Canadian HR Reporter

March 2020 CAN

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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26 www.hrreporter.com S P O N S O R E D Background screening: Setting the right context HAVE you ever wondered how many people lie on their resumés? According to a 2019 survey, 85 per cent of people say they never lie, while nine per cent say they are tempted but don't, according to GOBankingRates. The rest confessed to embellishing their resumés — with half of those doing so multiple times. As you're vetting your job applicants, are you confident that your process complies with relevant laws? Reducing risk exposure When a background screening process is non-compliant, companies can face lawsuits with costly consequences. On top of legal fees, companies risk their reputations and bottom lines if damages are awarded or fines are levied against them. On the other hand, a compliant background screening process can pay dividends: • It protects employees by helping to maintain a safe workplace. With Bill C-65 scheduled to take effect this year within the federally regulated industries, companies are expected to take the cues from a process that protects employees from "any action, conduct or comment, including of a sexual nature that can reasonably be expected to cause offence, humiliation or other physical or psychological injury or illness to an employee." Background screening can be the first line of defence in this effort. • It builds trust in the integrity of an organization. By operating within the confines of the law, companies demonstrate their commitment to fair treatment of candidates and employees, which can lead to greater employee loyalty and productivity. • It supports a positive brand experience and reputation. Customers aren't the only ones who notice when companies slip up — employees do too. And thanks to 24-7 social media platforms and hungry media outlets, news of compliance failures can spread quickly. Maintaining a compliant background screening process helps protect your brand. Keeping up with regulations Given the risks and benefits, companies need to consider several laws related to background screening, including privacy, human rights and consumer rights laws. There are four jurisdictions in Canada that have specific privacy legislation that restricts the ability of employers to perform background checks on employees or prospective employees, according to Canadian law firm McMillan LLP: Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec and federally regulated employers. The Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) also prohibits employment and wage discrimination, as well as laws in provincial and local jurisdictions across the country. McMillan warns that since social media searches may reveal information related to protected characteristics — such as gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion or political beliefs —companies must only collect information relevant to the position being filled and be prepared to defend social media searches against claims of discrimination. Details matter when choosing a provider Not all background screening providers are created equal. When selecting a provider, in addition to reviewing their services, it's important to evaluate their role in the industry. For example, even before the Ontario Police Record Checks Reform Act (PRCRA) became a law, Sterling Backcheck was invested in the process, collaborating with legislators to produce a law that helped protect the rights of Canadian citizens. Our input also helped to Rushing through background checks could have an equally negative impact. Details matter, and gaps in the sources screened can expose companies to greater risk. Are you looking at education and professional qualifications? Are you calling employment references? Too often, a fast turn-around time yields less complete and less accurate results. Choose third-party screening services provider with care. Check that the provider you choose has pursued and received relevant accreditation. Look for a provider that offers a wide range of services to reduce potential gaps. And make sure you ask about the experience the provider has within your industry. CHRR Jim Hickey is managing director of Sterling Backcheck in Toronto. For more information, visit www.sterlingbackcheck.ca or call (866) 881-2011. Compliance matters when companies undertake background screening of potential new hires, says Jim Hickey of Sterling Backcheck COMMON LIES PEOPLE MAKE ON A RESUME Source: OfficeTeam safeguard the interests of third-party background screening providers so they can perform the necessary checks for their corporate clients. By taking a proactive approach to keeping up with the legislation that impacts our industry, Sterling Backcheck helps keep companies informed of evolving legal requirements. Overcoming hurdles Companies need agility in such a dynamic legal landscape. The variety and number of laws that companies must consider during the hiring process, including those related to background screening, continue to grow. Data privacy laws, in particular, are expanding as a result of high- profile data security breaches. Delays in filling critical positions can also hurt the reputations of HR departments or staffing organizations, leading to a loss of trust. Photo: fizkes (iStock) 66% lie about their job experience 57% lie about their job duties 41% lie about their education

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