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When To Use A Canada Background Check

US and Canadian flags side by side.

More US companies are expanding into Canada, which may cause complications in the hiring process. Background screenings for Canadian candidates are considered international background checks, and employers may need to follow different rules and regulations.

Find out how to do a background check on someone in Canada and what to expect when conducting background screenings in Canada.


Over the past few years, more US companies are turning to Canada to expand their business and tap into new talent. Major companies like Twitter, Amazon, Facebook, and Google have opened offices in cities like Waterloo, Toronto, and Vancouver, citing reasons like:

  • Rapidly-growing tech markets
  • Diversity
  • Lower salaries
  • Convenient international location
  • Access to talented, educated employees

But as more US employers take their business across the border, it can cause complications in the hiring process when it comes to conducting consistent, thorough pre-employment background checks.

Screenings for Canadian candidates are considered international background checks. As a result, employers must adhere to different rules and regulations while running background checks.

Here’s what you need to know about , how to do a background check on someone in Canada, and what to expect when it comes to criminal background checks in Canada, employment background checks in Canada, and more. 

When Job Candidates Live In Canada 

For organizations hiring Canadian employees (or looking to expand your global recruiting), you may not have access to all of the same screening options as you would for US candidates. However, you can still run thorough employment background checks in Canada—and you should—for a these reasons:

  • To adhere to your company’s screening policy (and ensure it’s consistent company-wide)
  • To hire the most qualified candidates
  • To protect current employees, and
  • To minimize risks to your company in all of its locations

Here’s a breakdown of the types of background checks employers may conduct for candidates in Canada.

Canada Criminal Background Check

Called the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Criminal Record Check, this screening is a criminal record search performed against the RCMP’s Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC). But before that can happen, candidates must pass an Identity Verification.

First, for the Basic Identity Verification, candidates answer questions generated from their credit file. They have to have an established credit history in Canada to pass this type of verification successfully. However, if candidates fail basic verification, they must do what’s called an Enhanced Identity Verification, which includes using the candidate’s photo identification to confirm their ID.

From there, the RCMP Criminal Record Check can move forward, during which candidates are asked to provide information about convictions on their record. The CPIC database is then checked to determine whether the results match the information provided by the candidate.

Canada Motor Vehicle Records Search

To conduct this screening, Canadian candidates will have to provide their license number and province. From there, complete driving records can be pulled, and can provide information about:

  • Traffic citations
  • Accidents
  • DUI convictions
  • Points on a candidate’s license, and
  • Vehicular crimes

Canada Employment Verification

For Canadian candidates, employers can verify previous employment information through an Employment Verification. This confirms previously held positions, dates employed, and job titles provided by the candidate. Why is this important? It helps ensure candidates are being honest on their resumes and have the experience necessary for the position.

Canada Education Verification

Like Employment Verification, Education Verification confirms a candidate’s academic history, including attendance dates, majors, and degrees earned at higher-level educational institutions (excluding high schools). This verification isn’t limited to just Canadian schools—a candidate’s education can be verified from institutions all over the world.

When A Job Candidate Previously Lived, Worked, Or Studied In Canada

There are a couple of additional instances in which an employer should consider a Canada Background Check. 

  • If a US-based candidate has international experience from Canada on their resume: In this instance, employers can run an International Employment Verification and an International Education Verification. These screenings confirm a candidate’s work or education history (or both) while they were living in Canada.
  • If an international candidate is currently living outside the US or Canada: If the candidate has listed work or educational experience in Canada, employers can conduct International Employment and Education screenings in the country the candidate currently lives in and Canada.

Conduct Thorough & Accurate Canada Background Checks Through GoodHire

Conducting business in the US and Canada simultaneously presents several benefits for employers. But it’s important to remain diligent and compliant in the screening and hiring process while recruiting candidates outside the US.

At GoodHire, we know and understand the nuances of conducting background checks in Canada (and more than 50 other countries, including those in the European Union) to help ensure compliance with international privacy laws. 

What’s more, GoodHire can help employers navigate the Canada screening process to ensure they have the correct requirements and documents every step of the way. GoodHire offers Canada Background Checks as an add-on service, making it easy to screen international candidates when you need to.

Get Started With International Background Checks

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Disclaimer

The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. We advise you to consult your own counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.


About the Author

Ashley Blonquist writes about GoodHire’s employment screening services and how employers can use them to make informed hiring decisions. She is a former news journalist turned digital marketing strategist and freelance copywriter. She specializes in blog and article writing, website strategy and content, emails, and social media posts  covering a wide variety of topics and interests.