Special Topics & Resources

Canadians are running hard to stand still

Published On: June 10, 2019

Let’s face it, getting a job as a past offender is not easy!  Studies show that past offenders are between 1/2 to 1/3 as likely to be hired as non-offenders. **1

  • 97% of companies perform some form of a pre-employment background check
  • 88% do criminal checks
  • 84% do identity checks
  • 69% do motor vehicle checks
  • 41% do education checks
  • and 47% do re-screens after hiring

Unfortunately, there is also a strong bias against those with criminal records. **2

  • 85% of companies surveyed would disqualify a candidate with a criminal record that included crimes of violence
  • 84% would do the same for a candidate with a crime of theft or dishonesty
  • Only 9% said prior convictions would not  disqualify a candidate

And even if you do land a job, the deck is still stacked heavily against you.

On average, past offenders earn upwards of 40% less than someone with similar experience but no record.  Past offenders take longer to get a job, often need to work beneath their skill set, are paid less and receive fewer promotions! **3

As if those challenges weren’t already hard enough, people with a past criminal record face even more difficulties.

Real incomes in Canada have only increased 4.7% over the past 33 years!

Our debt levels are leaving many to worry for the financial stability of our nation: **4

  • Canada’s national debt has risen 34% since 2007.
  • Personal debt has soared 370% since 1990 to over $1.7 trillion.
  • 68% of Canadians rely on credit cards to cover everyday expenses.
  • Household savings rates have dropped to just 3.3% with an average balance of only $2,700 per household.

In previous hard times a robust jobs market and social safety nets have pulled us through, but neither of those are looking great right now.

  • Unemployment remains stubbornly high at 7.3% leaving nearly 1.4 million people out of work.  And welfare rates today are 55% lower than they were in 1990! **5

What about our GREAT interest rates?

  • Mortgage rates have dropped from around 14% to under 4% since 1980.  With debt ratios at an all-time high, what will happen when interest rates go up? **6

While these challenges for past offenders are very real, they aren’t permanent.  It is possible to overcome your past and reshape your future….

There is a process to have your record suspended (formerly called a pardon).

  • Since 1970 over 463,000 Record Suspensions and Pardons have been granted.
  • In the last 5 years alone 85,765 Pardons and Record Suspensions have been granted with a grant rate of 94%. **7

And getting a Record Suspension pays enormous dividends:

  • Once suspended, your criminal record becomes sealed.
  • Most background checks will appear as though you have never been convicted.  The search will reveal “no record”.
  • And most employers do not ask individuals to disclose a Pardoned or Suspended Record unless you are applying for a position
    involving a vulnerable sector.

If you intend to travel you may also need a Waiver.

  • A typical day at the U.S. border sees 999 apprehensions, 931 entry refusals, 54 arrests, and 66 fraudulent documents.
  • The U.S. is very serious about border security, and without a Waiver, you risk detention, fines, property confiscation, and even arrest.
  • A Waiver makes legal entry possible and avoids these problems. **8

But Record Suspensions and Waivers don’t happen on their own. There are procedures you must follow. And the sooner you start, the better.

  • To be eligible for a Record Suspension a person must have completed all sentences, which includes:
    • All fines, surcharges, costs,
      restitution and compensation orders;
    • All sentences of imprisonment or
      conditional sentence orders; and
    • Any probation orders.
  • Followed by a waiting period:
    • 5 years for summary offences; and
    • 10 years for indictable offences.
  • Record Suspensions take 12 to 18 months to be processed.
  • Waivers can take up to a year.
  • High-risk applications take longer.
  • It is wise to apply at least 6 months in advance of eligibility.

Contact Canadian Legal Resource Centre Inc.

For a free consultation to discuss your specific circumstances, please call us at 403-229-2774 in Calgary, or 1-800-320-2477 Toll-Free


  1. Employment Screening Benchmarking Report, HireRight, 2013; Trends in Employment Background Screening, Employee Screen IQ, 2010
  2. Survey Report 2013, Employee Screen IQ, 2013
  3. Why Ex-Cons Make Great Entrepreneurs, Forbes, 2013
  4. Government Gross debt for Canada, FRED Economic Data, 2013; Canadian debt history, debtclock.ca, 2013
  5. Poverty Trends Scorecard, Fact Sheet Series, Labour Market Trends, Citizens for Public Justice, 2013
  6. Canada’s Fatal Attraction to Debt, 2013; 5-year mortgage rate history, Rate Hub, 2014; Statscan 2014
  7. Parole, Pardons and Clemency, Parole Board of Canada, 2013
  8. On a Typical Day, Customs and Border Patrol, 2013

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