can i expunge my criminal recordThe information below is not specific legal advice- you should always speak to an experienced lawyer regarding your specific situation.

If you’ve ever been charged with a crime under the Criminal Code of Canada, even if you were found not guilty, or were never convicted, you technically have a criminal record which  requires a pardon/record suspension (if you were convicted) or a file destruction (if you were not convicted).

Public Safety Canada data suggests that 23% of Canadian males over age 12 (and 4% females) have criminal records.

A criminal record affects your professional and personal life in many negative ways including:

  • Employment: Many occupations that serve the public or children require clean criminal records check. It can also greatly impact career advancement/movement.
  • Renting/Leasing: Many landlords require criminal record checks prior to agreeing to taking you on as a tenant.
  • Volunteerism: Many volunteer programs (especially those serving children) perform criminal background checks.
  • Immigration: If you are in the midst of applying for Canadian citizenship, then your application will be rejected if you have a Canadian criminal record. Canadian Immigration frequently deports people with criminal records.

The only way to avoid the above damaging repercussions and have a criminal background check result in ‘no criminal record found’ would be to have your record suspended. A record suspension, formerly known as a pardon, can only be granted by the Parole Board of Canada.

After which time, the only chance it can be viewed again in the future is with express written permission from the Minister of Justice.

That being said, individuals convicted of sexual offences will still be flagged when vulnerable sector searches are conducted. Record suspensions are also not recognized by the United States, so the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has a list of moral turpitude they consult when deciding to permit entry to Canadians with criminal records.

A pardon for convictions was initiated in 1970 to relieve the unjust consequences that linger with a person who has been convicted of an offence, but has long since rehabilitated oneself and satisfactorily integrated back into society. Recent legislative changes have termed it “Record Suspension” in order to reduce the risk of discrimination from having a criminal record.

In order to get the peace of mind you deserve, contact Donna V. Pledge at 416 630 8702 to determine whether you can qualify for a record suspension (pardon) and return to a life of normalcy.