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Applying To University with a Criminal Record

If you have a criminal record, employment and educational opportunities may be limited. Many institutions perform criminal record checks on all applicants. Criminal record checks are necessary for all bachelor’s degrees, post-graduate degree programs, associate degrees and part-time studies among other things in Canada. Some look into criminal history as a more general component of and application and some make it an important part of selecting candidates.

Specific fields of study that require interaction with vulnerable people (children), sensitive materials or tools, or working with the public preclude those with criminal records from participating. A few fields of study which do not allow criminal records include:

  • Teacher’s College
  • Education
  • Psychology
  • Social work
  • Dentistry
  • Population and health degrees
  • Endodontics (Craniofacial Sciences)

If part of your program requires you to participate in a practicum where you will be exposed to children, or vulnerable people, you may not be able to complete the program. It is important to research any programs you may be interested in before you apply to determine whether or not you may be allowed to complete all coursework and practicum.

Licencing or Registrations

In addition to fields of study, there are some fields which require a licence or registration with the province in order to practice. Areas like hotel management or tourism require specific licencing that a criminal record may affect. You may be able to complete a degree in a program but be barred from actually practicing in that field. 

Record Suspension

If a person with a criminal record can demonstrate that they have been a law abiding citizen for a number of years following their completed sentence, they can apply to have their record kept apart from all other criminal records which will remove the criminal record from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database. The convicted offence is not deleted, but rather set aside. Even with a record suspension, certain information will not remain concealed. Sex-related crimes, especially those involving children, will not be concealed.

A record suspension can be revoked if you are convicted of a new indictable or sometimes summary offence, or found to no longer be of good conduct, made a false statement or withheld information at the time you applied. If the record suspension is revoked the record of the offence is added back to the CPIC database.

If you would like more information about how to apply for a record suspension, please contact us and ask how the lawyers at Aitken Robertson can help you.

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