Most people understand that actions have consequences, but when it comes to criminal convictions, the full scope of those consequences is not often fully appreciated. Everyone knows that a criminal violation is the most serious breach of the law, so it’s understood that this type of breach is punished with a jail sentence and/or probation, house arrest or any combination thereof.
But thinking that a jail sentence—even when combined with a stiff fine—is the end of a criminal conviction is wrong. Even once a jail sentence has been served, and a fine has been paid, there’s one more outcome of a criminal conviction that can haunt a person for the rest of his or her life, and that is the presence of a criminal record.
It’s Not Private Information
Privacy and private details in Canada are highly respected and protected. Political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious affiliation and many other personal details of identity are up to you to disclose or not as you see fit. More importantly, these personal details cannot have any legal impact on a person’s decision to offer or refuse employment.
None of this, however, applies to a criminal record.
An employer can, if a criminal record is present, be 100% within their legal rights to not offer employment based on the presence of that criminal record. In fact, for some professions, such as teaching, nursing, personal support work it is legally required that a school not hire someone who has a criminal record, especially if that record has child-related criminal acts. But how would an employer know that you have a criminal record in the first place?
Background Checks Are For Anyone
Criminal records are freely accessible to local, provincial, national and even international law enforcement groups. If you have a criminal record, provincial police or even groups like the Customs & Border Patrol of the United States or INTERPOL can access your record if they have the need.
However, as long as someone has the appropriate identification details, a background check can be conducted on you, as long as the person requesting the background check is willing to pay the fee. You may find on an employment form, that applying for a position means that you agree to have a background check conducted, and if you do not consent to this, your application will not be considered. There is nothing illegal about this.
More Than Just A Job
In fact, it is not just employers that are entitled to conducting a background check if they wish. Even applying to volunteer at certain organizations may require a background check, and you must consent to it if you want to continue. Certain voluntary positions are in what the law refers to as “vulnerable sectors” such as working with the children or elderly. Anyone with a criminal offence that is related to crime with the vulnerable sector must, by law, be “screened out” before having a chance to regain access to the sector in which the crime was committed.
This even applies to everyday activities such as wanting to rent an apartment or even trying to adopt a child. Background checks may be conducted here as well, and a criminal conviction can mean refusal.
Get A Second Chance
A record suspension or pardon can seal your conviction from a criminal background check. If you want to know more about how to get one, we can help. Contact Pardons Canada for more information, and find out how to successfully apply for and receive a record suspension.