Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Employment Screening

Employers are becoming increasing wary of the risks associated with hiring people who may not be who they claim to be. Where reference checks once served as satisfactory employment verification, the process may now include a verification of education, professional accreditation, credit information, identification and immigration employability status but the real emphasis is shifting toward, security clearances and criminal background checks.

Comprehensive pre-employment background screening and identity verification have become common steps in the recruitment selection process. Here is a little more helpful information on the topic.

The terms “Security Clearance” and “Police Record Check” are often used interchangeably but they are two very different screening processes. A “Security Clearance” is a background screening process facilitated by the federal government that assigns an individual’s eligibility to access certain information or to perform specific tasks. Levels of security clearance range through categories known as Basic Reliability, Enhanced Reliability, Secret and Top Secret. Government employees and the employees of private sector companies providing services to the federal government are required to have levels of security clearance respective of the work being performed.

On the other hand, a “Police Record Check” is a review of the Canadian Police Information Centre or “CPIC” national database administered by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It contains information used by law enforcement officials including a history of criminal offences.

The CPIC database is populated by Canadian police forces and government agencies and queried by authorized “CPIC Agencies” including authorized commercial service providers. CPIC is the only official national database of criminal records available to employers and volunteer based groups with a need to screen new hires.

The most basic CPIC check available to employers identifies whether an individual has a record of a conviction. A more comprehensive “Vulnerable Sector” check is available to organizations such as schools and not-for-profits hiring individuals or volunteers to care for children. The degree of information available is determined by the Criminal Records Act of Canada.

Recently, the RCMP announced that they would only release a Yes or No response for criminal checks performed by third parties. “Yes” means that there is a name match for an unpardoned criminal record. No other information concerning the offense is disclosed.

They also announced that the more comprehensive Vulnerable Sector checks must be done by the person, in person, at the local police station. This takes several weeks with finger printing.

Two pieces of government issued identification must accompany each request for a CPIC - Police Record Check. Interestingly, photo heath cards are not are not permitted.

Human resource professionals, temporary staffing services and professional recruiters are constantly grappling with the balance of protecting individual privacy and human rights while using criminal history investigations for employee selection criteria. Human Rights and Privacy laws require that selection criteria are relevant to the specified employment.

At The People Bank, we are industry leaders in the areas of security clearances, criminal back ground checks, employment verification and the relevant employment legislation. Don’t take risks in your hiring decisions. Call The People Bank.

The People Bank, a division of Design Group Staffing Inc, was recently re-awarded Platinum Club Member status by Deloitte, CIBC Commercial Banking, National Post, and Queen's School of Business for maintaining Canada’s Best Managed Company status for over 9 consecutive years.