What do employers need to know?

A province-by-province look at requirements, legal considerations
By Michael Howcroft and Noemi Blasutta
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/02/2016

Background screening job candidates can be an important part of an employer’s recruitment process, helping to identify the best-qualified candidates and to manage what can be significant risks associated with a bad hiring decision.  

There are several different types of background checks that are generally permissible in Canada and the type of checks an employer may wish to consider will depend on the nature of the position for which the candidate is being considered. Most widely used are those that relate to the educational, employment, criminal and credit history of candidates.

Employers are understandably eager to learn as much about a candidate as possible, however, they must tread carefully. An improperly conducted background check (or a properly conducted one where information obtained is improperly used or disclosed) can expose an employer to liability. It is critical, therefore, that any background check is conducted in accordance with applicable provincial law. Federally regulated employers must ensure compliance with federal law. Both privacy and human rights legislation, discussed here in relation to provincial law, exist at the federal level as well.