A compliant and accurate background screening process protects an organization’s employees, property, customers, and reputation. To help prevent negligent hiring litigation, organizations should ensure their background screening provider checks all of the boxes when it comes to screening applicants and protecting their personal background information.
Criminal record checks are the most common search conducted during a pre-employment background check, but this is only one component of an effective background screening program. For organizations conducting criminal record checks on their new hires or current employees, it is essential that their compliance team ask any third-party background screening providers about their criminal record check processes to ensure they are compliant with RCMP guidelines. To learn more, check out the following information on criminal record checks in Canada.
What is a Canadian Criminal Record Check?
A Criminal Record Check in Canada searches the RCMP’s Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) within the National Repository of Criminal Records. This can also include the Investigative, Identification and Ancillary banks plus Local Police Records which includes the Police Information Portal (PIP). The search is conducted with the candidate’s consent and is based on their name and date of birth, as confirmed through an identity verification process.
What is CPIC?
The CPIC database is the RCMP national database that holds records regarding police activity and criminal activity in Canada, such as criminal convictions. Direct access to CPIC is only given to police departments and other government organizations that are authorized by the RCMP. Background screening that is done through third parties such as ModoHR/ScreeningCanada are able to access CPIC through authorized agreements with individual police partners.
What is the difference between a Summary, Indictable and Hybrid Offence?
The three types of criminal offences in Canada are Summary, Indictable and Hybrid.
A Summary Offence is the least serious criminal offence type in the Canadian Criminal Code. This would include more minor offences like “disturbing the peace.” The sentence for a summary conviction typically carries a maximum of 6 months in jail or a $5,000 fine, and an individual can apply to receive a record suspension three years after the completion of their sentence. Individuals charged with a summary offence are not fingerprinted by the police.
The most serious offence type in the Criminal Code is an Indictable offence. This includes serious charges like theft and violent crimes. A sentence for an indictable offence can be as severe as life in prison, depending on the crime. For some indictable offences, the person charged can choose between a trial with a judge or with a judge and jury.
A hybrid offence is a crime that can be treated as a summary or an indictable offence and it is up to the Crown Counsel to decide which direction to proceed in. This decision is usually based on how serious the crime was. An example of a hybrid offence is theft under $5,000.
Types of Criminal Record Checks
The ScreeningCanada platform offers two different criminal background check searches. The first is widely referred to as a Basic or CPIC search. The second type is a more in-depth search called the Enhanced Criminal Record Search.
Basic Criminal Record Checks
The Basic Criminal Record Check searches the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) within the National Repository of Criminal Records, including the Investigative, Identification and Ancillary banks based on the candidate’s name and date of birth. The results provided are returned as Negative or Incomplete. This search will discover any Canadian convictions that have not been pardoned or discharged, for indictable offences.
Enhanced Criminal Record Checks
A Canadian Criminal Record Check with Local Police Information is referred to as an Enhanced Criminal Record Check. This search checks the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) within the National Repository of Criminal Records, including the Investigative, Identification and Ancillary banks plus local police records which includes Police Information Portal (PIP) based on the candidate’s name and date of birth. The Enhanced Criminal Record Check will uncover convictions for indictable offences as well as summary convictions. The results provided are returned as Negative or Additional Check Recommended.
The Enhanced search will discover any Canadian Criminal Convictions that have not been pardoned or discharged as well as identifiers that additional information (that is recent and relevant) may be on file for the individual. Search result details are not released to third parties, however candidates identified by the Enhanced searchare recommended to attend their Local Police Detachment for a detailed report or to submit fingerprints. Candidates who obtain results independently from their Local Police may share the results with the organization requesting search. For more information on the differences between Basic and Enhanced Criminal Record Checks, check out this chart.
How to get a Criminal Record Check?
There is a myriad of third-party providers that can conduct a Criminal Record Check on an organization’s behalf, but most do not utilize candidate-first technology to ensure accuracy, compliance and ease of use.
When looking at vendors to provide background checks, there are a few items that should be confirmed as being part of their process. In regards to criminal record checks, it is vital that the vendor is following RCMP guidelines and providing a criminal record check that is based on a search of the databanks within CPIC. Learn more about the components of a good background screening provider here.
More about ScreeningCanada
ScreeningCanada is a web application that provides a unified platform to perform multiple searches to conduct any level of screening or due diligence in Canada. The system integrates with HRIS or ATS systems with direct API connections allowing technology to do the work. ScreeningCanada gives an enhanced client and candidate experience with instant live-chat support, further reducing the time required to complete a search.
The platform can be fully customized for your corporate identity and branding guidelines, while ensuring your candidate and customer information remains secure. This includes multiple layers of validation, unique browser footprints and robust API connections for all services through the ScreeningCanada platform. Overall, we offer a unique experience from the client and candidate perspective, store all data in Canada, and have an amazing bilingual team ready to help you 7 days a week!
A criminal conviction in Canada, with no suspensions, will last up to 80 years before being struck from the record as standard. Canadian criminal record checks conducted by searching the CPIC database are the only official way to perform a criminal background check on someone in Canada. The information provided on a criminal record check are records of convictions or findings of guilt under criminal law statutes including the Canadian Criminal Code and the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
The ScreeningCanada web application is one of the options that employers and organizations can use for compliant background screening. To learn more about how ScreeningCanada can help your organization, contact one of our product experts here.