September 27th, 2016 | Sterling

Background Screening in Canada

New employees are one of the biggest investments a business can make. With each new hire companies invest time, training, money and resources. When recruiting new employees, companies need additional information to help them verify they are making informed hiring decisions. According to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), 9 out of 10 employers conduct criminal record checks on job applicants. Every company has a different approach, preference and requirement for conducting background checks. However, employers in all areas are looking for the most comprehensive picture of their candidates.

There are many components to background checks, but the fundamentals include criminal records checks, employment verifications, education and credential verifications and reference checks. It is crucial to understand the various rules covering Canadian privacy, human rights and consumer reporting laws. Employers need to have a written policy that is vetted by legal counsel and followed consistently throughout the candidate hiring process.

Background Screening Basics

Our Background Screening 101 Guide shares insights on the most common types of criminal background checks, types of credit checks, reference checks, resume verifications, compliance tips and the best screening practices for your business. Below are just a few points that are discussed in the eBook:

  1. Criminal ChecksCriminal record checks is the most widely used background screening tool, but they are the most complex and misunderstood. There are three components to a criminal record check that bring different types of information and value to the screening process: Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) National Repository of Criminal Records, Local Police Information and Pardoned Sex Offender Database. Not every candidate should be screened using all three searches. For example a search of the National Repository may provide employers with the adequate level of information An increasing number of organizations see the value in rechecking. This is a service that STS can easily support and we work with our clients to implement compliant processes that meet their needs
  2. Employment Credit Checks – An employment credit check is used to determine if a candidate is financially responsible and to verify identification information. It is not designed to determine debt service ratio nor will it have a negative effect on a person’s credit score. Credit checks should be appropriate for the position, transparent to the applicant and only requested when necessary.
  3. Reference ChecksReference checks are a well-known technique for screening job candidates. They enable employers to speak with former supervisors and managers to reveal a candidate’s strengths, weaknesses and overall performance. In order to conduct a thorough reference check, proper timing to reach the supervisor and a well-designed list of questions are essential.
  4. Resume Verifications – In a competitive job market, some candidates may do anything they can to get potential employees to notice their resumes. Unfortunately, some of what appears on their resumes may be questionable. According to SHRM, 58% of employers have detected falsehoods or deception on a candidate’s resume. In some cases, they could be embellishing their education, job titles, responsibility, payroll and start and end dates. Education and employment verification services contact the past employer’s human resources and payroll departments to make sure that the candidate’s information is factual and without personal bias.
  5. Importance of Compliance – Employers need to be aware of the various rules which are a part of Canadian privacy and human rights laws. While Canada’s private-sector privacy laws do not generally impose fines, human rights and privacy violations can have serious consequences for employers. Background check polices much be developed with these rules in mind, so businesses do not risk exposure to privacy and human rights violations that can result in monetary penalties or time-consuming investigations and harm to the company’s brand.

The background screening industry is constantly changing with new methods and technologies continuously being created. Taking advantage of a partnership with an industry leader in the area of compliance by staying up-to-date ensures that the most suitable applicants work for your company.

You can find insights and critical information on the most common types of criminal background checks, employment and education verification processes and how to maximize your company’s background screening process in our eBook by clicking here.

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.