New rules came into force across Ontario on November 1, 2018, the Police Record Checks Reform Act (PRCRA) came into force and standardized the rules around performing police record checks.
What do the rules state?
Under the new rules, when an employer requests a background check, the employee or prospective employee must first provide written consent to the particular check that will be conducted. In addition, the results of the check will first be sent to the employee or prospective employee to check the factual accuracy of the information and consent to its release to the employer.
Police Record Checks
Under the Police Record Checks Reform Act there are three types of record check:
- Criminal record checks
- Judicial matters checks; and
- Vulnerable sector checks.
It’s also important to understand that records checks may have a discriminatory effect, especially for people with mental health conditions. Accordingly, background checks may only be used for the purpose of vetting a suitable employee. Convictions for deliberate contravention of certain sections of the PRCRA can result in a fine up to $5,000.
Key takeaways for employers
- Organizations should update their background check policies and procedures to ensure that they are complying with the new restrictions.
- Organizations should determine which background check they need and what is relevant for their business.
- Before making a request for a background check, the employee or prospective employee’s written consent must be obtained.
- Background checks must only be used for employment purposes and deciding if someone is suitable for a job. It should be clear to prospective employees that background checks are part of the recruitment process.
- Organizations using third party background check companies should confirm that their service providers have also updated their procedures.
If you would like more clarification on carrying out a criminal record check then call our employer advice line on 1 (833) 247-3652 or schedule a callback.