Pre-employment police record checks have become common in our information-obsessed society. This is where the employer requires a job candidate to pass a police record check as a condition of being hired. The Police Record Checks Reform Act  (the “Act”) was designed to standardize why and when these record checks can be obtained, as opposed to leaving it up to individual police forces to figure out.

As of November 1, 2018, new requirements regarding pre-employment police record checks are in force.  


Under the new law, an individual must give written consent at two stages in the record check process:

  1. Consent to the type of check to be conducted
  2. Consent to disclose the results of the check

Candidates need to provide written consent to the type of check the employer requires. Once the check is complete, candidates will be provided with their results and must again provide written consent to have these results shared with the potential employer. Record checks are usually performed by a third party record check provider who liaises between the potential employer, the police service and the candidate.

Types of Record Checks

Under the new law there are three types of record checks:

  1. Criminal record check;
  2. Criminal record and judicial matters check; and
  3. Vulnerable sector check.

The Act includes a helpful table describing the types of checks and what information each check will include, which you can check out here.

In general, the Act tightens up what various checks will disclose. For example, even where a vulnerable sector check is completed, non-conviction information cannot be disclosed unless certain criteria for “exceptional disclosure” are met. These criteria centre around information that may present a risk to vulnerable populations, such as if the individual was charged with a crime where the alleged victim was a child.

There are exceptions to the Act which are detailed at section 2(2) and in the regulations.


This is a complex area of law. If your workplace has routinely required pre-employment checks, you will want to ensure compliance with the Act and make sure that written consent is being obtained. It is also expected that check may not take longer to process. If you have questions about the application of this Act or any other questions about privacy in your workplace get in touch!