Yes, in some cases a landlord can ask for a criminal record check. When applying for a new place to live, you may have some hesitation or worry if you have a criminal record. Even if you are a great tenant with good references, your criminal record may make your potential landlord think twice.
Fortunately, a landlord cannot run a criminal record check without your permission. If you are asked to sign a rental application, review the provisions carefully. There may be a paragraph that says the landlord will run a record check as part of the process of reviewing your application. In most cases, that means the landlord will deny you tenancy if anything shows up.
A record suspension removes your criminal record from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database, so your landlord will not know you have any past convictions. This is one reason why requesting a pardon may be in the best interest of you and your family members. Even if you have the money to rent a nicer place, past mistakes can prevent you from getting the home you want.
You have the right to not be discriminated against for convictions that have been pardoned. The process may seem overwhelming, but there is help available to get you back on track.