Do you have a criminal record and are wondering what impact it might have on your life? Read this article to understand the possible impacts of a criminal record on:
- your job,
- your insurance,
- your search for housing,
- your immigration applications to Canada,
- your trips abroad, especially in the United States.
Employment: a criminal record can sometimes harm you
Generally speaking, no one can dismiss you, refuse to hire you or put you at a disadvantage because of your criminal record if:
- the criminal offense for which you were convicted has no connection with the employment or
- if you have obtained a suspension of your criminal record (a pardon) .
For example , a history of fraud or theft may be inconsistent with the employment of a beneficiary attendant with seniors. On the other hand, there is not necessarily a link between a domestic violence conviction and a department store job. Thus, it is the link with the profession that counts, even when the crime is serious.
It is risky to lie to an employer about his or her background. It is better to answer honestly and then complain if you believe you have been discriminated against based on your criminal record. This is the case even if you believe that the employer has no reason to question you about your background.
Know that you can honestly answer that you have not been sentenced if you have been discharged . However, even if you have received an absolution, you can not say that you have not been convicted . These are two different things.
An employer may ask you to provide a certificate of good conduct before committing yourself. In principle, your antecedents will not appear on this document if:
- you got a suspension from your locker or
- you got an absolution and a certain amount of time has passed since
Warning! The rules are stricter if you want to work with vulnerable people or with children. In these cases, the employer may require that you obtain a special audit of your background. This audit could even highlight cases for which you have obtained a criminal record suspension . This is the case, for example, if you have committed certain sexual offenses . For more information, you can contact a lawyer or visit the RCMP website.
A landlord could refuse to rent his home to a person with a criminal record
The law does not consider the criminal record as a ground of discrimination in housing. An owner could therefore refuse to rent you his home if you have a criminal record.
An insurer may refuse to insure someone because of a criminal record
An insurer may refuse to insure you if you have a criminal record. In fact, your criminal record may be relevant to the insurer in assessing the risk of insuring you. The insurer may charge a higher premium or offer you reduced coverage if it concludes that your criminal record is an important factor to consider.
It is safer to notify your insurer of your criminal record. If you do not, the insurer could cancel your insurance and even refuse to pay you damages if you make a claim. Your obligation does not stop once the insurance policy is issued! You must declare them at any time during the time you are covered.
If several insurance companies refuse to insure you, the Insurance Bureau of Canada Help Desk can help you: 1-877-288-4321.
A criminal record can be detrimental to your immigration applications to Canada
A criminal record can prevent you from obtaining Canadian citizenship or permanent residence . In some cases, a criminal record may also prevent you from sponsoring someone .
A suspension of the criminal record could help you. Ask a lawyer for more information.
A criminal record can sometimes prevent you from traveling abroad
Each country decides the rules that allow foreigners to enter or not on their territory. Some countries prohibit entry to travelers with criminal records . For the rules of the country you would like to visit, you can consult the Canadian Government Travel Warnings. You can also contact a Canadian government office in the country you plan to visit.
Traveling in the United States
US immigration laws are strict for people who have been convicted of a criminal offense. In addition, US customs and immigration officers have a great deal of discretion when it comes to letting a person with a criminal record go or not.
Several types of crimes prevent a person from entering the United States, even for a single stop at an airport . Access to the United States is particularly difficult in cases of drug history . There are many complex nuances and exceptions in the US law, so it’s a good idea to consult a lawyer if you have a criminal record and would like to travel or stop over in the United States.
Absolution does not permit automatic entry into the United States. It takes a while before the tracks are erased to cross the border.
The criminal record suspension granted to Canada is not recognized by the US authorities and does not erase the information contained in the databases used by the US government. Entry into the United States is therefore not guaranteed.
It is sometimes possible to obtain a waiver that will help you enter the United States despite a criminal record. Fees will be charged for the processing of the application, which may take several months.
You can consult a lawyer if you wish to obtain a waiver or contact the organization AlterJustice who will be able to answer your questions about the waiver and the criminal record in general.