A Fair Chance at Employment, Even with a Criminal Record

Human Resources Professionals Association and the Fair Chances Coalition Partner to Provide Workplace Resources for Inclusive Hiring

The Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) and the Fair Chances Coalition (FCC) are partnering to provide resources to HR professionals and workplaces related to police record checks and the hiring of individuals with a criminal record.

“We’re committed to providing our members with the most current and up-to-date tools and resources to perform in their roles as HR leaders, and in their most critical functions of hiring and recruitment,” said Kris Tierney, Vice President, Human Resources and Learning, HRPA. “A commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility (IDEA) remains our gold standard in shaping the future of work and HR practice in Ontario, and we’re excited to partner with the Fair Chances Coalition to drive that work forward.”

An Issue Impacting Millions of Canadians
The FCC is a growing group of employers and agencies working to reduce the barriers faced by 4 million Canadians. According to the FCC website, one in 9 Canadians has a criminal record. Having a criminal record reduces the likelihood of landing a job by at least 50%. Additionally, jobseekers with criminal records often won’t apply to certain jobs because they anticipate being automatically rejected. These Canadians – disproportionately from racialized and marginalized communities – hold incredible potential for employers.

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Police Record Checks Influence Hiring to a Degree
A recent survey of 445 HR professionals conducted by HRPA presents notable insights about the extent to which police record checks are (or are not) part of their hiring practices and to what extent police record checks influence hiring decisions about candidates. The full survey can be accessed. Among the survey’s key highlights:

  • 80% of respondents said that they do require police record checks for employees and job candidates at least some of the time.
  • When asked what level of police record checks their workplace performs under the Police Record Checks Reform Act, 2015 (PRCRA), the majority of respondents said criminal record checks (68%), followed by vulnerable sector checks (50%).
  • 68% said they would hire a candidate with a record depending on the position, while 19% said they require a “clean” record.
  • 19% of respondents said they believe requiring a police record check has impacted their organization’s ability to attract and/or retain employees in the past while 68% said they do not believe it has.
  • 74% of respondents said they are not at all familiar or only somewhat familiar with the evidence and benefits of second chance hiring. Only 8% said they were very or extremely familiar.
  • 61% of respondents said they would be interested in free training and resources to learn more. Some resources requested included:
      • Webinars, case studies and best practices,
      • How to make hiring decisions when someone has a record,
      • Human rights legislation,
      • Privacy controls,
      • Appropriate wording for job postings.

Fair Chance Hiring
The FCC defines fair chance hiring as “policies, best practices, and training that any employer can use to help fairly assess candidates with a criminal record. They’re built on the fundamental idea that every qualified candidate, regardless of background, has a right to a fair assessment free from stereotypes or misconceptions.”

Additional resources for fair chance hiring will be released later this year. In the meantime, HR professionals and workplaces can access current resources from the Fair Chances Coalition website.

“The HRPA is an industry leader in Canada and we are thrilled to be partnering to develop practical tools and resources that employers can use to promote inclusive hiring practices and break down systemic, unfair barriers to employment – benefiting both our communities and our economy,” stated Jacqueline Tasca, Lead, Fair Chances Coalition. “The reality is that Canadian industries are facing unprecedented labour shortages, and recruiting from this untapped pool of talent can provide extensive benefits to employers who are willing to give them a chance.  HR professionals have a crucial role to play as leaders in their respective workplaces, and we’re keen to work together to unlock the potential of fair chance hiring in Canada.”

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