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Side menu bar Catalogue Number 75-001-XIE Table of contents Latest issue News from The Daily Latest data Survey information Back issues Feedback Studies Latest issue in PDF

May 2006
Vol. 7, no. 5

Perspectives on Labour and Income

Screening job applicants
Ernest B. Akyeampong

  • Personal interviews and job-related skill or knowledge tests are routine in many hirings. But medical examinations, security checks and, lately, drug tests are often required in specific situations.
  • While medical examinations have become less prevalent, security checks have risen steadily. Approximately 25% of pre-1980 new hires underwent a medical examination, while 5% were given a security check. The rates were 11% and 12% respectively in 2000 and 2001.
  • Medical examinations continue to feature prominently for the more physically demanding jobs. These as well as security checks are especially common today for professional jobs (notably, teachers and health workers), law enforcement officers, and information technology personnel.
  • Drug tests, rarely used for screening before 1990, are now required for roughly 1 in 50 employees hired. The rate is much higher for some manufacturing positions.

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Ernest B. Akyeampong is with the Labour and Household Surveys Analysis Division. He can be reached at (613) 951-4624 or

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