July



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July 29, 2013
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Canadian HR professionals state that while background screening is legal, companies conducting such checks should proceed with caution.

In the aftermath of a recent decision by a Canadian government institution to perform mid-employment background checks, Canadian HR professionals are saying that while the practice is legal, companies conducting such checks should proceed with caution. "…it opens the door for discrimination," said an HR business advisor based in Toronto. "Depending on the purpose and how it is applied, it might discriminate on long-term employees with good performance, sometimes with minor records that have no effect on their work."

Canada Post announced in March 2013 that it would implement the new screening practice for its employees, which would allow them to perform background checks on current employees every 10 years and gives the organization authority to change the frequency of employee screenings at any point. "The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) opposes this policy of mid-employment checks primarily because it's a breach of members' privacy and also because Canada Post has not been clear and specific about the scope, requirements, process or intent of the checks," said Gayle Bossenberry, CUPW's first national vice president.

The impact of the mid-employment background check on current Canada Post employees depends on how the postal service implements a review program with its employees and how it plans to take action on the results.

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| Criminal Record Checks
July 23, 2013
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Checking publicly available civil litigation information may ensure organisations safeguard themselves

Checking publicly available civil litigation information may ensure organisations safeguard themselves against hiring people found negligent or liable by a civil court, but involves a whole host of limitations and risks.

Last year, Queensland Health was held to account over having employed an IT manager for five years who had previously been the head of an internet services company which was ordered to pay $210,000 worth of damages for using pirated software in 2001. A check of litigation records may have allowed it to avoid getting into this difficult situation. However, checks of civil proceedings may identify cases that would be considered a 'spent conviction' in a criminal history search, and therefore cannot be considered by an employer.

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July 10, 2013
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The Belgian Privacy Commission and Ministry of Justice have executed a protocol that puts in place a new approval process for data transfer agreements (DTA). For customized DTA, it brings considerable improvement, but unfortunately it also adds a layer of administrative burden in relation to the use of the EU Model Clauses.

The Belgian Privacy Commission and Ministry of Justice have executed a protocol that puts in place a new approval process for data transfer agreements (DTA). For customized DTA, it brings considerable improvement, but unfortunately it also adds a layer of administrative burden in relation to the use of the EU Model Clauses.

The Protocol now acknowledges that it is sometimes justified for data exporters to make (some) changes to the EU Model Clauses. In order to facilitate this, the approval process has therefore been streamlined. But while this is a big step forward, at the same time, it is a big step backwards when it comes to the use of EU Model Clauses. Prior to the Protocol, no formal approval was required when the EU Model Clauses were used in an unaltered form.

A data exporter simply had to submit a copy to the Privacy Commission when filing the notification. This has now changed. It has come to light that the Belgian Privacy Commission did not intend to increase the administrative burden for the use of EU model clauses. While the Protocol clearly uses the word 'authorizing', this should not be interpreted as introducing a formal authorization requirement, but rather as a confirmation given to the data exporter that the DTA used does indeed comply with the EU model clauses.

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