Background Check Halifax: Key Things to Know


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The easiest way to understand background checks is to think of them as risk assessment tools – they’re a way for businesses, property managers, and institutions to get more information about someone.

This is because background checks reveal information about a person’s past behaviours, job history, and criminal history to help with decision making. Here at Certn we provide background checks, also called police checks or criminal record checks, for businesses of all sizes. We also provide personal background checks for people who want to proactively see what shows up searches.

Certn is headquartered in BC and has screening experts who’ve been working with clients across Canada since we launched online criminal record checks in 2017. Keep reading to find out more about how to get a background check Halifax and answers to frequently asked questions.

What Shows Up on a Background Check in Canada?

There are different kinds of background checks and the kind you need depends on the purpose, whether it’s being done as part of job-related screening, to apply for a professional licence, or for a volunteer position. This goes for checks in Nova Scotia and all provinces and territories in Canada.

Below we’ve listed common checks and why you might be asked to run them, with a focus on checks for employment and property management.

Criminal Record Checks

Criminal record checks involve checking local, provincial, and/or federal databases for information on arrests, convictions, and other police-related matters. Criminal record checks are usually what people often think of when they think of background checks because they’re so common. 

Can an employer ask for a criminal record check in Halifax?

Yes. However, even if you have a criminal history, it doesn’t mean you can’t get a job. 

Employers are required to look carefully at each individual case and evaluate how having a criminal history may impact the responsibilities of the job. A criminal history doesn’t necessarily exclude you from the workforce, but it might impact the kinds of roles you can apply to. This blog post on jobs that require a criminal record check has more information.

Can your landlord ask you for a criminal record check? 

While criminal record checks are commonly used in job screening, there are some province-specific restrictions around criminal record checks by landlords on tenants. 

According to the Residential Tenancies Program, Nova Scotia landlords can conduct credit and background checks on prospective tenants but aren’t allowed to force tenants to provide their Social Insurance Number.

Credit Checks

For certain roles, credit reports from credit bureaus might be reviewed to evaluate your financial trustworthiness. Whether a credit check is permitted as part of the job screening process depends on where you live. In Nova Scotia, like other places across Canada, credit checks to screen candidates are permitted, but like other background checks, they have to be relevant to the job.

Driver Abstracts

Driver abstracts and driving record checks look for a history of traffic violations or accidents. Driving record checks are part of a comprehensive background screening process that helps employers make informed decisions about who to hire, specifically for roles where safe and responsible driving is essential.

Employment Verification

Employment verification describes the process through which someone confirms the accuracy of the employment information you list in your application. Employment verification vets job titles, timelines, and other work-related details. Employment history checks a common part of the job screening process and are done to ensure that the information you provide is truthful and accurate. It can also happen as part of the rental application process.

Education Verification

Similarly, education verification is a process through which someone confirms the accuracy of your educational background as cited in your application. Education verification confirms the authenticity of the institutions, dates of enrollment, and any degrees, diplomas, and certificates you may have listed. Education verification is an important step for employers to ensure that they’re hiring people with the necessary qualifications and experience for the job, and contributes to the overall integrity of their hiring process.

Credential Verification

For jobs requiring specific licences or certifications, credential verification confirms the validity of the professional designations you list in an application. This is common in pre-employment screening in industries such as health care, law, and trades where a professional licence to practice or operate is the law.

Social Media Screening

Some background checks might involve searching your public online presence to look for specific content or discrepancies that might impact your ability to perform a certain role. Where allowed (it’s allowed in Nova Scotia), social media screening involves examining publicly available information on platforms such as Instagram, Twitter (X), LinkedIn, Facebook, and others. While public information is fair game, employers have to respect candidates’ privacy and avoid seeking or using information that’s not relevant to the job. (This is why Certn’s social media screening reports only show flagged content.)

Again, in this blog post, we explore background check Halifax, but here’s more general information on how background checks work based on check type.

What Happens with the Information from a Background Check?

As we covered above, the results of background checks in Canada are used by employers for hiring decisions, landlords for rental applications, institutions for security clearances, and more. However, the specific outcomes vary depending on the nature of the background check and the employer’s policies. 

Employers must follow applicable laws and regulations when conducting any background screening. In Canada, employee background checks are covered by the Privacy Act and provincial privacy acts. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in the United States outlines requirements for the use of consumer reports (which includes background checks) in employment decisions and how to provide candidates with an opportunity to address any discrepancies or adverse findings. Here’s more about what US employers need to know about adverse action requirements

Fair and Transparent Background Checks

Fair and transparent use of background check information helps maintain trust between employers and candidates. Above all, background checks should be tailored to the specific needs of the job or requirements. Blanket background checks that include irrelevant information can inadvertently lead to discrimination. 

