3 Tips to Getting a Free Background Check in Canada
If you’re getting a free background check in Canada, it’s likely because you’re seeking employment, looking for a volunteer opportunity, or applying for a visa.
A Canadian business may perform pre-employment background checks to confirm whether the references you’ve provided are credible, your education and work experience is accurate, and if you’ve had any criminal convictions.
On the other hand, the government performs an immigration background check to verify your name, date of birth and country of origin for visa or citizenship applications in Canada.
But before burying yourself in background checks, you may want to know how to go about the process smoothly and easily.
Tip 1: Know What Information to Look For
First, get to know exactly what an interested party may find when they perform a background check. This way, you’ll be ready to clarify anything on your record.
So, what does a Canadian background check entail?
- Criminal background check — displays your criminal record
- Credit reports check — determines whether you’re experiencing financial distress, which may be a red flag for certain jobs
- Medical records check — determines if you’re fit enough to work in the position you’re applying for
- Driving records check — indicates any driving offences
- Education history check — confirms your competency and accuracy of your resume
- Work history check — assesses credibility
- Military records check — may qualify you for special benefits by some employers
- Sexual offender registry check — displays any relevant convictions, which may be a red flag (if you’re applying for a position in the vulnerable sector)
- Identity verification — confirms your personal information and nationality
Employers and the government of Canada use paid platforms like Instant Record Check and the RCMP database to conduct thorough checks, specifically looking into your criminal background.
However, the information you will find when you perform a free Canadian background check on yourself is limited to:
- Credit history
- Education history
- Work history
Tip 2: Know What Platforms You Should Use to Get a Free Background Check
There are various platforms you can use to carry out free background checks in Canada, including:
- Social media
- Credit bureaus
So, how do you perform background checks on these platforms in Canada?
Personal Information Background Check
The best place to start your background check is through a search engine like Google.
However, you need to be highly specific to find the right information because a simple search encompasses anyone with the same name. Therefore, use quotation marks on your name and include any information specific to you, like your place of work or address.
So, what you key in would be something like “John Smith” Unilever or you could use site-specific searches like site:linkedin.com “John Smith” for a more targeted search.
The results you get include:
- Your social media profiles
- Platforms you’ve joined
- Contributions you’ve made to online forums
- Your website, if you have one
- Your address and phone number
- Photos you’ve uploaded to the internet
Social Media Background Checks
Although social media information isn’t highly reliable, 90% of employers perform a social media investigation on potential employees. So, you should check your social media platforms to make sure that you’re portraying the right image.
The most commonly used platforms for background checks in Canada include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
A background check on Facebook looks into your photos, timeline posts and comments in groups you’ve joined. So, make sure to get rid of any records of embarrassing comments and pictures on your profile for pre-employment background checks.
Also, think about setting your profile to private to limit the information someone can find about you.
LinkedIn is a more professional platform. As such, a background check through the site encompasses your work and education history.
So, you should ensure that a background check performed on your account shows a winning profile featuring:
- A professionally captured photo or one that at least takes a professional form
- A professional title that reflects your current role
- A bio that briefly showcases your skills, expertise, experience and education
- Your work experience, where you list past jobs that are closely related to your title
- Your education history, including any professional certifications you’ve received outside of school-based training in Canada
Most importantly, a background check on your LinkedIn profile should show that your work and education records match what you provided on your resume. So, make sure to correct any discrepancies.
Instagram is an excellent platform to showcase your interests, so a background check on your profile will reveal what you like doing outside work. So, ensure that all your photos and posts are appropriate and respectful without hindering your personality. You can also set your page to private to limit the amount of information a background check can reveal.
Lastly, Twitter is the platform where your personality can really shine. This is relevant because business owners often want to review your personality and temperament during the pre-employment background checks. So, a hiring manager may want to check whether you can be respectful in a conversation-based platform.
Over the past few years, many people have lost their jobs following an investigation over racist and derogatory tweets. To avoid the same fate, keenly review your Twitter profile and delete any posts that may seem derogatory or discriminatory so you can land your dream job.
You should also check your retweets to see if they’re appropriate. And whenever you jump into opinionated discussions, make your points respectfully.
Tip 3: Conduct a Credit Check
An employer may be interested in your credit report if you’re applying for a money-related position. When conducting checks on your credit report, employers want to know if you have:
- A history of late payments, which could mean you’re not responsible or organized.
- Excess debt, indicating financial distress. This could indicate a greater likelihood of committing fraud or stealing from the company.
How well you handle your finances can mean landing a cash-related position or not. So, check your credit information with Equifax or TransUnion Canada for free to see if you have a healthy credit report.
That way, you can confidently clarify any instances of nonpayment by an employer during a pre-employment background check.
Bonus Tip: Conduct A Criminal Record Check (Not Free)
There are two different criminal records checks you can conduct on yourself:
Certified Criminal Record Check
The RCMP database is a great resource for a certified criminal record check at a minimal fee. The RCMP uses your fingerprints for a criminal background investigation.
This type of criminal background check is required for visa applications, work permits, citizenship and adoptions.
Vulnerable Sector Check
Before working with the vulnerable sector, check online police records to verify if there is any information on your criminal background. You can access local police databases using the Canadian Police Information Center (CPIC). The CPIC allows you to verify your criminal background using your name and date of birth.
The police check will show a clear criminal background record if you have no past run-ins with the law. However, if you have a criminal record in Canada, you can apply for a record suspension to seal it.
Sealing a criminal record only removes it from the public domain – this does not permanently erase it. Nonetheless, a sealed record helps you remove the restrictions associated with having a criminal background.
How to Check a Criminal Record in Canada
When seeking employment or volunteer opportunities in Canada, you may need to perform a background check to know what information potential employers have access to. Additionally, it pays to know what an immigration background check could reveal during a visa application in Canada.
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