FAQ

You can get a job with a criminal record, but it might become an obstacle if a background check is required. Many employers, particularly in large organizations, will run a criminal record check before hiring a new person.
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When a criminal record can be expunged depends on the nature of the record. A criminal conviction record stays with you unless you take steps to receive a Record Suspension, also called a pardon.
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Yes, but you need to be sure to do all of the paperwork properly. Having experts analyze your file taking your employment situation, immigration status, work expectations and travel plans into account means that you don’t have to worry about whether you’ve hit all the right marks. We never do unnecessary paperwork, or paperwork that would put you in a worse situation.
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You have a criminal record if you committed an offence as an adult and were convicted in a court of law. You may have had contact with authorities over the course of your life.
But, whether or not you have a criminal record can be a source of some confusion. Some incidents are handled differently than others, and your situation may fall into a grey area. To know for sure, you may have to look at your own criminal record to see what information it holds. If you are over the age of 18 and have been convicted of a criminal offence, you do have a criminal record. Provincial offences, such as those related to liquor or driving, will not show up on a criminal record. You should be aware, however, that some driving offences, like DUIs, can be criminal offences that will show up on your criminal record.
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To seal a criminal record you need to make an application to the Parole Board of Canada. A Record Suspension means the criminal record is removed from police databases.
However, in some cases, criminal records may be sealed without an application. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is responsible for sealing records in accordance with the Criminal Records Act, Youth Criminal Justice Act, and by request from government officials. In the case of youth offences, records are normally sealed within a prescribed period of time and under certain conditions.
For your peace of mind, and to prevent any unexpected barriers to travel, employment or volunteer work, it’s good to know whether your criminal records are sealed. You can get assistance with this process and move on to a productive life.
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No, you may not be bondable with a criminal record. However, you may be able to become bondable with a Record Suspension.
Many jobs may want you to be bondable. If you handle cash, sensitive company information, or client financial information, you may have to pass a background check and credit check. The background check includes your criminal record, and any convictions will prevent you from being bonded.
In order to open up job opportunities, you may want to apply for a Record Suspension. This does not erase your criminal record, but it sets it apart from other criminal records. Since it will not show up in the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database, it will not prevent you from being bonded by an employer.
Applying for a Record Suspension can be a lengthy process, but it is worth it to ensure no opportunities are closed to you.
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You may be able to travel to Canada with a criminal record with a minor offence as long as it is not DUI. However, for many offences, the government of Canada may consider you to be “criminally inadmissible” if you try to come into the country with a criminal record. If you have a conviction for theft, dangerous driving, drug possession or any number of other crimes, you may be inadmissible.
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Individuals with only conviction(s) for simple possession of cannabis who have completed their sentence are eligible to apply to have their criminal record set apart from other criminal records in the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database. A record suspension helps individuals find work and educational opportunities and contribute to society without the barrier of a conviction for simple possession of cannabis. Individuals can apply even if they have unpaid fines or victim surcharges.
The Criminal Records Act (CRA) applies only to records kept by federal organizations, but most provincial and municipal criminal justice agencies also restrict access to their records once they are informed that a record suspension has been ordered.
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A cannabis record suspension does not erase a conviction, but sets it aside; does not guarantee entry or visa privileges to another country. Concealing information or making false or deceptive statements can result in your record suspension being revoked or ceasing to have effect at a later date.
A cannabis record suspension (or pardon) can be revoked or cease to have effect if you are:
Convicted of a new indictable offence, or in some cases, a summary offence; Found to have made a false or misleading statement, or hidden information when you applied; Found to have been ineligible for a record suspension at the time the record suspension was ordered.
If a record suspension is revoked or ceases to have effect, the record of the offence(s) are added back in to the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database.
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Yes, you can become a Canadian citizen if you have a criminal record, but the path will be more complicated. The Government of Canada takes note of convictions both inside the country and outside. If you were convicted of an indictable offence either at home or abroad in the four years before you apply, your citizenship application will not be approved.
In addition, certain offences committed while you were a permanent resident, whenever they took place, can also stop you from becoming a Canadian citizen. If your court case is currently under appeal, you might also have to wait before engaging in the citizenship process.
The most expedient path would be to apply for a Record Suspension for offences committed within Canada which will seal your Canada criminal record, opening up your employment and business options .
If you committed an offence outside of Canada, you can apply for criminal rehabilitation. This allows you to overcome criminal inadmissibility and open a new path towards citizenship in Canada. The Canadian government may already consider you rehabilitated if it’s been at least 10 years since you completed your sentence. If it’s been less time, you should go through the criminal rehabilitation application process.
Regardless of your situation, there are resources to help you get back on track. If you are ready to start a new life in Canada, learn more about your options to move on from past infractions through criminal rehabilitation or Record Suspension.
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Yes, you may be able to get permanent residency if you have a criminal record. However, you should apply for a Record Suspension or Criminal Rehabilitation first. Permanent residence status is a pathway to Canadian citizenship. If you are a permanent resident, you cannot vote or hold public office, but you can reside and work in Canada. You receive the protections of Canadian law and access to social benefits. There are certain criteria you must meet in order to become a permanent resident, and the status may be revoked.
