Life is all about making choices. Some of the choices we make are good, and some are bad, but in both cases, the choices we make can have a huge influence on the rest of our lives. And while everyone hopes to make influential good choices, sometimes the bad ones are what we deal with. This, unfortunately, is the case when it comes to criminal acts and the convictions that come afterward.
If you’ve been convicted of a criminal act in Canada, that conviction goes on record. That record is publicly accessible to anyone in the public willing to pay a fee to run a background check or any government organization—either here or internationally—that wants to look you up. So the presence of a criminal record can have a broad influence on your future opportunities and prospects once people look you up and see it is there. However, your criminal record, while technically permanent, doesn’t have to remain so. You can clear it. But how?
Get A Record Suspension
It was once known as a “pardon,” but these days, the Canadian justice system refers to it as a record suspension. What this does is, in effect, “seal” your criminal record from conventional access. Now, if a member of the public, or an outside organization, such as the Customs & Border Patrol of the United States attempt to conduct a background check on you for the first time, they will see that your record is clear.
Of course, this does nothing for individuals or organizations that have already conducted a background check, in the past, and seen the previous presence of a record. But, for your future opportunities, it gives you a clean slate, with a good start. There are, however, some conditions you need to meet in order to apply for a record suspension.
Not All Convictions are Covered
The majority of criminal convictions, even assault or manslaughter, can, with time, eventually be dealt with by a record suspension. But not every offence is given blanket “forgiveness.” Any sexual offences against minors, for example, cannot qualify for a record suspension.
It’s also important to note that sexual offences in general, while they may receive record suspensions, will still be flagged for certain background checks. So, for example, if you apply to work in an office, a background check here will be “clean,” and nothing will come up. However, if you volunteer to work at a women’s shelter, which is considered a vulnerable sector, that sexual offence will still appear when a vulnerable sector background check is conducted.
In most other cases, the qualifications for clearing a criminal record with a record suspension are straightforward. You must not have more than three offences on record, with jail sentences of two or more years each. You must have served your sentence, paid any associated fines and undertaken your probation.
Depending on the type of conviction you have, there will be a waiting period after all these other requirements have been met. Summary offences can only be applied for after five years. If it’s an indictable offence, the waiting period is ten years.
We Understand The Process
If you want the best chance at your record suspension succeeding, talk to us. Pardons Canada has the knowledge and experience to ensure that all the documentation, requirements and processes are properly observed to ensure maximum success for your application. Contact us for more help and information.