Employment FAQs

Does my employer or landlord have access to my criminal record?
It depends. If you signed an apartment rental application or an employment application, the documents may have contained a statement giving your landlord or employer permission to conduct a criminal record search.

Also, many employers have employment agreements that a new employee must sign before starting their job. Often in these agreements, the employee gives the employer the right to conduct a criminal record check. The applications may ask a simple question such as, “Do you have a criminal record for which a Pardon/Record Suspension has not been granted?”. At the bottom of the application it will state that the person signing gives permission to the employer to verify all statements made. This means that the employer can now verify, through a criminal record check, if you have a criminal record.

Can my employer find out if I have received a Pardon/Record Suspension?
After a Pardon/Record Suspension is granted, it is sealed from public information access. When a criminal record check is done after a Pardon/Record Suspension is granted, the check will be returned stating no criminal record was found.

Can my employer find charges that were withdrawn?
Yes. Charges that have been withdrawn, dismissed, acquitted, stayed or discharged still show up on most criminal record checks. It will be indicated that the offence was withdrawn, however, an employer may have questions about this or may not be able to differentiate a conviction from a non-conviction. Therefore, it is important to have these types of criminal records destroyed.

I am a Young Offender. Does my employer have the right to ask me if I have a Criminal Record?
Yes, but you are NOT obligated to admit that you have a criminal record. However, if they do a criminal record search they will find it. Therefore, it is best to be responsible and admit it.

I have had the same job for several years. How can my record affect my employment?
Even if a person has worked for the same employer for several years, they are not protected against future criminal record search requests within the company or organization. Many organizations that have recently implemented criminal record searches for new employees are also requiring existing employees to undergo the search. Existing employees may lose their jobs if they have not removed their record prior to the search.

I am applying for a job promotion. Will my criminal record affect my application?
It may. Many companies that never before required criminal record searches are now doing so in cases where employees have applied for internal job promotions. Discovery of a criminal record may not only hinder their opportunity for career advancement within the company, but may also lead to being fired.

I am self employed. How can my criminal record affect my employment?
People who are self-employed are not immune to criminal record search requirements. Many companies who sub-contract to individuals or to small businesses are now requiring criminal record searches to be conducted on the employees and the owners of the business.

This is especially true in situations where the independent contractor will have access to confidential information or will be working with vulnerable people, such as children. Computer programmers, accountants and care-givers are just 3 examples of careers where criminal record searches are popular.

Can I be bonded if I have a criminal record?
Being bonded means that the employer has paid insurance against the risk of employees committing crimes, such as theft. Most people are insurable even if they have a criminal record. However, depending on how serious and what the charge was, and who the insurer is, it will cost the employer more to insure that person. If having the person bonded is too expensive for the employer, that person will not be hired.

How will I get a job with a criminal record?
Certain types of jobs require a criminal record search to be clear. However, other types of jobs can in fact be obtained, depending on the nature of the offence and what steps have been taken in order to remove the record or start the Pardon/Record Suspension process.

Do employers ever pay for employees’ Pardon/Record Suspension?
Yes. When you excel at your job but your criminal record comes in the way of your ability to do your job, whether that be travel or a career certification, etc., your employer may decide to pay for your Pardon (or waiver). Many employers consider this a cost of doing business and the benefit of keeping you onboard outweighs the cost of the Pardon/Record Suspension application. Your employer may be able to use the cost of the Pardon/Record Suspension as a tax write-off if they submit the expense as a cost of doing business.

I am on government assistance, how will I pay for my application?
If your criminal record is directly affecting your ability to become employed, your social assistance worker can decide to pay for the cost of your Pardon/Record Suspension application.

Can I travel to the U.S. for my job if I have a criminal record?
No. It is illegal to cross the U.S. border with a Canadian criminal record, unless you are a U.S. citizen, you have legal native status or you have a valid U.S. Entry Waiver. Counsellors at Pardons Canada are readily available to discuss your specific situation in order to find the best solution for you to travel.

I am a trucker, will a Pardon/Record Suspension help me get a FAST Card?
Yes. Canadian Border Services, the federal agency that grants FAST Cards does check your criminal record. It is best to obtain a Pardon/Record Suspension or file destruction before applying for a FAST Card, to ensure there is no reason for your application to be denied.

I want to work with children, disabled, elderly or other vulnerable people, will I first need to do a criminal record check?
Yes. Those individuals working with vulnerable people must complete a more in-depth criminal record search, specific to the vulnerable sector. This check is primarily looking for Assault or Sex Related offences, for the safety of the clientele.