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Introduction To Criminal Background Check In Canada

When you have almost reached at the end of the hiring process and shortlisted the candidate for your vacant position, it is important at this stage for you to verify his or her criminal history in Canada.

A candidate needs to go through a screening program for the verification purpose. A criminal record check which is a part of employment verification reveals whether a person was charged with a crime in the past. Besides this, if you have initiated a national criminal record search in Canada but still not sure about the exact information your criminal background check is searching for, nationalpardon are here to help.

We have come up with a detailed understanding of the different levels of crimes reported in Canada and also the variations of the background check available in the country. 

Classification of crimes in Canada

– Indictable offenses (major offense): these offenses are known to be the most serious offences. The maximum penalty for these offences can be lifetime imprisonment

– Summary conviction offenses(minor): these offenses are comparatively less serious and the maximum penalty goes up to six months with a compensation of $5000

– Hybrid offense: hybrid offense includes both major and minor offenses. In most of the cases of indictable offenses, a person has the right to trial by jury.

When it comes to criminal record check Toronto, there are mainly two ways to check whether a person has a criminal history- name based criminal records and certified criminal records

1. Name based criminal records

– Verifying criminal records with the help of names and birthdates is the most common way of initiating a background check.

– Criminal record checks based on the names is performed checking against the RCMP’s Canadian Police Information Centre System. In this process, the check of the National Repository of Criminal Records are done on the basis of a person’s names and date of birth

– This type of checks have some limitations in inspecting a person’s identity due to the differences in spelling, having the same last name and the international changing of names to avoid a record.

2. Certified criminal record check

– When name based criminal record fails to show a definite way of confirming a person’s identity, you can certainly ask for the person’s fingerprints to fulfill the purpose. This method is known as a “certified criminal record check.”

– A fingerprint search of the National Repository of Criminal Records is performed by RCMP’s Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (CCRTIS).

– Sometimes people have fingerprints that cannot be processed electronically. Though such incidents are extremely rare but for such exceptional cases, the police service will submit a paper copy of the concerned person’s fingerprints.

– The fingerprints are used for criminal records check only after the consent of the candidate and the result is shared with a third party whose name has been mentioned by you on the application form.

– The fingerprints sent to CCRTIS for criminal record searches in Canada are only allowed to use for the purpose of identity confirmation. Under no circumstances the fingerprints can be added to a database where they could be subject to search.

Criminal searches available in Canada

In majority of the countries criminal background checks are offered either at the national level or local level. Canada is listed amongst the very few countries where the national and local both checks are available.


The National criminal record is taken from the Canadian Police Information Center (CPIC) that covers all provinces and territories in Canada. Background screening providers are not allowed to access the CPIC directly and need to gain this information from Canadian law enforcement. As the search is nation based, it does not cover up all the levels of offenses. It only includes records which need fingerprints and this indicates that only indictable and hybrid offenses are enlisted in the database.

It is an undeniable fact that each search has its own positive and negative sides. This makes it imperative to know the differences when finalizing the type of Canada criminal search for your screening program.


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