Criminal Record Check Alberta: Your FAQs Answered


Alberta cruise boat with mountains in background depicting working in Alberta with a criminal record check

Background checks are common risk assessment tools for businesses, property managers, and institutions granting security clearances and professional licences. This is because background checks reveal more information about a person’s job history, past behaviours, and criminal history to help with decision making. Here at Certn we provide background checks for businesses of all sizes. We also provide personal background checks for people wanting to proactively see what shows up on their record.

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

What Shows Up on a Criminal Record Check Alberta

There are different types of background checks and the kind you need depends on the purpose, whether it’s job-related screening, applying for a professional licence, or volunteering. This applies to all provinces and territories in Canada.


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

Criminal Record Checks

Criminal record checks or criminal history checks are what people often think of when they think of background checks. Criminal record checks involve checking local, provincial, and/or federal databases for information on arrests, convictions, and other police-related issues. 

Can an employer ask for a criminal record check Alberta?

Yes. However, even if you have a criminal history, it doesn’t mean you can’t get a job (though it may impact what kinds of roles you can apply to). Here are some tips for finding work with a criminal record on the Government of Alberta’s website. This blog post on jobs that require a criminal record check also has more information. For example, screening is mandated for federally regulated employers such as people working for chartered banks and airlines. 

As outlined by the Government of Alberta, all employers are required to look carefully at each individual case and evaluate how the criminal history may impact the responsibilities of the job. 

Can your landlord ask you for a criminal record check? 

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

Alberta property managers and landlords can ask for information about your employment and income, rental history, credit references, and credit. They can also require a criminal record check (provided they get your consent) if a reasonable person would consider it appropriate in the circumstances and only for the purposes that they disclose to you as the prospective tenant. A landlord can’t require you to consent to a criminal record check as a condition of providing a tenancy unless the information is necessary to provide that tenancy. For example, if the rental unit is connected to a daycare. The Human Rights Act protects tenants from discrimination based on race, gender, religion, and other protected grounds. Having said all this, in most instances, a criminal record check isn’t necessary for tenancy.

Driver’s Abstracts

Driver’s 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 History

Employment history checks are a process through which someone confirms the accuracy of job information you provide in an application. Employment verification vets job titles, timelines, and other related details. Employment history checks are typically part of the job screening process and are done to ensure that the information provided 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 institutions, dates of enrollment, and any degrees, diplomas, and certificates you may have claimed to have. 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 and Licence Verification

For jobs requiring specific certifications or licences, credential verification vets the validity of any professional designations. This is common in professions such as health care, law, and trades where a professional licence to practice or operate is mandatory.

Credit Checks

For certain roles, especially those involving financial matters, credit checks which include credit reports from credit bureaus might be examined to evaluate your financial trustworthiness. Whether a credit check is permitted as part of the job screening process depends on where you live. In Alberta, like other places across Canada, credit checks to screen candidates are permitted. However, like other background checks, they have to be relevant to the job.

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 Alberta), 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 criminal record check Alberta, 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 described above, the results of background checks are used by employers for hiring decisions, property managers 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 adhere to applicable laws and regulations when conducting any background screening. For example, 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. In Canada, employee background checks are covered by the Privacy Act and provincial privacy acts.

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 credit 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.

Construction worker requiring criminal record check Alberta for job

How to Get a Criminal Record Check Alberta

You can get a criminal record check Alberta:

  1. In-person by visiting a local police department;
  2. Online through your local detachment’s online system;
  3. Through a company or organization as part of their recruitment process; and/or 
  4. Online through an approved third party service provider.

In-Person at the Local Police Department

Police agencies across Alberta, including both municipal and federal RCMP, have adopted consistent guidelines for police information checks.

If you live in Edmonton, on-the-spot processing is available for citizens requiring a police information check as a condition of employment (pending there’s no information to disclose on your check). Express processing is also available for those who don’t need their police information check right away. You can drop off, pay, and wait – the results can be picked up or mailed.

Here’s more information on in-person services in several Alberta cities:

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:

  • Driver’s Licence
  • Alberta ID Card 
  • Passport
  • Nexus Card
  • Permanent Residency Card
  • Indian/Métis Status Card

If your identification doesn’t include an Alberta address, you may also be required to provide proof of residency, such as a current bank statement or a utility bill in your name.

Fees

The cost to process the application varies by city. For example, in Edmonton it costs $76.00, in Red Deer it costs $65.00, and in Calgary it costs $61.25. Therefore, it’s best to consult your local police detachment. In cities throughout Alberta, the fees are discounted if you require a check as part of a volunteer position.

Results

The results, available in up to 10 business days, are released directly to you and you can decide whether or not you want to share the results with the hiring organization. Similar to fees, the times vary so it’s best to check with your local division.

Online Through Your Local Detachment’s Online System

If you don’t want to wait to be seen in person, many cities in Alberta have online application portals where you can request your criminal record check Alberta.

In Calgary, for example, residents are strongly encouraged to complete an online application.

Through a Company or Organization as Part of their Recruitment Process

If you need a criminal record check Alberta as part of a recruitment process someone at the company or organization may request that you use a local online portal as described above or they may coordinate with a different third-party vendor.

If a prospective employer retains a background screening company, like Certn, to complete all their background screening, then they’ll coordinate with you to request your consent and provide personal information such as your full name, date of birth, Social Identification Number (SIN), and address. The prospective employer may also request details about your employment history, educational background, and professional references.

If you have concerns or questions about the background check process, you should feel free to discuss them with the employer. 

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 a criminal record check online Alberta? Yes!

Benefits of MyCRC

By using our RCMP-approved online check instead of an in-person visit to a police station or via an 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, but it’ll be at your expense and a prospective employer may have policies around how recent the records need to be. 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.

How Long Does a Criminal Record Check Last Alberta

According to the Government of Alberta’s website, Alberta criminal record checks expire 90 days from the date of issue. Here’s more about the province’s criminal record/police information check requirements.

Looking up someone's criminal record check Alberta online on laptop and smartphone

Can You Look up Someone’s Criminal Record Canada

Checking criminal records is often required by employers, volunteer organizations, and government agencies as part of the hiring process.

Canadian criminal records documenting offences that fall under federal and provincial jurisdiction are 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. 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 date’s records, for example.

However, 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.

Criminal Record Check Online Alberta

Whether you run HR at a global company or are looking for your own results, Certn offers accurate online criminal record checks Alberta 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 Certn, you can run a background check on yourself and we’ll send you your official results in as little as 15 minutes. Get started today!