Criminal record checks are often in the news, and the Canadian federal government was part of that news with recent changes to pardons (now called “record suspensions”) and a program that encourages employers to hire offenders. So we thought it would be a good time to ask our readers: “Does your organization conduct criminal record checks on potential candidates?” Of the 315 people who responded:

· 36.5 percent (115) said they use criminal background checks,

· 42 percent (133) said they don’t.

· Another 21.2 percent weren’t sure.

Employers are increasingly looking to police record checks to inform their hiring decisions. Not surprisingly, at the same time, individuals are increasingly complaining about information the police and other sources disclose in record checks, as well as discrimination based on criminal records. No doubt a criminal record check can provide a valuable look at a job candidate’s past. Indeed, checks are required for certain jobs, particularly working with vulnerable persons. Even so, improper use of the information can easily lead to violations of human rights and privacy legislation.

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