3 implications of a criminal record in Canada

A person with a criminal record means there is a police record associated with that person with past criminal convictions. And it should be understood that criminal records carry non-convictions as well such as withdrawn charges, discharges and acquittals.

Thus, even though the person wasn’t convicted of a crime (in case of non-conviction), their name may show up during a criminal record search. What might be confusing to most people is that there is no set definition for a criminal record. What’s for certain though, is that a criminal conviction will definitely result in a criminal record.

However, a non-conviction may result in the same as well. If you feel this is unjustified, you may file a request to have your non-conviction record destroyed. You can make this application with the Toronto Police Forces one year after the conclusion of your matter.

Now if you do have a criminal record, you may be interested in knowing the implications it carries in Canada. In this post, we’ll discuss 3 implications of a criminal record in Canada.

Employment Implications for Having a Criminal Record

There are no rules that define what consequences you’ll face in terms of employment for having a criminal record. It all depends on whether or not you were convicted, the seriousness of the crime, your current line of work and so on. Due to the various complexities involved in employment-related implications of having a criminal record, many criminals turn to Toronto defence lawyers.

If you get a criminal record while employed, your employer may terminate you with or without cause. With cause termination means that the employer does not have to serve you a notice period or offer you a severance package upon termination. It is generally regarded as an extreme measure on the part of employers, and does not usually happen. Only in the most serious cases can an employer terminate employees with no cause.

If you have a criminal record with non-conviction(s), employers can still terminate you with cause but in very limited cases. Generally speaking, if the employer decides to terminate you for having a criminal record with non-convictions, it is going to be with a severance package or notice period.

An example of an extreme case would be if you’re involved in a line of work which requires with children, but are charged with assault against a minor, the employer might terminate you without cause, justifiably.

Keep in mind that the Human Rights Code prohibits employers to discriminate if your criminal offense has been pardoned. In these cases, your employer cannot terminate you on the grounds of a criminal conviction (for which you have been pardoned).

Travel Implications

The most common travel destination for Canadians is the United States, so let’s use that as an example for travel implications of having a criminal record. Let’s start by emphasizing that having a criminal record may or may not lead to travel restrictions, depending on the destination. For this reason, it’s always a good practice to consult with the embassy or consulate of the country you’re planning to go to.

Let’s continue with the example of the United States. The law in the US states that people who have committed and been convicted of a crime of ‘moral turpitude’ may not enter the country. Moral turpitude is a pretty vague term, but crimes of this nature generally include murder, theft, fraud and aggravated assault. You can consult other sources that detail the specific crimes that fall under this category.

That being said, you may still be granted entry into the States if the convictions were made a long time ago. If you’re unsure of whether you’ll be denied entry into the US, contact Customs and Border Protection, or apply for a US Entry Waiver.

And as mentioned in employment implications, you may be denied entry into the States even if your criminal record only consists of non-conviction(s). The US Customs and Border Protection has access to the RCMP’s database for criminal records, so your name may show up even if you only have a non-conviction. Of course, you can make an application for your non-conviction criminal records to be destroyed. In any case, it’s best to contact the US Customs in advance to check whether your specific convictions or non-convictions could prevent you from traveling to the US. 

Immigration Application Implications

The implications of having a criminal record on your immigration application depends on your current status in the country (permanent resident, refugee, visitor and so on). If you’ve applied for permanent residence in Canada, having a criminal record can slow down the application process depending on the severity of the conviction.

For serious convictions, your application will either slow down to a crawl or you may even be deported. If you’re already a permanent resident, an offence such as aggravated assault may cause you to be stripped of your PR, possibly followed by deportation.

Even less serious crimes such as simple assault can slow down your immigration application process, or even lead to rejection. And, having a criminal record with non-convictions can still adversely affect your immigration application.

Dealing With a Criminal Record

If you’ve been convicted of a crime you’ll definitely have a criminal record, but you don’t have to live with the implications for the rest of your life. A Record Suspension (known formerly as a pardon), allows anyone who has served their sentence and demonstrated that they no longer pose a threat and have been a law-abiding citizen for a certain number of years, to have their criminal record be kept separate from other criminal records.

Under Canada’s Human Rights Code, employers are prohibited from discriminating on the bases of convictions for which an employee or applicant has been pardoned. For example during a job interview, you’ll be asked about any convictions that you do not have a pardon for, and not otherwise.

Thus, it is generally easy to find employment once you get a Record Suspension for your conviction(s).