There are many sad stories of people trying to get a good job and can’t because of old criminal records that have come back to haunt them. Often these criminal charges are old and petty, yet still put up obstacles in life.
Many people believe these old criminal charges will simply disappear or not be seen after a certain period of time.
How unfortunate that so many Canadians don’t know about the opportunity to get a Canada Pardon, to remove these old criminal charges so that they can be free to live their life without the worry of the past coming back to haunt them.
Here is a story in the Newfoundland Telegraph of one individual who lost out on a great job opportunity because of a 15 year old theft under charge:
The criminal background check confirmed that she did indeed have a criminal record.
“I didn’t know that at all. I was so proud to go down (the RNC) and get that, because I didn’t think I had a criminal record. I couldn’t wait. And when I got it, I also died.”
Eastern Health Hospital withdrew the job offer a couple of days before she was to start work at nearly $17 an hour, after she owned up to the incident and produced the court record of her 1992 theft-under-$1,000 conviction.
“I don’t want to be here on welfare. I don’t want to be here at all. What the hell am I supposed to do? I’m sick and tired of being judged, because it’s not right.”
The woman says she didn’t forget the 1992 incident, but believed it to be minor in nature and not warranting a criminal record.
“I never forgot about it, but I didn’t think I had a record, where it was my first offence. I have heard so many people say, ‘That gets taken off your record (automatically) after seven years.’ In 1996, I could have had this off my record. I didn’t know that at all. After a certain length of time, I think that should be taken out of the system,” she says.
The woman was in the process of completing required preparations for her job and had even been sent a memo regarding an orientation session. She was supposed to start work June 15
“I really, really wanted this job. I’d do anything for it.”
Eastern Health won’t discuss specific cases, but there is a box that gets ticked on applications concerning criminal records, says Kim Blanchard, manager of recruitment.
Once an offer of employment is made, a clear certificate of conduct is requested. If something shows up on a person’s record, prospective employees will be asked to describe the circumstances in writing, and each case is reviewed individually, with Eastern Health weighing mitigating circumstances.
Applicants with criminal records aren’t common. Of 600 hires made between April and June, 10 people had criminal convictions that made Eastern Health rescind their offer. Usually it’s just one old charge, Blanchard says.
In those circumstances, people are encouraged to seek a pardon, and when they re-apply, their application is clean.
According to her version of events, the woman in this case was grocery shopping with her oldest daughter, then two, when the incident occurred in 1992. It was her practice to buy the child a hair scrunchie and a book each week. She put the $2 scrunchie in the child’s hair but forgot to pay for it with her groceries. A security person nabbed her.
She tried to get a legal aid lawyer but was told the charge was minor. So she went to court and wound up with a $200 fine and no conditional discharge.
“I was definitely, definitely mistreated in the beginning by the legal system,” she says.
“I asked for a lawyer. I asked for advice and nobody told me nothing. I don’t think that is right.”
The woman still hopes to be reconsidered for an Eastern Health job in the future and change the course of her life.
“I just got to start all over again at square one,” says the woman.
“I just want somebody to give me a break. I’m not a criminal.”
If you have any questions regarding this topic or about Pardons and US Entry Waivers email us at [email protected] or call 1-877-929-6011.