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The 4 Levels to a Criminal Record Check

A criminal record changes the way others perceive you. This commercial demonstrates how a job applicant may appear to an employer who is aware of their criminal past.

Criminal record checks are nothing new in today’s society. Almost everyone has had one done before, and most of us have had 5 or more. Unfortunately, we are usually the ones who have to pay for them!

The most common scenario in which people have a criminal record check done is when they want to volunteer or work with children, the disabled or anyone else who is considered vulnerable by the Criminal Records Act (CRA). However, things are changing in Canada, and people are being more careful than they once were.

If one side of society is stepping up their game, then it is only natural that the other side should do the same. Those with clean criminal records are making it harder for those on the other side of the law, sometimes at the cost of a person’s livelihood. However, through the explosion of public knowledge provided by the internet, we are all able to stand on equal ground when it comes to our past records.

While you don’t always have control over how much information someone will see when they view your criminal history, you can be better prepared for any questions you may have to answer and / or explanations you will need for your past actions. One way to prepare is to know exactly what will be found out once someone gains access to your record.

There are 4 Levels to acriminal record check, and each one is more detailed than the last. If you know there are unpardoned charges on your record, but you need to give permission to a prospective employer or landlord to view your criminal history, it is important to know exactly what they will see when they view your record.

There are 2 types of criminal record checks: vulnerable sector checks and regular record checks. Both of these fall under the 4 Levels, and which levels are seen depends on who is checking and how they are checking.

Any employer or volunteer organization that deals with persons considered to be vulnerable is obligated by law to request a vulnerable sector record check. This means that they will be granted access to a Level 4 check, which includes every conviction or charge, outstanding or pardoned, that has to do with any type of sexual act, whether the act was committed or there was intent to commit it. This includes information on all local databases.

Any other employer or organization will most likely do a regular check, and what they see depends on how they go about it. Some employers go to the local police station and request a criminal record check on an individual. They need your written consent to do this of course, and they will also have to pay for the service. In this case, the most that will be revealed would be Level 2 information, which does not include pardoned charges.

Other employers will go to an agency or company and pay them to look up the record of a prospective employee. Unfortunately, if this happens, they may be able to gain access to everything on your record. What you can do is ask the company to go directly to the police for your record check.

Nancy Collins is an expert in the pardons process, and enjoys writing about a variety of topics, including Canadian politics and law.

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