Types of Background Checks

If you have been asked to submit a background check, it can be difficult to know which background check is the right one for your particular circumstances. At Reliability Screening, we’ve created this page to help clear up any confusion, by providing a clear explanation of the various background checks available to you in Canada. In this helpful resource, we will cover the three main different types of background checks you can expect might be requested of you for Canadian background checks.

Different Types of Background Checks and Their Purposes

Here in Canada, you will find a multitude of background checks available for a wide variety of purposes.

It is helpful to understand the differences between these background checks; and it is essential to know which background check you require.

Here’s an overview of Canadian background checks, what each does and which can be used for specific purposes.

Criminal Record Check

staff needs background check for employer

While not acceptable for all requirements, the Criminal Record Check is certainly the fastest.

This check searches the Canadian Police Information Centre  by the applicant’s Name and Date of Birth. This check does not require fingerprints. As such, the results can be returned quickly, and that is indeed the big upside to the Criminal Record Check check.

However, it can at times be difficult to rule out the existence of a criminal record by name and date of birth alone. If there is any confusion with this type of background check (e.g. common names where someone else with the same name has a record), the individual will be instructed to submit a fingerprint-based check. This can cause delays in the process. If you need a background check for employment purposes, for example, such a delay could make the difference between getting hired and not getting hired.

A Premium option is also available for the Criminal Record Check, which includes broader search criteria.

As Reliability Screening is an authorized partner for Criminal Record Check checks, we would be glad to speak with you as to whether this is the right type of background check for you.

RCMP Certified Criminal Background Check

work visa application with passportThe most widely accepted document for background screening purposes is an RCMP Certified Criminal Background CheckThis type of background check is an applicant’s only option for many requirements within Canada, and almost all foreign requirements such as visas, immigration, adoption, etc.

Why is that the case?

Simply put, the RCMP  Certified Criminal Background Check uses fingerprints as its basis for investigation. Specifically, as Canada’s federal law enforcement and investigative authority, the RCMP uses an applicant’s fingerprints to determine, or rule out, the existence of a criminal record. This check is the only one that is certified, making it valid in almost every situation.

The FBI is generally seen as the United States equivalent of fingerprint-based applications for their version of this check, with the FBI version called Identity History Summary Checks. While Reliability Screening is not a partner for the FBI checks, we can perform fingerprinting for those in Canada who are applying for the FBI Identity History Summary Checks.

Vulnerable Sector Checks

teacher in classroom

The Vulnerable Sector Check was created in response to increased awareness of the need for transparency of those in heightened positions of authority.

Specifically, this type of background check is designed to see whether the individual in question has a record of sexual offences.

The protected groups in this sector include children as well as disabilities and other conditions that leave them more exposed to potential risks associated with those tasked with their well-being.

Vulnerable Sector Checks include:

  • Criminal Convictions from Criminal Record Check and local databases
  • Summary convictions within five years
  • Outstanding entries
  • Absolute & conditional discharges

coach on softball field

These checks, however, do not include:

  • Convictions under provincial statutes
  • Foreign information
  • Specific databases such as PARIS & SIP

Reliability Screening does not perform Vulnerable Sector Checks. 

If you require a Vulnerable Sector Check, please contact the local police service in your place of residence.

Other Types of Background Checks

Aside from criminal background checks, today’s society sees a wide variety of background checks in place. These range from financial backgrounds to professional backgrounds to personal backgrounds and much more.

At one point or another, it is extremely likely that you have been asked to submit to a background check – or may have the subject of a background check or investigation without being made explicitly aware of it. These could include:

  • Credit checks (for credit card applications, leases, mortgages, and even for employment!)
  • Medical records check
  • Educational background check
  • Reference check – both personal/character reference as well as professional (for employment, primarily, but also for leases and other situations)
  • Social media background check (when employers look at social media channels & other sites to investigate a candidate or employee)
  • Driver & Vehicle records (for licensing as well as for insurance)
  • Background checks for immigration & travel visas

travel visas in passport with suitcase packed

While Reliability Screening does not directly participate in these processes – nor do we advise on them – we do offer a couple of important services that are related.

When you require documents to be notarized for purposes of submitting to these or other checks, we can help! Our document notarization services are both convenient and effective.

If you require documents to be authenticated for embassy purposes, such as applications for visas or immigration, we authenticate a wide variety of documents including birth certificates; marriage & divorce certificates; transcripts, degrees and other educational documents; and much more.

What Happens to Those With a Criminal Record?

For individuals who do have a criminal record, submissions to the RCMP and Criminal Record Check can still be made.

However, the RCMP quotes 120 business days to respond to these applications, and Criminal Record Check results will be ‘incomplete.’

The only other option is what is called a Declaration. This type of submission requires that the applicant declares the full extent of their criminal record, and the document will confirm that no further convictions exist.

How Reliability Screening Can Help

Reliability Screening is accredited by the RCMP to submit electronic fingerprints to CCRTIS in support of criminal record checks, in addition to Criminal Record Check checks. We also perform document authentication & legalization, other fingerprinting services, notarization (conditions apply) and more – both in-store, on-site at your location, and remotely for customers located outside Canada.

Getting A Criminal Record Check Outside of Canada

Whether you’re currently living in Canada, or have spent some time there and are currently abroad, we can help guide you through the criminal record check process no matter where you are in the world. From initial consultations and helping with fingerprinting to sending off your information and providing you with results ASAP, we’re able to help you sort this process out in a timely manner.

The criminal record check process can be confusing, so if you have any questions at all, reach out to our team today!

We would be happy to work through your requirement and determine the best course of action.