As part of your permanent resident application, you are required to provide a police certificate. This is used to assess whether incoming people are a security risk to the country. The kind of police certificate and criminal record check you must provide will depend on under what circumstances you are entering Canada, such as whether you plan to study or provide caregiving services.
You may be denied permanent residency if you were deemed inadmissible to Canada because of serious criminality or similar reasons. You do not have to be a Canadian citizen to apply for a record suspension, also called a pardon, or criminal rehabilitation. A record suspension applies to convictions within Canada, while criminal rehabilitation covers offences committed outside the country. Clearing up your criminal record helps clear up past mistakes and makes becoming a member of Canadian society much easier. The process can be daunting, but you don’t have to figure things out by yourself. You can get help from people who understand the system.
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An indictable offence is an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada that carries more serious penalties and often includes jail time. If you were convicted of an indictable offence, you must wait 10 years after the completion of your sentence before requesting a pardon.
You can request a record suspension if it has been more than 10 years since you paid all fines, retribution and penalties associated with the conviction and finished any jail time. Once you have demonstrated good conduct by not having any subsequent offences, you can then apply to the Parole Board of Canada to have your criminal record removed from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database.
The process of putting together your materials can be a lengthy one so getting started as soon as possible is strongly advised. If the paperwork seems overwhelming, Pardon Canada is here to support you through the process.
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Summary offences are considered less serious offences under the Criminal Code. In Canada, criminal offences are divided into two major categories: summary or indictable.
Examples of summary offences include making harassing phone calls, taking a motor vehicle, and causing a disturbance.
When the Parole Board of Canada receives an application for a Record Suspension for a summary offence, it is supposed to render a decision within six months. However, due to backlog and government delays, as well as the long process of putting the application together to begin with, it could take up to two years to get your pardon.
You can request a Record Suspension in order to help you move forward. Our experts can help you work efficiently to get it done as soon as possible.
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Yes, a DUI will appear on a background check. This is because a DUI is considered a criminal offence in Canada. To remove it, you will need to apply for a Record Suspension. However, you likely do not need a waiver to enter the United States as a DUI is considered a hybrid offence which means that it can be tried as a Summary offence or an Indictable offence.
If you have a DUI on your record, you will need to determine whether it was summary or indictable. This will affect whether you need to wait five years for a Record Suspension or 10 years.
Once you have cleared your DUI record you can apply for jobs without worrying about the background check. However, a Record Suspension will not help you with higher insurance rates, or with a driver’s licence suspension. If you have a DUI, there could be penalties based on your driver’s abstract and the insurance companies will still be able to see that you have a DUI on your driver’s abstract. Depending on the province in which you live, a DUI penalty on insurance could go back six years.
As well, if you want to work in a driving position, such as truck driving, taxi driving or courier, you might be asked to provide a driver’s abstract. Depending on how long ago the DUI occurred, the circumstances might appear. For more information
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Yes, in some cases a landlord can ask for a criminal record check. However, a landlord cannot run a criminal record check without your permission. If you are asked to sign a rental application, review the provisions carefully. 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. You have the right to not be discriminated against for convictions that have been pardoned. The process may seem overwhelming, but Pardon Canada is here to help get you back on track.
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Yes, a criminal record can affect adoption. It is recommended that you apply for a Canadian pardon (Record Suspension) before you make an application.
A criminal record search with fingerprints is required before adopting a child in Canada. If this record search does not come back clear, then it is possible that your application for adoption will be denied. There may be exceptions if the record was completely unrelated to anything that would pose a threat to a child, especially if it was a long time ago. We would recommend that the application for a Record Suspension from the Parole Board of Canada be started as early as possible, due to the length of time that it can take in some circumstances. The adoption process is already quite complicated. If you need help navigating the application process for a Record Suspension, please reach out for assistance.
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Depending on your situation, you might need: 1) a record suspension (pardon) and/or 2) a US entry waiver.
If you have never been refused entry into the US for having a criminal record, a Canadian record suspension may suffice to enter the US. However, if you have been denied entry at the border for a criminal record, you will need a US entry waiver. If you have been stopped at the border and were refused entry because of your criminal record, your record will forever stay in the US Department of Homeland Security criminal database. Canadian pardons are not recognized by the US government if they are aware of your conviction, but US entry waivers are recognized.
If you have not been refused entry prior to getting your record suspension, the border guards and the Department of Homeland Security may not know of your previous criminal record, unless you tell them at the border.
You do not need to apply for, or receive a record suspension, before applying for a US entry waiver. If you need to travel to the US and have a Canadian criminal record you can choose to apply only for a US entry waiver to ensure access to the US.
However, if you have a Canadian criminal record and have not been pardoned, and the requisite amount of time has elapsed, you may want to consider applying for a record suspension at the same time.
The US border guards are given permission by US law to refuse entry to anyone for any and all convictions showing up on your criminal record without taking into account the details of the crime(s). Anyone granted a US entry waiver should be at no risk of being refused entry to the US. A US entry waiver overrides any personal discretion border guards may have.
The application process for a US entry waiver can take from six to 18 months depending on its complexity.
A record suspension is not recognized by US border guards. If at any time you have been denied access to the US, you will still be denied access to the US even if you have a record suspension. You must apply for a US entry waiver