When applying for a Record Suspension, you’re asked to fill out a Measurable Benefit and Sustained Rehabilitation Form. This is essentially asking you how you believe your life and the lives of those around you will be improved by receiving a Record Suspension, and how you plan to use the Record Suspension to continue your reintegration back to society.
According to the Parole Board of Canada, from 2014 to 2015, there were, “9,169 Record Suspension[s] rendered, 92% Record Suspensions ordered and 8% refused.” It’s important to note that of the 490,000 people who have received Pardons and Record Suspensions in Canada since 1970, 95% have not re-committed crimes. Receiving a Record Suspension can positively influence your life and help you erase the stigma attached to having a criminal record.
Facts You Should Know About Having a Criminal Record
Any person who has had a run-in with the police and was fingerprinted, has a criminal record. This means that whether you’ve been found guilty and have been convicted of a crime or not, you have a criminal record. A criminal record includes identifying information about you linked to your name such as your date of birth, photographs, fingerprints and other related records.
Once you have a criminal record, you are entered into a national database run by the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC). Any police force across Canada, as well as US border security officials, has access to search the database. Certain types of employers may conduct name-based criminal record checks when hiring new employees.
What Exactly is a Record Suspension?
A Record Suspension is granted by the Parole Board of Canada (PBC), the national agency responsible for granting and revoking Pardons and Record Suspensions. If you have been convicted of a crime and have completed your sentence, waited for the appropriate number of years and demonstrate that you have rehabilitated, you may apply for a Record Suspension. When you receive a Record Suspension, your criminal record is sealed off and can no longer be accessed in the national database.
Once you receive a Record Suspension, the only person with authority to re-open your record is the Minister of Public Safety Canada. This is done very rarely and often only occurs if you have re-committed a very serious crime. If you never commit another crime, you don’t need to worry about your record being re-opened.
Measurable Benefits You’ll Receive from a Record Suspension
Some people haven’t yet encountered any obstacles because of having a criminal record and wonder about the importance of receiving a Record Suspension. However, sooner or later, you’ll likely face some sort of consequence when you apply for a new job or are turned away at the US border.
Here are a few benefits of receiving a Record Suspension:
- Better Employment Opportunities. Many employers conduct criminal record checks when screening for new employees. Having a criminal record could prevent you from obtaining a new job, or from receiving a promotion. If you’re self-employed and own your own business, you may undergo a criminal record check as well if you sub-contract to another business.
- Easier and Less Expensive to be Bonded. If you work in the trades, you often need to be bonded. However, a criminal record significantly increases the cost of being bonded which may prevent an employer from wanting to hire you.
- Ability to Receive Canadian Citizenship. Canadian Immigration often refuses to grant Citizenship or Permanent Resident status to those who have a criminal record.
- Improved Chance of Child Custody. Having a criminal record can hurt your chances of receiving child custody and limit your visitation rights.
- Improved Chance of Getting Favourable Rentals. Many landlords perform criminal background checks on potential tenants. You may have a difficult time getting the apartment you like with a criminal record.
- More Educational Opportunities. A Record Suspension provides you with access to more educational programs as many schools require screening of applicants.
- Improved Peace of Mind. Many people worry about new friends or employers finding out about their criminal past. A Record Suspension will enable you to live worry-free.
Obtaining a Record Suspension helps to remove the negative associations, consequences and discrimination you may face due to having a criminal record. You’ll build your self-esteem and confidence and embark on a positive path in life.
At Pardons Canada, we strongly believe in helping those who have successfully rehabilitated get a fresh start. Call us toll-free at (877) 929-6011.