Uber background checks: Can you drive with a criminal record?

In the US, it is possible to pass Uber background checks with a non-violent record and with DUIs older than seven years depending on the regulations of the state where the driver lives. However, in Canada, it’s a different story.

In Canada, Uber and Lyft have dusted up significant controversy in the few cities where they’ve gained a toehold. Taxi drivers are not happy about the new competition, while many people say taxis need more competition in order to improve service.

However, taxi driver concerns aren’t just about not wanting to compete. They complain that they can’t compete because they have stricter regulations to follow. Taxi drivers are generally subjected to criminal record checks in most municipalities.

As a result, if you want to drive for Uber or Lyft, you may need to have a clean criminal record. In order to convince municipalities to allow them to operate, these companies have adopted stricter policies than those in the United States. In addition, various cities will implement their own policies for licencing Uber and Lyft drivers. For example, in Toronto you need to get a licence, which requires a criminal record check.

Keep in mind that DUIs are considered more serious in Canada than they are in the United States. They will not simply fall off your record with the passage of time.

What is the process for Uber background checks?

Uber driver checking phoneUber uses a third-party company called Checkr to check criminal records. This will review three years of driving history and your criminal record. Uber will provide you with the results in three to five days. If your file comes back “not clear” you may need to submit fingerprints to the RCMP.

Uber’s premium service, UberX, has a “zero-tolerance” policy on any criminal record, but they do not specifically state that unrelated offences would prevent you from driving for their regular service.

Do you need a background check to work for Lyft?

Lyft, a newcomer to the Toronto market, does not screen out all criminal records. However, some types of offences will make a driver ineligible. These include:

  • Federal and provincial driving offences such as DUI, careless driving, driving with a suspended licence and failing to stop at the scene of an accident.
  • Any violent crime and sexual offences
  • Drug offences
  • Some types of property crime or theft

Background checks are conducted annually and you can be disqualified at any time.

What can you do?

Woman standing outside looking at phone

Ride-hailing services are new to Canada and regulations are still being created to deal with this new “disruptive” way of doing things. If you want to earn cash or make driving your full-time flexible gig, it’s important to have a clear record. This will help you to pass Uber background checks and feel secure that you won’t suddenly lose your source of income due to changing regulations or increased scrutiny.

If you have a criminal record in Canada, you should apply for a Record Suspension as soon as you are eligible. A Record Suspension is available after five years for a summary conviction or 10 years for an indictable conviction. Keep in mind that a Record Suspension will not clear your provincial infractions.

If you would like to take advantage of some extra income or would like to be able to take advantage of other opportunities, contact us today for a free consultation at 1-866-972-7366.

Are you qualified?

Download our checklist to find out if you are qualified to apply for a Record Suspension. By completing this form, you will be subscribed to receive our newsletter and updates from AllCleared. You can unsubscribe at any time.

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7 Comments

  1. john April 3, 2018 at 10:47 am - Reply

    if a person is under probation (conditional discharge), will the status show up in a regular background check?

    thank you.

    • allcleared April 4, 2018 at 1:13 pm - Reply

      Hi John,
      Yes, the conditional discharge will show up in the background check for three years. Once the person completes the conditions, it will be sealed.

  2. Sarmad April 15, 2018 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    Hi I received a dui in 2008 in British Columbia I now reside in Toronto since Jan of 2013. I own a 2016 Camry hybrid xle and would like to drive for Uber. I signed up for them and Uber checkr service told me to get further record check from the RCMP. I would like to know if Uber will allow me to drive for them even though it’s been almost 10 years now since this incident happened?

    • allcleared April 16, 2018 at 10:22 am - Reply

      Hi Sarmad, As far as we know, Uber decides applications on a case by case basis, so you should probably get in touch with them and explain the situation. Good luck with your application. A Record Suspension could help you avoid these situations in the future.

  3. Jason August 22, 2018 at 9:57 am - Reply

    In British Columbia (and some other provinces) it is unlawful to discriminate because of criminal record unless it is directly related to the job – i.e., caring for children or the elderly. I think it would be a stretch to apply that to driving a taxi or an Uber. So they are probably acting unlawfully to demand that in B.C. Someone should get the Human Rights Tribunal after them, as well as other employers who think they get to make their own rules.

    • allcleared August 22, 2018 at 11:56 am - Reply

      Yes, it will be interesting to see what rules the province and the company will put in place once Uber is finally allowed back in.

  4. Jason August 22, 2018 at 10:03 am - Reply

    In British Columbia (and some other provinces) it is unlawful to discriminate because of criminal record unless it is directly related to the job. So Uber would be acting unlawfully in B.C. if they consider anything other than driving related offenses. If Uber rejects anyone with any criminal record then someone should get the Human Rights Tribunal after them, as well as other employers who think they get to make their own rules.

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