1-in-8 Canadians have a criminal record if you think that’s high, in the US, it’s 1-in-3 Americans. Comparisons aside, these stats indicate millions of people are limited in their ability to access the necessary means to move forward with their lives. Most individuals with a criminal record committed their offense earlier in their lives, usually between the ages of 18 and 26 years of age. Having a criminal record is no joke and here are the 4 top things you should know about having a criminal record.
- Limited housing: Criminal record checks are an everyday occurrence. When you apply for housing whether it’s a lease or a mortgage, the application process involves disclosing whether or not you have a previous conviction and the offense committed. It’s not fair, but most property management companies and banks will not lease property or loan money to someone with a criminal background.
- It’s traceable: You may have served your time and paid your dues, but your criminal record follows you everywhere you go. That means if you try to cross the border and visit the US or vice versa, the border crossing authorities can search out your record on the CPIC database and deny you entry into the country and not only for the immediate future but indefinitely.
- Fewer employment opportunities: A person with a criminal record will find it nearly impossible to get good paying employment. Most companies ask if you have a criminal record or ask if they can perform a background check. A background check will expose any previous convictions. Moreover, if you disclose that you have a criminal record on your job application, you can expect that your job application either goes to the bottom of the pile or into the garbage. Even for those who have made it good, a criminal record will likely prevent them from being a director of a public company.
- Volunteering is impossible: If you have children and want to volunteer at their school or for one of their sporting interests, it is impossible with a criminal record. For obvious reasons, every parent volunteer must fill out a volunteering form and undergo a background check to work around children.
There is an incredible stigma attached to having a criminal record, but you can do something about it. To clear your record in Canada, you can apply for a Record Suspension, (formerly known as a Canadian Pardon) through the Parole Board of Canada and set yourself free from your past.
The purpose of a Record Suspension (Canadian Pardon) is to help people reintegrate into the community. Applying for a Record Suspension can be time-consuming and require a lot of knowledge, but everyone is entitled to apply. Once a Record Suspension is granted by the Parole Board of Canada, the RCMP will be informed and they will seal your record in a separate section of the database that can’t be accessed. This means you are free to apply for housing, employment, even to volunteer at your children’s school.
It’s important to note that a Record Suspension does not erase your criminal record, in fact, if you were to re-offend, your record would be reinstated and you would have to reapply after a certain time period.
Additionally, having a Record Suspension does not mean you can travel across the border freely. In order to travel to the US for work or vacations, you would need to apply for a US Waiver. A US Waiver allows you to travel south-of-the-border.
Having a criminal record not only impacts your quality of life, but it also impacts the people in your life. Starting fresh is important. If you want to turn over a new leaf and set yourself free from the stigma attached to your past, contact AllCleared and let us help you restore your dignity.
It’s time you took your life back and stop letting your past dictate your future. Call us at 1-866-972-7366 or email [email protected]. We are here to help you move forward into a future filled with endless opportunities.