Planning to volunteer on parent council? Get a pardon first

Perhaps you weren’t a person who listened to Mr. T. and stayed in school. Did you quit after high school? Or, did you drop out of high school?

It’s true that not graduating high school carries with it a much greater risk of getting in trouble with the law, resulting in unhappy outcomes like arrest, incarceration and criminal record; but why is that? Predicting who will commit crimes and what increases the likelihood of criminal behaviour is a very complex social science, but a 2009 report by the John Howard Society states that one crucial factor in crime prevention is employment. Apparently, high quality, stable employment has a hugely preventative effect on crime because being gainfully employed provides needed income, raises self-esteem and builds support networks. Unfortunately, in order to obtain good, quality employment that’s stable, getting an education must come into play. While the reasons for not completing higher learning are complex, they are likely to be rooted in childhood, with a lack of role modelling and economic opportunities, substandard access to education and social programs, addictions and gang-related activity all representing factors that play a role in dropout rates.

While you may have struggled against these barriers growing up, you want something better for your children. In order to ensure that they value their education and stay in school, you take an active interest in their school life, assist with homework, speak to teachers about their progress and enrol your children in extracurricular activities. The school notices your interest and asks you to act as a parent volunteer. There’s just one little thing you have to get first… a criminal record check.

Oops, I can’t volunteer at my kid’s school after all. I have a record.

Uh oh, what now? You’ve just learned one of the harsh lessons about the criminal justice system in Canada: it doesn’t care that you are rehabilitated, living right and taking care of the next generation. Your criminal record follows you for life, hindering or outright preventing you from doing such things as getting jobs in many sectors, travelling freely across borders, and even volunteering at your child’s school. It makes sense: obviously, schools need to check carefully to ensure that potential chaperones and volunteers have not committed offenses against children. You would expect nothing less. Unfortunately, a vulnerable sector check will reveal any kind of criminal record, exposing you to embarrassment and rendering it unlikely that you will be accepted as a school volunteer. Even more disturbing is the fact that no conviction is required to generate a criminal record; if you are fingerprinted, even as a witness, you’ll be in the system, and will have to explain yourself to the school.

So what can you do to help out at your child’s school if you have a criminal record?

  • Work behind the scenes. Collate Scholastic flyers, collect leaves for pressing and art supplies for classroom crafts.
  • Parent council always needs donations of products and services for fundraisers and fairs. You can donate yourself, or secure donations from local businesses.
  • Stop being ashamed of your past and apply for a record suspension. When your record is sealed by the Parole Board, no one can view it or use it against you. You can participate fully in your children’s education, and give them what you didn’t have. And you can participate fully in all aspects of life in Canada.

Let Dominion show you how! Call us today for a free consultation.

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.

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