Conducting Canadian Employee Criminal Record Checks

An employee background check is a process employers use to ensure an employee or potential employee is who they say they are.

Employers have the opportunity to check a person’s criminal record, employment history, education and any other activities before making the final decision to hire them.

In Canada, pre-employment screening is a common recruitment practice at many Canadian businesses. There are a number of different background checks that can be conducted including criminal record checks, credit checks, education and qualification checks, reference checks, social media checks, and driving record checks.

As a leading company in Ottawa that specializes in managing fingerprint-based background checks, this resource will focus on information regarding conducting Canadian employee criminal record checks.


What Types of Employee Criminal Background Checks Can Be Conducted?

Employers can choose to conduct one of three types of criminal background checks in Canada:


  • Criminal Record Checks (CRC) – this check brings up a summary and criminal convictions.
  • Police Information Check (PIC) – this check will bring up any convictions, discharges or outstanding charges on a person’s record.
  • Vulnerable Sector Checks (VSC) – this check is the most comprehensive of the three. It conducts all the checks a CRC and PIC conduct and includes any sexual offence convictions as well.


It’s important that if you are choosing to do background checks, you must remain unbiased. You cannot discriminate against a particular applicant or group of candidates. It’s also important to note, that if an applicant does have a record, you cannot discriminate against them unless the conviction directly affects their ability to do the job they’re applying for.

When Is a Background Check Conducted?

There are a variety of industries where a criminal background check is often required such as childcare and education, healthcare, financial services, government workers, and information and technology.

Record checks are more likely to be conducted in these industries since individuals will be regularly in contact with vulnerable persons (for example, teachers with children).


The Law of Background Checks in Ontario

In Ontario, the Police Record Check Reform Act authorizes employers to conduct CRCs, PICs, and VSCs.


This legislation also has protections for employees. Two of the main protections include:


  • The individual who is being asked to provide a police record check must consent. The individual must also receive a copy of the criminal record check to confirm that it is correct.
  • Some background check information cannot be disclosed.


Generally speaking, employees can only request a criminal background check after an applicant has been sent a conditional offer of employment.


Fingerprinting Services With Reliability Screening

Reliability Screening is an Ottawa-based service provider of background screening services for a diverse range of organizations and clientele.

Our services include fingerprinting, criminal background checks, record checks and document authorizations. If you require our services for pre-employment screening, we can help! We have the ability to bring conveniently bring our services to you.

Contact our team to schedule a consultation.