Which Canadian industries may require a criminal record check for employment?

Vimal Sivakumar
Published: February 20, 2024

Criminal record checks are a key part of ensuring that a company keeps their employees, customers and the public as safe as possible.

In Canada, there are three basic types of background checks that an employer can ask prospective employees to pass as part of the hiring process.

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The type of check requested often varies by the industry that a particular job is in, and employers in some industries are more likely to request an employee background check than others (but more on that later).

The three types of criminal record/background checks

The first type of background check is a basic Criminal Record Check (CRC). Performed by local police, these background checks are most requested by employers in industries that do not work with vulnerable persons (adults and children).

The purpose of a CRC is to “detail charges and convictions that have resulted in a criminal record.” A CRC may include summary convictions (for minor offences) as well as indictable convictions (for more serious offences). Conversely, CRCs omit information related to pending charges and activity that did not result in a conviction.

An Enhanced Police Information Check (E-PIC) is typically requested by employers hiring for positions that require particularly high levels of trust. Examples of these positions may include law enforcement and security. Beyond what is included in a CRC, an E-PIC will outline an individual’s pending charges, probation orders, and non-conviction records.

Vulnerable Sector Checks (VSCs), as the name suggests, are reserved for employees who will be working with groups such as the elderly, those with disabilities, and/or children. These types of checks include the same information contained within a CRC as well as any record of sexual offences committed by the individual.

Employment industries likely to request a criminal record check

According to MyCRC, a division of the global background check organization Certn*, the following six industries are “likely” to require a criminal record check for employment.

Healthcare and Social Services: Those working in most healthcare settings (as a nurse, social worker etc.) will often need a CRC, and may also be asked to complete a VSC due to the nature of who the employed person(s) will be working with.

Education and Childcare: Working directly with children, who are commonly viewed as one of the primary vulnerable populations, workers in this industry (teachers, classroom assistants, daycare employees etc.) will likely require a CRC and/or a VSC.

Transportation: Public safety is a significant concern with respect to transportation occupations such as long-haul truck driving, taxi/rideshare driving and public transit operation. Therefore, an employer in this industry will likely request a CRC.

Finance and Banking: A CRC is likely to be requested by employers in this sector due to the fact that employees in this industry handle sensitive and personal financial information.

Law Enforcement and Security: Thorough background checks (typically an E-PIC) are conducted on Canadians looking to work as police officers, security guards, and in other related positions.

Government: For the same reason listed in the section above about finance/banking, the handling of sensitive information (ex. intelligence agency employment) and trust required to protect national security (military etc.) often means that government jobs will require employees to pass a CRC. The type of check requested for government sector jobs is often more comprehensive than a typical CRC.

*Certn is a trusted partner of some of Canada’s top hiring platforms, including LinkedIn’s Talent Hub, SmartRecruiters and SAP

Focus: Canada’s healthcare and transportation industries

Two industries of focus above, healthcare/social services and transportation, are also a particularly important part of Canada’s future. Presenting a significant potential opportunity for new and prospective immigrants to Canada, workers in these two industries are in high demand across the country.

This is made most evident by the introduction of category-based Express Entry draws earlier this year, which expand on the standard Express Entry system that Canada has operated since 2015. Beginning in June 2023, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has conducted category-based draws aimed at welcoming immigration candidates with specific proficiencies and work experience that can help Canada address nationwide labour market challenges.

This year, IRCC has chosen to focus on immigration candidates who align with the following six categories:

  • French-language proficiency
  • Healthcare work experience
  • Work experience in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professions
  • Transport occupation work experience
  • Work experience in Trades
  • Work experience in Agriculture and Agri-Food occupations

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