Consider the Impact a Conviction Can Have

There are misconceptions that our role as lawyers is confined to the courtroom. However, in today’s article we will touch upon the issue of what happens AFTER you have been convicted.  There are plenty of statistics thrown around on the internet these days dealing with the percentage of Canadians with a criminal record. Michael Ashby of the National Pardon Centre quoted in 2015 that he had heard estimates of “numbers all the way up to 30%”, but that the most common accepted number was 10%. This equates to a potential approximation of 3.7 million people in Canada having a criminal record of some sort. Matter of fact, someone you know may already have or may currently be facing criminal charges. It could also be that you found this video as you yourself are facing a criminal charge. It is important to know the effects that a conviction can have on you and your life. The mere recording of a conviction is not the end of the criminal justice procedure. The consequences of a criminal conviction on your record can extend way beyond your final appearance in court.

One of the most obvious consequences of a criminal conviction in Canada is employment. Many and most job applications these days require the prospective employee to consent to a background or criminal record check. An employer, in certain circumstances, is unable to provide you with a job offer if you refuse the same, even if you passed your interview with flying colours and are the most qualified individual for the role. In some cases, the employer might even require you to participate in ongoing criminal record checks. At any time a search can be requested by the employer from the Police and all available Canadian Police indices and databases are searched against your name and date of birth. In certain cases, your fingerprints may also be required. This Criminal Record check, or more often referred to as a “CPIC check”, is basically a summary of all convictions, resolutions, bonds, or discharges against you. A common question that is asked of us by clients is: “but what about just being charged?” What most people do not know is that a criminal record check also reveals any pending charges that are currently before the Court. This information is held by the Police and can be revealed to your employer upon executing the request. Please also note that upon being found not guilty, your fingerprints and files are NOT destroyed automatically. This is only granted by the particular police agency upon specifically requesting the same.

The only possible way for your record in the Canadian Police indices to be set aside is if you have requested, and been granted, to have the data destroyed. You can learn more about Pardons and Record Suspensions by clicking here.

Another question that clients have asked about a criminal record and employment is related to the Ontario Human Rights Code. Yes – it is true that the Ontario Human Rights Code makes it an offence to discriminate or disadvantage you solely based on the presence of a criminal record. This is especially true in the case that your conviction does not relate to the field of employment in any way. On the other hand, if your employment or potential employment is in a field that requires you to be a “respectable person” with “good character”, such as the applying for a job with children or the elderly for instance, the very presence of a criminal record goes against that prerequisite for you being employed and should be taken into account.

A lot of times, our clients have found themselves in a position where they have been refused employment or even fired for “not meeting the requirements for employment”, when they possess a criminal record. In these cases, it can be extremely difficult to prove that the very fact of having a criminal record was what jeopardized your employment.

As you can see, seeking or retaining employment after a criminal conviction is no joke. Much stands to be lost by failing to take the right steps. The well trained lawyers at Aitken Robertson have years of experience with assisting our clients after they have been convicted.

Have a record? Contact us today to see if you are eligible for a Canadian Record Suspension, or what is formerly known as a “Pardon.”