similar habits to the workplace.  

Employment checks also allow you to learn first-hand about their work ethic and how they contribute to a team. It can also raise major red flags, like whether or not they microwave fish in the breakroom. 

Canada Education Verification

Canadian background checks for employment aren’t complete without an education and license check. Similar to the employment check, these checks give you peace of mind in knowing you’ve found the right candidate. Plus, they can help keep you out of quite the legal kerfuffle. 

Canadian Driving Records

Driving records are vital for transport jobs both locally and across provinces. Whether you’re hiring for a trucker or forklift operator, you can consider a driving record a critical check. It reveals a candidate’s driving history.

Types of Employees that Require a Background Check in Canada

Most Canadian background checks aren’t mandatory but should be used to weed out employees who aren’t the right fit. For example, employees who deal with cash, valuables, and private information shouldn’t have fraud and theft in their criminal reports. Candidates that work with vulnerable people shouldn’t have a history of exploitation. 

The best way for a manager to figure out which candidate should undergo which background check is by gaining an understanding of the role and its daily responsibilities. You can meet with department heads and use reliable background check data to make an informed decision.

How to Conduct a Thorough Canadian Background Check with KarmaCheck

KarmaCheck offers cost-effective background checks for candidates, with the ability to streamline the hiring process by integrating KarmaCheck’s cutting-edge API. Using the API automatically allows you to run background checks on qualified candidates in record time and provides the information you need. Get started today by contacting us for more details.  


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