Background Checks / Employee Screening In Canada

Before you finalize any potential candidates in Canada, you must ensure they are legally sanctioned to work in the country. Both candidates and companies must know that a pre-employment background check in Canada is vital for a successful relationship between them.

This article explains the ins and outs of employment background checks in Canada, the parameters you should watch out for, how to begin your employee screening in Canada, and their benefits.

What Is Employment Background Verification?

Employment background checks in Canada, or any other country, is a process where an employee’s financial, commercial, employment, and criminal records are verified to confirm the authenticity of candidature. Even social media profiles, credit history, driving records come under scrutiny.

In general, the most common types of background screening includes:

  • ~Personal Background: This incorporates checks on an employee’s address, age, ethnicity, race, marital status, disability, etc.
  • ~History: This type of background check covers a screening of your employee’s educational qualifications, driving records, employment history, etc.
  • ~Criminal records: These checks are the most common ones, yet the most complex ones. This type incorporates both minor and major offense records.
  • ~Reference checks: References need to be cross-examined so that you get to know how they are likely to perform, what their past experiences have been, and other similar information.
  • ~Drug tests: Drug tests are mandatory for specific industries like aviation driving. It determines if your employees are in the healthiest form or not.

Benefits of Background Checks in Canada

Hiring for any new employee comes with a significant investment. But, even after taking multiple safeguards, there can be mistakes. So, as an employer, you must ensure that you screen candidates adequately before hiring them.

Here are a few benefits of employment background check, Canada:

Ensures security

By filtering out applicants who have the potential to pose a threat to the company, an employer tones down the risk of future workplace friction. Any violent or criminal tendencies of the employees can be detected easily by a comprehensive background check.

Protection against negligent hiring

If any employee is found involved in public misconduct, then the employer or the company can be held responsible, as they are legally and morally obliged to provide a safe workplace for the employees. Thus, a proper background check helps reveal earlier misconducts of the particular employee.

Better hiring quality

Filtering out the candidates with discrepancies in their job applications boosts the company's hiring quality. Candidates looking forward to working in a healthier environment get their motivation to apply.

Protection against occupational fraud

A background check will ensure that an employer saves the company against employee dishonesty. Such dishonesties can affect the company’s reputation, the morale of other employees, and the public's confidence in the company. Background checks offer the employer a chance to avoid these liabilities.

Are Background Checks Legal in Canada?

Yes, an employment background check in Canada is legal and is known as pre-employment screening. The pre-employment background check in Canada is legalized to make sure that employers can verify the claims of their employees, be it educational, professional, or personal. These checks also help an employer examine if a particular candidate possesses the skills required for the job and whether the employee can be a potential threat to the company.

The employer should have a valid reason for employee background screening in Canada and inform the candidate that the screening is a vital part of the hiring procedure. An employer should also collect written consent from the employee for clarity purposes. In addition, certain provinces of Canada have their own set of privacy laws, which an employer must keep in mind while conducting the employee’s background check in Canada.

Things to Know When Performing a Background Check in Canada

Canada’s law on background checks makes it mandatory for employers to conduct the following screenings:

Verification of identity and address

Verification of your employee’s identity and address involves a check for government-issued documents, their passport, driver’s license, photo ID cards, and so on. This clarifies the nationality of employees and if they are legally allowed to work in Canada.

Check for educational qualification

The educational background of your employee is checked by examining their post-secondary records. These records are reviewed by the school registrar's office database, as well as from guidance counselors. This check is essential to confirm if the qualifications of your employees are correct and up to the mark, confirm their CGPAs, their graduation date, etc.

Employment record check

This check confirms your employee’s employment history. You have to contact the previous company’s HR department or payroll department for an employment record check. This check clarifies why the employee left their last job, their date of starting and ending in the company, whether they are eligible for your company, and other similar information.

Criminal record check

Criminal background check Canada has two components: provincial search and national search. Also, there are two types of criminal checks: name-based checks and police information checks. The former check makes use of the candidate’s name and searches through the CPIC or Canadian Police Information System. In contrast, the latter is checked via criminal convictions, court records, etc. 
At times, a third category can be found, which is the vulnerable sector check. It checks if the candidate has any pardoned convictions. This category is specific to the employment sectors like teaching or caregiving.

Screening of references

If your employee has submitted any reference letter, the same needs to be cross-examined. This includes personal and professional references, although not many companies or sectors demand any references.

