New RCMP Process for Employee Background Checks - Retail Council of Canada

New RCMP Process for Employee Background Checks

A new fingerprint-based RCMP process is being implemented for employees who are required to undergo background checks.

The new system will remove the option of undertaking a name-based check, which is currently the practice. The change could result in both higher costs and additional administrative burden for both employees and employers.

As a result of RCC’s advocacy efforts and other stakeholder feedback, the RCMP has pushed back the implementation date by at least two years. This will allow the RCMP to refine the process and the industry to develop technology that could reduce financial and administrative burdens associated with this new program. The government will be introducing this change in a phased-in approach as indicated below:

Phase I – All Government of Canada employees – July 2015
Phase II – Vulnerable Employment Sectors (employees working with youth, sporting activities seniors etc.) – No defined date
Phase III – General Users (includes retailers) – No defined date


Currently if a company is seeking a background check on potential employees to ensure that new hires do no have a relevant criminal record it is undertaken through a name-based system housed by the RCMP called Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC).

Following a directive from the Minister of Public Safety to establish a more accurate verification against the CPIC system, the RCMP will be transitioning from the name-based system to a fingerprinting-based system. The government’s goal is to improve accuracy of the current system and ensure that individuals are properly identified. This means that companies and other entities will no longer have access to the CPIC system and will be forced to use fingerprint scans for all new employees that they are seeking to undertake a police background check.

RCC is also concerned that new employees may be leery of a process that requires a fingerprint scan, given the privacy implications. Although the RCMP has assured RCC that this new system has been approved by the Privacy Commissioner and fingerprints submitted to RCMP will not be maintained on file. It is expected that there will be resistance from potential employees and civil rights groups.

Next Steps:

In order to fully assess the impact and implications of this change, the government will be undertaking wide ranging consultations. It is expected that Phase III users (retail community) will be consulted in June 2015. RCC will be engaged in these consultations to ensure that our concerns are addressed prior to implementation. RCC has been advised that this new process will not be in place before 2017.

As part of these consultations there will also be an opportunity to organize discussions with RCMP to ensure members are aware of implications of these changes.