Criminal Record Checks in Canada can be a complex topic. There are two different levels of searches available – a Basic Criminal record Check and an Enhanced Criminal Record Check. Both types of criminal record checks in Canada require the individual’s signed consent, and an RCMP approved form of ID verification before proceeding.
Should I request a Basic or an Enhanced Criminal Record Check?
This is one of the most common questions asked of background screening providers. Hiring managers and recruiters want to know the difference between the two searches so they can make an informed decision in the onboarding of candidates.
Although both criminal record checks include a search of the RCMP Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database, there are some key differences that are important to understand.
What is included in a Basic Criminal Record Check?
The Basic Criminal Record Check is a search, based on an individual’s name and date-of-birth, of active criminal files in the RCMP National Repository of Criminal Records. This search will report criminal convictions for indictable offences, that the candidates has not received a record suspension for.
What is a Record Suspension?
A pardon, now known as a record suspension, can be applied for through the Government of Canada. It allows individuals who have been convicted of an offence, completed their sentence and have not been convicted of any further crimes, to have their criminal record removed from the CPIC database.
Once a record suspension has been granted, the individual’s criminal record check will come back as clear, with no convictions found.
What is not included in a Basic Criminal Record Check?
Basic Criminal Record Checks do not report on convictions for summary offences. Summary offences are the least serious kind of offences found in Canada’s Criminal Code.
Convictions for which the individual has been granted a pardon or record suspension for are also not uncovered as part of a Basic Criminal Record Check, as these records are no longer available in the CPIC database.
What is included in an Enhanced Criminal Record Check?
The Enhanced Criminal Record Check, also referred to as an Enhanced Police Information Check (E-PIC), is comprised of two components:
- The Basic Criminal Record Search, as described above.
- A query of the Investigative and Identification data banks of CPIC and a search of the Police Information Portal (PIP). These queries of national data banks provide significant information that is at the heart of an enhanced criminal record check. This check is the most comprehensive criminal record check allowed in Canada.
The Enhanced Criminal Record Check provides visibility into the following key areas:
- Discharged findings of guilt may be identified if relevant and releasable (Absolute discharges within 1 year and conditional discharges within 3 years).
- Additional convictions, either indictable or summary, that have not yet been populated into the RCMP’s National Repository of Criminal Records (CPIC). The RCMP data bank queried in the basic criminal record check may not be fully up to date with recent indictable convictions and does not include any summary convictions (lesser criminal offences).
- Summary convictions (only if convicted within the past five years).
- Outstanding warrants.
- Criminal charges presently before the courts, including restrictive bail or release conditions.
- Peace bonds and prohibition or probation orders in effect.
Similarities Between Basic and Enhanced Criminal Record Checks:
- All reported convictions are from the secure RCMP national database, CPIC, and are populated by submissions from our Canadian police services across the country.
- Both services are completed in relatively the same turnaround time and by Canadian police services who are trusted and accredited providers to ScreeningCanada.
Enhanced Criminal Record Check Considerations
- A potential delay between a conviction of an indictable offence and the record being updated in the National Repository (CPIC).
There have been times where some indictable convictions have not been updated in the National Repository. This potential gap in a Basic Criminal Record Check is addressed by the Enhanced Criminal Record Check, which searches the Police Information Portal (PIP), a data bank that includes up to date, current entries from police records management systems across Canada. That same data bank has information of summary convictions as well. With an Enhanced Criminal Record Check, organizations can have the comfort and confidence that a complete search of potential criminal convictions was conducted.
- The Enhanced Criminal Record check can offer potentially more impactful material and information that will allow you to make a fully informed and supported decision.
- Organizations today should take into consideration if the candidate’s criminal history is recent or relevant to the position they are applying to.
The fact that a candidate is currently facing charges on serious allegations should result in a meaningful conversation with the individual.
- When there are current charges, the organization should assess the risk the candidate might pose towards the organization and its clients/customers/public.
If a candidate was charged for an assault, would that impact your company brand if they were interacting with the public on your behalf and that information was discovered?
At the end of the day, the reason organizations conduct criminal record checks is to reliably demonstrate due diligence in their onboarding processes to protect employees, and clients or members of the public that they serve.
Any or all of these can quickly be negatively impacted should a hiring manager not be aware of easily retrieved and discoverable information located via the Enhanced Criminal Record Check.
To learn more about criminal record checks in Canada, check out our Ultimate Guide to Canadian Criminal Record Checks.