28 Aug Do I Have a Criminal Record in Canada? How to Find Out
Are you wondering and asking yourself, “Do I have a criminal record in Canada?”
Read on and learn how to find out.
Then, if you do, you’ll want to learn about getting pardoned.
A Canadian criminal record is no joke, and it is important to know the facts about if you have a criminal record, and how to find out what it contains. Any encounter with the law may result in a criminal record, and most individuals prefer to know about theirs in advance with a proactive search into their own recorded criminal, or noncriminal, history.
For anyone over eighteen years old, if you have been merely convicted of any criminal offence, you immediately have a criminal record on the books. This is true, even if you have tried and found not guilty, though a record of all activities is maintained.
In addition, many people have submitted their fingerprints at some time or another to the police database, otherwise known as the national RCMP database. If this has been done by you, then your name, date of birth, and a unique identifying number has been collected for future criminal activity use.
What is a Canadian Criminal Record, Anyway?
A Canadian criminal record, ultimately, is relatively simple; just a record of everything that has occurred with your name, birth date, and fingerprints. It includes everything such as convictions, criminal offences, with resulting outcomes that are both positive and negative, discharges, and any other potentially relevant information as well.
If you have a criminal record, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) will maintain it until the individual reaches 80 years of age, though in some circumstances it may be held longer. A common myth says that criminal records are expunged after a shorter number of years, but this is, in fact, not true, no matter what your criminal record holds.
When you aren’t clear about your own criminal history, you might come up against a nasty surprise during the process of job applications or getting bonded, otherwise known as insured. Having a criminal record may prevent you from accomplishing these goals in life, especially if not handled correctly, and so the smartest citizens find out ahead of time about their own criminal record.
Your Canadian Criminal Record Can be Accessed
First, it is important to note that a Canadian criminal record shouldn’t be easily available to the public, and as a citizen, there is no need to worry about your friends, family, or even your neighbours getting access to your criminal history.
However, certain persons that you will eventually come across will have access to your criminal record, and they will use the information included to make their decisions and legal judgments towards you. These persons include judges, police officers, border security personnel, and a variety of other government officials.
Many new employers require a criminal record check before they consider or finalize hiring you into their business. In addition, if you apply for any volunteering positions, most organizations require a criminal record check as well as a vulnerable sector check, especially if you plan to work with children.
It is possible that information on your criminal record may lead to mitigating your opportunities to travel abroad. U.S. border officials and other border officials may have access to the criminal records database when they are patrolling the borders or allowing citizens across.
Who Conducts Canadian Criminal Record Checks
First and foremost, police officers and police departments are able to utilize certain identifying bits of information, such as your name, fingerprints, or date of birth to search through their local database. Furthermore, fingerprints can be submitted to the national RCMP and get run through the database that contains the entire country.
However, police aren’t the only people who have access to your criminal records, but this ability extends to many businesses as well. Certain industries with vulnerable clients, such as healthcare, education, government, finance, security, or any other positions that work with children, may use your name to search the national criminal record database.
Important Words to Understand
When researching your own criminal record, you may come across a few of the following terms. Take a moment to understand them now, and quickly comprehend their meaning later.
This process will completely purge photographs, fingerprints, as well as any other information on your criminal record. It is followed up by confirmation that proves the destruction of your records.
This option is available only if you have been acquitted, or in other words, you have not been convicted, of any crimes. It can be requested by the individual to whom the criminal record pertains.
Otherwise known as a Pardon, this process takes your entire criminal record, such as photographs, fingerprints, and any related information, and then makes it sealed and closed. It should remain closed unless the individual is charged with a serious criminal offence, at which time it is reopened.
If you have a record suspension, your criminal record won’t show up if any official searches the Canadian Police Information Center, or the CPIC.
A record suspension may be applied for if the individual has been previously convicted of a crime, and yet they have finished their sentencing while also showing their desire to be rehabilitated. To submit an application for a Record Suspension, it should be set to the Parole Board of Canada (PBC).
According to the Canadian Human Rights Act, neither federal departments or agencies may discriminate against any person who has either a Pardon or Record Suspension.
How to Check Your Own Canadian Criminal Record
According to a CBC News article, under the Privacy Act, you have the right to check to see if you have a criminal record.
It’s done through written authorization and identification verification.
A Canadian wanting to check his or her own Canadian criminal record can do it at a police station and in person.
Here are the steps to obtain a certified criminal record:
- Get your fingerprints taken
- Fill out the application form
- Ensure your application form is complete
- Submit your criminal record check application
- Optional: Verify your application status
- Electronically submit your fingerprints
Benefits of Receiving a Canadian Record Suspension
Even if you have clearly moved on from your criminal history, or if you have yet to experience a truly negative result from having a Canadian criminal record, the best option for any individual is to submit an application for a Canadian record suspension. There are quite a few reasons a record suspension will benefit your life.
- Avoid losing or being refused employment
- Sign up for volunteering positions
- Travel internationally freely
- Ease the process of child adoption or custody
- Simplify the bonding process
- Obtain your Canadian Citizenship or Permanent Residency Status
Process to Acquire Your Canadian Record Suspension
We are ready to help with every step of the way of getting a Canadian record suspension, including paperwork, forms, and applications to the PBC. Be ready for a process that can take anywhere between 12 to 24 months in total.