BC Refines its Criminal Record Checks Regime
The Province has made it possible for employees and volunteers to rely on a single criminal record check for a five year period with multiple employers, yet an employer’s right to require a criminal record check in every case is preserved.
The Province has made some important amendments to the Criminal Records Review Act (the “Act”), directed mostly at employees and volunteers who work with children or vulnerable adults but which could also impact employers. The Criminal Records Review Amendment Act (the “CRRAA”) came into force on November 30, 2013, and includes these changes that will be of interest to some employers:
- volunteers of “specified organizations” providing services to children or vulnerable adults (including government agencies, municipalities, school boards and non-profit organizations, among others) are no longer required to pay fees for criminal record checks (while the fee for regular employees has increased from $20 to $28);
- if a volunteer, employee, or applicant has had a criminal record check conducted within the last five years and no risk was identified (known as a “portable criminal record check”), he or she may simply provide a “criminal record check verification authorization” to specified organizations or employers; and
- employers and specified organizations are permitted to require a criminal record check, even if the individual could simply authorize a criminal record check verification.
What this means for employers
Specified organizations and private employers should benefit from an easier process for volunteers and employees with portable criminal record checks.
Most importantly, although the amendments make it easier for volunteers and employees to use a single portable criminal record check for five years, the CRRAA maintains employers’ and specified organizations’ entitlement under the Act to require applicants to undergo a criminal record check, regardless of whether the individual has a portable criminal record check.
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