May 1st, 2017 | Sterling

Background Screening Policy Considerations in Canada


Background screening was not something that I gave any thought to until I started working at Sterling Talent Solutions. Sure, I had heard of companies doing it, but thought of it more in relation to executives, the financial industry or classified government work and not for employees like me. But since working here, as I have learned more about the employee background screening industry, I have learned there is much more to it than just a simple background check. Background screening is one of the many components to make sure a company hires the best candidate for the job.

With the variety of federal and provincial privacy and human rights laws in Canada, it is highly important to have a consistent and compliant background screening policy for your company. A background screening policy is a company’s first line of defence in cases of possible litigation. Having a process in place to request, receive and evaluate background checks will allow you to better defend your screening program.

There are many things to contemplate when putting together a background screening policy for your company from deciding the purpose to making sure your program is compliant with federal, provincial and sector-specific laws. Below are just a few of the items which you need to consider in an organization’s background screening program:

  • What is your purpose and scope of the background screening program?
  • Who in the company is responsible for running the background screening program?
  • At what point in the hiring process the background check will be requested?
  • Are all of your applicants signing a written consent authorizing the background check prior to any background screening request?
  • Is there a process in place to protect the privacy and confidentiality of information that is included in background screening forms and reports?
  • Are applicants allowed time to review background screening results and can they dispute the accuracy of the report?
  • Is there a policy detailing how long (and why) the company will retain background check results including legal obligations for the process?

If you can answer the questions above, then you are well on the way to creating a compliant employee background screening policy for your organization. To find out more details on many steps to create this policy, download our Background Screening Policy Considerations in Canada Checklist. Sterling Talent Solutions is not a law firm and any materials or opinions presented are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Please consult with your legal counsel to obtain advice with respect to your particular situation.

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.