Screening of credit history

The check for credit history shows if the employee has any poor payment history. It also includes a review for bankruptcy and credit insolvency.

Driving record check

For the Motor Vehicle check, records are pulled out from driver’s license offices to examine if the employee has any offenses registered against him.

Information Essential for a Background Check in Canada

Employers need the candidate's educational qualifications, personal information, and professional experience to conduct an employee background screening in Canada. The specific type of information varies according to the type of employee screening in Canada. Here it is enlisted for you.

Personal information

To verify the identity or address of any employee, an employer needs:

  • ~Full name
  • ~Photo ID proof (e.g., Student card, driver’s license)
  • ~Date of birth
  • ~Social insurance card
  • ~Passport

Education-related information

For employee’s educational background check Canada, an employer needs:

  • ~Degree transcripts from school and college
  • ~Any other degree mentioned in the resume

If an employer needs to verify personal records, such as medical history or criminal records, they must let the employee know beforehand. Other public information, like social media profiles, can be checked directly without prior notification to the employee.

Process Involved in Background Checks

Employee background checks in Canada  have become easier thanks to technological advancements. To confirm the trustworthiness of an employee, an employer must conduct a pre-employment background check in Canada. 

For such a background screening, these are the basic steps:

Be consistent in checking policies

All the employees should be aware of parameters. Processes should not be haphazard. If there is inconsistency in checking, where some steps are reserved for specific candidates, the employer might face legal issues.

Sort the background checks that are required

There are multiple types of employee background screening in Canada, which are not applicable for all sectors. Employers must know checks are allowed for a particular sector. For instance, drug tests might not be required for all companies or sectors.

Opt for legal advice

While conducting a background screening of employees, an employer might have to unearth sensitive and tricky information. Thus, it is better to gather this information after consulting a lawyer to avoid legal action for the employer or company.

Have a clear idea of what information are needed

Knowing what to look for will make the task quicker and easier. Ask ahead of your employees to provide details of their address, birth date, social security number, and likewise.

Notify employees before conducting background checks

Canadian law binds an employer to notify the employee about the background check. An employer needs to make sure that they request the employee to grant access to their personal information, like medical records.

Conduct the checks

Verification of the employment history is done by cross-referencing the employee’s previous office. The employer must ring up the educational institutes the employee has claimed to attend to clarify the academic qualifications. The employees' credit reports can be checked online in Canada via the official portals, verifying which requires the social security number.

Offer a review to the employees in case of discrepancy

After conducting the background check, an employer can come across some discrepancies. Screenings can sometimes be incorrect, so it is better to offer a chance to the employees to clear any misunderstandings.

Industries and Situations That are Most Suitable for Background Checks in Canada

Any industry, be it transportation, retail or legal, uses a background screening to gain clarity on their hires. Here are a few of the suitable ones:

  • ~Employee background screening Canada is most suitable for the sensitive industries and sectors, like caregiving, teaching, etc., which involves close contact with children. This also includes other sectors where ‘special needs’ populations are most interacted with, like caring for people with disabilities. 
  • ~For the transportation industry, an essential check is the driver’s license check. 
  • ~Criminal background check Canada is another widespread screening in the country done in financial sectors, legal sectors, health care industries, and likewise.  

How does Multiplier help With Background Checks?

As you can see, establishing your global business can be a tricky affair, and many areas demand your focus. Onboarding foreigners is a long journey and involves multiple steps. So, while you focus on setting up or expanding your business, why not take the help of a PEO service for looking after employee hiring? 

Multiplier is one such excellent service provider that can smooth the employee onboarding process, payroll, relevant taxation, and much more. Additionally, our in-house experts are well-versed in the hiring laws of various countries, and hence, we help you onboard the best global talent in a compliant manner. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to consult my employees before opting for their background checks?

For employee background screening Canada there need not be any consultation with the employees but prior notification. Before accessing their private records, an employer must notify the employee by Canadian law. However, this rule doesn’t apply to public records.

What are the limitations for any candidate’s background check in Canada?

Conducting a thorough background check for any employee can be time-consuming. It is also a costly affair for the company.

How far can criminal background check Canada go?

Any criminal background check, Canada requires retained documents until the candidate is 80 years old. It is also subjected to the condition that there have been no reported offenses against the candidate in the past ten years.

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