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Healthcare programs are some of the most popular and competitive programs at Canadian colleges and universities. With an aging population, these sectors offer graduates excellent prospects for salary growth and employment stability. Studying health care is not out of reach for people with a criminal record, but it could be challenging.

Many Canadian colleges and universities inquire about their applicants’ criminal histories. In some cases, a background check is performed. This is usually the case when applying to fields of study that will eventually require a licence to practice. These include:

  • Counseling
  • Psychology
  • Dental hygiene
  • Physical therapy
  • Dentistry
  • Medicine

Applicants to many, if not all, health care programs are expected to submit to a background check. This is because of the likelihood that they will interact with many individuals, including vulnerable persons while studying healthcare. Most healthcare programs involve some type of practicum in clinics, hospitals or non-profit organizations.

In addition to a regular record check, prospective students may be required to submit to a Vulnerable Sector Check. A Vulnerable Sector Check discloses more than a regular record check. It reveals sexual and violent offences for which an individual has received a Record Suspension.

Having a record may not automatically disqualify you from admission to a health care program. That said, relevant offences may at the very least influence the admission officer’s decision. The following offences demonstrate serious breaches of trust or gross negligence and may compromise your application:

  • sexual offences
  • violent offences
  • drug-related offences
  • theft and fraud

Applying for admission to higher education is competitive and arduous enough. You should not let past offences speak louder than your recent accomplishments.

What Can You Do ?

Be upfront

If you are applying for a health care program, be prepared to disclose past and pending offences. Being truthful about your record speaks well to your character. It can also jump start a conversation about your rehabilitation.

Get a Record Suspension

Having a Record Suspension is another way of demonstrating rehabilitation.

Absolute and conditional discharges are automatically removed from your record after a waiting period of 1 or 3 years. Most records become eligible for suspension after 5 to 10 years.

With the exception of vulnerable sector checks, a Record Suspension means that admission officers will not have access to your record. This allows you to pursue your education with confidence that focus is on the right parts of your application.

Still interested in studying health care?

Start your Record Suspension application as soon as you are able. A Record Suspension requires a lengthy waiting period (five or 10 years depending on the offence). You can start compiling your documents in the final year of your wait period as it takes about a year to collect everything. Contact us today to find out if you are eligible for a Record Suspension and get started with your application.