Background check process a crime (Editor’s notes)

Long wait times for criminal records hurt employers and candidates
By Todd Humber
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/04/2010

Finding out if a job applicant has a criminal record has become harder just at a time when obligations for employers in ensuring safe workplaces are becoming more onerous.

Changes to how the RCMP handles criminal record checks, announced late last year, have made it more difficult and time-consuming to confirm whether an individual has a criminal record.

As outlined in one of this issue’s stories (“Criminal checks hit roadblocks” ), the RCMP will no longer confirm an individual has a criminal record without getting her fingerprints. It’s hard to argue with the policy change. Using only name and date of birth as identifiers inevitably triggers false positives — take the name Mike Smith, for example. A quick Canada411 search shows 297 Mike Smiths in Toronto, 70 in Vancouver and 44 in Montreal. So in just three Canadian cities, there are more than 400 Mike Smiths. Undoubtedly, some of them have criminal records. And it’s possible a couple of them share birthdays.