How an error in judgment can cause serious damage to your future
However you personally feel about crime, consider that a majority of Canadians do not have a criminal record, and therefore do not understand the trials and tribulations of people who do have a record following them around. Because people who’ve never had a brush with the law tend to lump all crimes and criminal activity into the same general category – bad, wrong, undeserving – that made it easy for the previous Conservative government to embrace a tough-on-crime agenda that they believed would be supported, or at least unquestioned, by the majority of Canadians. Even though it turned out that 98% of Canadians surveyed opposed the crackdown, Harper’s government went ahead and slipped in sweeping reforms to the process of getting a criminal pardon (or a record suspension, as it’s now rather mercilessly called).
While Canada is a great country to live in, it doesn’t always give second chances to those who have a criminal record, even people who have cleaned up their lives and stayed on the right side of the law just like the vast majority of parolees who never re-offend. Unless you actively do something about it, that record will always remain there, punishing you well beyond your sentence in ways you might never have dreamed – and it’s harder than ever to get that record hidden or expunged. But once you do take action, you can truly start over and take control of your life again.
One mistake is all it takes
We’re often told as children that nobody’s perfect, everyone makes mistakes, and all you can or should do is try your very best. Unfortunately, one person’s best isn’t the same as another person’s, just as our social circumstances can be very different and unequal. Someone growing up in debilitating poverty, or suffering from caregiver neglect and abuse, or surrounded by drug abuse and crime – or all of the above – may not have the same defenses against making a mistake that someone growing up in privileged circumstances does.
Then of course, there are issues such as racial profiling and inequalities in the criminal justice system that may lead some people from certain racial groups, sexual orientations, socio-economic classes, religious groups and so on, to be treated differently than others. For example, two people of different races may receive very different sentences for the exact same crime, or criminal charges might be sought in one case while diversion is sought in another. While this isn’t supposed to happen, in practice, it happens all the time. And once the taint of a criminal record is in place, it can be very, very hard to turn all this around and live on the straight and narrow, especially if that record is actively preventing you from attending a good school or getting a decent job.
You CAN overcome the damage of the past
While a criminal record can affect your chances of employment, travel to the United States and elsewhere, and your ability to participate in many aspects of life that most Canadians take for granted, such as volunteering or going to a good university…having a criminal record doesn’t automatically mean it’s all over for you. Whether you had one error in judgment or a bad run, if enough time has elapsed without your being involved with the law, you are probably eligible to apply for a record suspension.
Dominion Pardons & Waivers has just one mission: to help Canadians who have been convicted of a criminal offense, get the pardons and waivers they need to clear their record – once and for all. Don’t let an error in judgment continue to damage your life and prospects. Let us help.
Call TOLL FREE 1-888-890-1321
or fill out the online inquiry below and have a qualified agent help you see if you are eligible to clear your criminal record with a Pardon, or gain access to the United States with an Entry Waiver.