Types of Background Checks

Have you been asked to submit a background check?

Are you wondering which background check is right for your 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.

Different Types of Background Checks for Different 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 (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 check for you.

RCMP Certified Criminal Background Check

work visa application with passport

The most widely accepted document for background screening purposes is an RCMP Certified Criminal Background Check. This 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, we can help those in need process their Identity History Summary Checks with the FBI. Alternatively, if you simply need your fingerprints on the official FD-258 or FD-1164 form then we can also help with that!

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 check is designed to see whether the individual in question has a record of sexual offenses.

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 been 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.

If you have any questions as to which background check you need to undergo, or you’re ready to hire us for one or more of our services, please contact us today

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

Why might I need to get a background check in Canada?

Depending on your specific situation, some background checks are better to get than others. Here are examples of common background checks and when you might be asked to get them:
Criminal Record Check: applying for a volunteer or employment position (unless it’s a position in a vulnerable system) 
RCMP Criminal Record Check: applying for visa, immigration status, adoption, or if you’re applying to volunteer or work in a vulnerable system
Credit Checks: credit card applications, leases, mortgages, or employment 

What are the most common background checks requested in Canada?

From criminal background checks to financial and professional background checks there are a wide variety of checks in place. Here are some of the most common ones in Canada. Here are the most common Canadian background checks:
– RCMP Certified Criminal Background Check 
– Criminal Record Check 
– Vulnerable Sector Check
– Reference Check 
– Educational Background Check 
– Medical Record Check 
– Credit Check

If you have any more questions about the various background checks you may need to undergo, contact our team in Ottawa to get started with our services.

What information is provided by background checks?

The various background checks available provide different depths of information about the person. Here is an overview of the information provided by common Canadian background checks:
Criminal Record Check: provides information on any convictions that match the applicant’s name and date of birth
RCMP Certified Criminal Record Check: used to confirm your identity and provides information on whether a person has ever been charged or convicted of a crime in Canada. 
Vulnerable Sector Check: provides information on whether a person has had a record of suspension for sexual offences to protect vulnerable people and children. 
At Reliability Screening, our team can help you obtain a Criminal Record Check and an RCMP Certified Criminal Records Check. For Vulnerable Sector Checks, you have to contact the local police service in your place of residence. Contact our team to get started on our Canadian background check services.

What is the benefit of getting a Criminal Record Check versus an RCMP Certified Criminal Record Check?

If you require a background check and have the choice of just getting a Criminal Record Check, this is one of the fastest criminal background checks in Canada since it does not use fingerprints. The Criminal Record Check test simply uses your name and date of birth to see whether you have any criminal record or charges pending. This check is usually acceptable for many circumstances and you get the results much quicker than a fingerprints based background check. 
If you require a background check, our team at Reliability Screening will be able to help you determine which type of background check is right for you.