Nova Scotia

Halifax to review the use of polygraph tests in hiring

The use of polygraph tests during hiring could be eliminated in the Halifax Regional Municipality by September. A new report recommends replacing polygraphs with other pre-employment screening procedures.

New report recommends replacing polygraphs with other pre-employment screening measures

The HRM will consider ending the use of polygraphs in hiring. (Standret/Shutterstock)

The use of polygraph tests during hiring could be eliminated in the Halifax Regional Municipality by September.

A new report recommends replacing polygraphs with other pre-employment screening procedures.

Coun. Shawn Cleary asked for the report at the end of June 2021. At the time Cleary said it came as a shock that polygraphs were still in use.

He said the municipality "needed to justify it" if it was going to continue using them.

On Monday, a presenter to the Halifax Police Commission called the use of polygraphs "indefensible."

Lisa Roberts, a former MLA, recounted the experience of a family she helped.

She said the father applied to be a janitor at the police department and was required to take a polygraph. He incriminated himself in the process and eventually faced charges, but Roberts said those charges were subsequently dropped.

"It was just unimaginable stress and sadness," said Roberts.

The new report pointed out that the use of polygraphs is mixed across the country.

Practice banned in Ontario, New Brunswick

Six police departments use them for both officers and civilian positions, others just for hiring officers, and four used other pre-screening methods.

HRM human resource officials said concerns have been raised about the "results not being scientifically accurate." Polygraphs are banned for use as a hiring tool in Ontario and New Brunswick.

According to the report each polygraph test costs between $300 and $600.

Regional council will vote on the proposal on Tuesday.

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