For instance, asking for information about your driving history when it’s unrelated to the job or job function may violate anti-discrimination laws. Additionally, conducting a targeted background check is more efficient and cost-effective because unnecessary checks can be time consuming and may result in extra expenses.

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Can I Do a Background Check on Myself Canada?

Yes, you can do a background check on yourself in Canada. While checking criminal records is often done by employers and landlords, you can check your records too.

Canadian criminal records documenting offences that fall under federal and provincial jurisdiction. They’re maintained by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in a Canada-wide database called the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC). Records can be requested in person or online, but checks on a person can only be ordered by individuals or organizations with a legitimate reason to request such information. 

Yes, requesting your own records for your personal reference counts as a “legitimate reason,” so does a prospective employer requesting a criminal record check as a condition of hiring you for a new role, but you can’t request your sister-in-law’s records, for example.

Having said all this, published civil, criminal, and penal judicial records and other courthouse details can be accessed for free by anyone searching public repositories such as Québec’s provincial SOQUIJ database where available. This blog post covers the SOQUIJ database and criminal record check Québec.

How to Get a Criminal Record Check Halifax

You can get a criminal record check Halifax:

  1. In-person by visiting a Halifax Regional Police headquarters;
  2. Online through the Halifax Regional Police’s third party service provider; or
  3. Online through another approved third party service provider.

In-Person at the Halifax Regional Police Headquarters

If you live in Halifax, you can apply for a criminal record check Halifax in person at the Halifax Regional Police headquarters Monday to Friday from 8:30 am – 4:00 pm.

Fees

The cost is $50 plus tax.

Supporting Documentation

In addition to completing an application form, you must bring two forms of government-issued identification (one must have a photo). Acceptable forms of identification include:

  • Nova Scotia Driver’s Licence
  • Nova Scotia ID Card 

Plus, one other of the following:

  • Passport
  • Social Insurance Number Card
  • Birth Certificate

If you’re new to the Halifax area and you don’t have a Halifax address yet, you must bring some proof of residence such as a utility bill or rental agreement.

Turnaround Time

A rush option where the check is completed within 24 hours is sometimes available for in-person applications depending on service volumes at the time of your request. Otherwise, your results will take two to three business days.

Online Through the Halifax Regional Police’s Third Party Service Provider

If you don’t want to wait to be seen in person, you can request a criminal record check Halifax online.

Fees

The cost is $50 plus an online service fee and tax. You must use a credit card to pay online.

Process

To request an online criminal record check Halifax, you must set up an account, input your information, and answer questions relating to your credit history to verify your identity.

Turnaround Time

According to the vendor’s website, “after a few days, view the results in your account.”

Keep in mind that the specific process may vary, and it’s always a good idea to check with the relevant authorities in Halifax for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Through an Approved Third Party Service Provider

As we covered, employers use checks, especially criminal record checks, as part of their hiring process to make informed decisions about candidates and landlords use them to assess the suitability of potential tenants.

Can you get an online criminal record check Halifax? Yes!

Benefits of MyCRC

By using our RCMP-approved online check instead of an in-person visit to a police station or via another online portal, you never have to leave the house and can have all the necessary information in as little as 15 minutes.

Cost

You can run a background check on yourself online through MyCRC at any time. The cost for a MyCRC criminal record check is $64.99.

If you’re applying for a new job or open to new opportunities, it might help to understand what others may see about you when they conduct their own screening. Deciding to run a background check on yourself can also be a proactive way to verify the accuracy of your personal and professional information and address any discrepancies or inaccuracies before they affect your employment or housing opportunities.

MyCRC uses OneID identity verification, which is a biometric identity verification process. In this blog post you can learn more about Certn’s biometric identity verification and how it differs from and is more secure than traditional knowledge-based authentication: What to Know About Identity Verification.

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Background Check Halifax

Whether you run HR at a global company or are looking for your own records, Certn offers accurate online background check Halifax with industry-leading turnaround times.

There are benefits to choosing Certn background checks:

#1-Rated Usability – From the front-end UI to the back-end data sources, Certn’s AI-powered checks are built with clients and candidates in mind. It’s that easy.

Deliver a Better Candidate Experience – There’s leaving the house or waiting online. Whether you’re running a background check on others or yourself, the identity verification and background check steps can all be completed online via SMS or email invites.  

Deploy Out-of-the-Box or Integrate Flexibly – Certn integrates with leading hiring and applicant tracking systems, compliance platforms, and property management software. If you’re running bulk checks as part of your business, you can learn more in our Partner Marketplace.

With MyCRC, a division of the Canadian screening company Certn, you can run a background check on yourself and we’ll send you your official results in as little as 15 minutes. Request your results today!