One of the most important things in the life of any Canadian is getting a good job in line with their personal proficiencies, skills, and interests, and then getting paid enough to survive life in our modern society. For most Canadians, this is simply a matter of doing whatever it takes to get the skills required, maybe getting some relevant experience, and then finally hunting down that opening position with applications to all suitable employers.
For others, unfortunately, things are more difficult, even with the right qualifications, and that’s because of the presence of a criminal record.
The Ghost of the Past
Anyone that has actually been convicted of a crime in a Canadian court of law has probably had to serve a sentence that was handed down by the judge and jury. While that is one important part of repaying a debt to society for crimes committed, it doesn’t end there.
Once that sentenced has been served, the offence itself remains on a criminal record. And that criminal record is a matter of public record. Anyone that decides to conduct a background check has the legal right to see that criminal conviction present on someone’s record. This is not an issue of privacy, where your rights have been violated. As long as you live, that criminal record may remain with you.
Depending on the type of job a person is applying for, the process for getting hired may be as simple as applying and listing relevant qualifications. Or it may involve an elaborate application, resume, and interview process that is accompanied by a background check to see if there are any criminal convictions present on the record.
One important distinction to note is that, for the majority of criminal convictions, just having a criminal conviction does not make it illegal to hire you. You can have a record, a person can do a background check and find that record, but you can still be hired.
Whether you WILL be hired with the presence of a criminal record is entirely up to business, school, or other organization to which you are applying. Some decision makers will be more understanding and want to be a part of your attempts to be a productive member of society, while others may have a standing policy that a criminal record—especially for theft if a job involves handling money—may be a risk they are unwilling to take.
You Still Have Options
So what can you do if you have a criminal record? Are your career opportunities permanently crippled because of this?
Fortunately, the answer is no. Someone who has lawfully served their time after a conviction does not have to be punished forever by society at large because of the mistake they made. Depending on the nature of your conviction, after a certain amount of time (without any additional convictions), you may apply for a Record Suspension, which will clear your criminal record from any legitimate background checks. As far as the public is concerned, your conviction never happened.
However, for some people, this doesn’t solve the immediate problem of needing a job and income now, especially if the waiting time before qualifying for a Record Suspension is years off. Even in this situation, you still have some options available to you.
We Can Help
While a group like Pardons Canada cannot start the process of a record suspension until the appropriate amount of time has passed, we can still help in other ways. As a respected, non-profit organization with a reputation for helping productive, reformed criminal record holders integrate back into society; we can also write letters of support for people that are looking for employment opportunities. This support letter states that you are in the process of obtaining a Record Suspension and that your application will successfully be completed by Pardons Canada.
If you contact us here at Pardons Canada and present the nature of your difficulties, we will hear you out and see if there is anything we can do immediately. We believe that people that are making a sincere effort to overcome the mistakes of their past should have every opportunity to do so. And if we can help in that effort, either through a letter of support, or assisting in the Record Suspension process when the waiting period is over, we will be there to make it happen.
Contact us today, and let us write you that letter that can give you a second chance.