A Record Suspension is an opportunity to create a fresh start. When you seal your criminal record, new opportunities open up. Record Suspensions benefit both the individual and the community. The importance to society includes greater public safety and better economic outcomes.

A Record Suspension promotes rehabilitation by allowing the person with a record to reintegrate fully into Canadian society.

Benefits to the applicant

A criminal record creates barriers in almost every aspect of life. A Record Suspension helps to eliminate those barriers.

Work: When a person has a criminal record, finding a job can be very stressful. Many employers these days are requesting a background check for even entry-level jobs. Even if there is a possibility that an employer will consider a person with a record under some circumstances, many people with records do not apply for jobs that require background checks.

Travel: The US does not recognize Canadian pardons. If you have an inadmissible offence on your record, you will need to get a US Entry Waiver to travel to the United States. However, a record could also cause Canadians to be denied entry to countries abroad. A Record Suspension can help mitigate some of these challenges. It allows them to pass record checks for visas and can also be shown as evidence of rehabilitation.

Volunteer: A person with a criminal record will have a hard time volunteering. This is especially problematic for parents who want to be part of their children’s school and after-school activities. Being a part of a child’s activities has a lot of importance for families. A Record Suspension allows you to pass background checks for volunteering.

Importance to society

Some people have a negative view of Record Suspensions. They don’t think the government should “forgive” people convicted of crimes. This is the wrong way to view pardons and Record Suspensions.

The stigma of a criminal record can prevent people from finding a job, which increases the burden on society. Although employers are often told they should only consider records that are directly related to the job at hand, this is often not how it works in real life.

When faced with two qualified applicants, employers will often choose the one that does not have a record. Some people with records have reported that they even have trouble getting hired in entry-level positions. When people cannot find work, they are forced to rely on social services. In many cases, the person with the record is the main breadwinner in their family and will find it hard to support their children or other dependents.

Poverty and stigma can have a negative effect on people psychologically. Some people resort to drugs or alcohol or suffer from mental health issues as a result. This costs society in healthcare costs. The importance of a Record Suspension includes the fact that it helps to reduce stigma.

A Record Suspension can prevent recidivism. It helps people find meaningful work, volunteer and other opportunities. When people are able to contribute fully, there is less motivation to go back to any risky behaviour.

Anyone who has ever received a Record Suspension can tell you that it was a long road. A Record Suspension is a meaningful document that marks a turning point for the person receiving it. The recidivism rate for people with Record Suspensions is very small, less than four percent. No one wants to lose a Record Suspension after working so hard to receive it.

By promoting rehabilitation, Record Suspensions work to make the community safer.

Most importantly, a Record Suspension is the last step in a person’s rehabilitation. It’s a formal confirmation that the person has successfully rehabilitated and is a full member of society. With all the benefits to Record Suspensions, it’s surprising that the government has yet to act on reforming the system to make the process fairer and more accessible.

If you believe that Record Suspensions should be accessible for people of all incomes, please consider signing our petition at Lift the Burden. If you would like to discuss a Record Suspension for yourself, contact AllCleared for a free consultation at 1-866-972-7366.