For most people in Canada, our primary means of income is through getting a job with an employer. It’s the easiest, most straightforward way to get a reliable, timely salary that we can structure our lives around and start building a future. But getting a job requires submitting applications to employers that are looking for new workers, and, depending on the nature of the job, this can result in needing more information about the person being hired.
This is especially true for more specific roles that may involve the handling of money, or working with a demographic that is particularly vulnerable such as children. In cases like these, employers need to do what is referred to as “due diligence,” and not simply take a person at their word that all the information they have volunteered thus far is accurate. They need to take an extra step and verify with some kind of government certification that everything that’s been disclosed so far is legitimate.
The Necessity of Confirmation
This verification has a few different terms, like background check, or criminal record search, or background screening, but it all amounts to the same thing. If someone finds you promising enough that you’ve made it past certain “elimination rounds” for employability, they are now at the point where they want to ensure that your background is clear, and, under certain circumstances, you are “bondable” for insurance purposes.
If you’ve never been convicted of a criminal charge, there’s nothing to worry about, as nothing will come up in a typical check. On the other hand, if you were convicted of a charge, it will be present on your record and show in a check, or, if it occurred when you were a minor, may no longer be there.
One important thing to remember is that even if a potential employer wants to conduct a background check, this doesn’t leave you completely at the mercy of forces beyond your control. You can run your own check if you’re unsure as to whether or not you have anything on your record, and here’s how to do it.
Performing a Check
Regardless of where you live in Canada, all information about convictions and charges can be retrieved by people anywhere because this information is centrally stored with the RCMP. So even if a petty theft conviction was handled by local police in Kelowna, BC, this will still come up in a check years later by someone conducting a search in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
If you want to conduct a background check on yourself, you should first make sure that you’re willing to pay for it. Background checks are not free, and if an employer is seriously considering you for a position, this means they are willing to go as far as to pay for the search to take things to the next level.
If you’re willing to pay, then you can move on to conducting a search on the Internet for a local or national service. There is a wide range of different companies and services that offer these checks. Such routine checks do not necessarily have to be expensive and some services offer checks for less than $40.
Sometimes a criminal conviction isn’t as simple as being present or absent. In the case of juvenile offenses, for example, a criminal charge can eventually be sealed and no longer appear on a typical background check. This will only occur after a designated number of years have passed since the conviction and its sentence were completed. In other cases, even if a criminal conviction is present, it may be possible to have it sealed with a Record Suspension, provided that certain criteria are met.
A conviction on your record can have a big impact on your career prospects, but there are ways to mitigate this. Talking to experienced professionals can give you a better idea of what your options are.