Updating Your Info For Criminal Background Checks

Wrong data on police records could sink your job search and volunteering, so fix it now!

Updating Your Info For Criminal Background Checks


Do you have a skeleton (or two) rattling in your closet? Employers may want to find out, especially for jobs that handle money, protect the vulnerable, or are part of the government. They could do a police record check for criminal activity.

You’d have to give consent (usually as part of a broader background review). But do you know what might get revealed? Maybe a lot more than just if you’re on file as a convicted lawbreaker. 

Employers can conduct three main types of searches. Be aware of which kinds of info each one unearths. Then make sure the details are right and up-to-date.

1.  Criminal Record Check
This type of check is the basic search on whether you’re a convicted criminal. All it takes is your name and birthdate. Fingerprints are only needed if there’s trouble confirming your identity.

The Canadian Police Information Centre, operated by the RCMP, has a cross-Canada database of charges and convictions. If there’s an old guilty verdict, you can apply to have the record suspended (formerly called a pardon). That’ll make most minor charges – and some more serious ones – turn invisible eventually. 

2. Criminal Record And Judicial Matters Check (CRJMC)
Once known as a Police Information Check, the CRJMC goes beyond standard criminal records. As a bonus, it also peers into:
•    Findings of guilt under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) within the disclosure period
•    Outstanding entries, such as charges and warrants, judicial orders, peace bonds, probation and prohibition orders
•    Absolute and conditional discharges for 1 or 3 years respectively

3. Vulnerable Sector Screening (VSS)
Applying for a job or volunteer role in overseeing vulnerable people? You’ll almost for sure be subject to the most invasive police record check: Vulnerable Sector Screening. 

Vulnerable folk are those whose age, disability or other circumstances make them dependent on others or at a higher risk of being harmed by someone in a position of authority or trust.

A VSS includes the criminal record, and judicial matters check. On top of this, it exposes sexual and violent offences for which the offender has been pardoned (record suspension). Plus recent cases of not being criminally responsible because of a mental disorder, unless you received an absolute discharge; and non-conviction info such as withdrawn and dismissed charges in exceptional cases.

That’s nothing compared to the invasiveness of when jobs require a security clearance.

In most provinces, the local police service must conduct a VSS in the area the applicant lives. You must also give them the name of your employer, the position title, and a description of how the post deals with vulnerable persons.

Details That Can’t Be Revealed
No record check about you can mention being stopped and questioned by police. Nor can be arrested but not charged with a crime.

Having contact with the police because of a mental health crisis won’t appear either. Contacting the police to report a crime stays hidden too, so don’t hesitate on this account.