If you have a applied for a pardon in Canada, you might have your own feelings about what it will mean when your granted Record Suspension letter arrives. Maybe you plan to travel or get a better job. Maybe you want to want to get a business licence or go back to school.
There are many things you can do once your Record Suspension is granted, but what does it really mean?
Getting your career back on track with a granted Record Suspension
If you have a criminal record, you may have dreaded filling out job application forms. Increasingly employers are asking for criminal record checks before hiring. Sometimes they will ask on the initial application form if you have ever been convicted of an offence for which a pardon or Record Suspension has not been granted.
This is because most human rights law in Canada makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of a criminal record subject to a granted Record Suspension. Once you are able to honestly check the “No” box on this question, you will find it easier to line up job interviews.
Another place you may find people asking for criminal record checks is in the interview itself. Some employers will wait until they are seriously considering hiring a person before they ask about a criminal record check.
Before you have a granted Record Suspension, you may try to explain to the employer why you have a record. Some people just wait for the record check results and aren’t surprised when they don’t get a call back.
When you have a granted Record Suspension, you can confidently submit your record check because it will come back clear.
When your Record Suspension is granted, the RCMP will remove it from the main database of criminal records, which is called CPIC. Once it’s sealed it can’t be revealed without permission of the Public Safety Minister. However, if you were ever to be convicted of a new offence it would be unsealed and the Record Suspension would no longer be valid.
You should be aware that your records could also be in local police databases. Usually, they will remove it once a Record Suspension is granted. If you want to be sure, go to the police station and request a record check. If anything comes back, ask them to remove it.
You will also be able to pass criminal record checks for volunteering once you clear your record. However, there is an exception for people working or volunteering with anyone who could be considered vulnerable, such as children, the elderly or the disabled. In this case, sexual offences could be revealed even with a granted Record Suspension.
Travelling with a criminal record is a different story because other countries are not required to adhere to Canadian human rights laws. This means they will ask questions like: “Have you ever been arrested?” or “Have you ever been convicted?”
However, a granted Record Suspension can help you travel because you can answer the question honestly, but then show the officer that you received a pardon. This provides compelling evidence of rehabilitation. If you are applying for a visa at a consulate, it also allows you to support your application with a clean record check.
It’s important to remember that it’s ultimately up to the other country whether they want to let you in or not. With the exception of Canada and the United States, the rules are often unclear when travelling abroad with a criminal record.
The United States does not recognize Canadian pardons. If you have certain types of offences on your record, you will need to apply for a US Entry Waiver. This process is similar to applying for a pardon. However, unlike a pardon, it is not permanent. A Waiver is usually granted for one to five years.
A Record Suspension isn’t perfect but it’s a big step forward for many people. It allows them to move on and put the past behind them. If you would like to find out if a Record Suspension can help your situation, give our advisors a call for a free consultation at 1-866-972-7366.