What is a Criminal Record?
A criminal record is an entry in a register administered by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) throughout Canada. The criminal record is available through the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) to all police services and authorized agencies. Your criminal record is also accessible to USA law enforcement services.
A criminal record has information about your identity, charges against you, convictions, fingerprints, DNA, etc. This information is entered when you have been found guilty of committing one or more criminal offences under the Criminal Code of Canada.
Once convicted of a criminal offence in Canada, the RCMP list the offender as a criminal in Canada to all police agencies.
How would having a Criminal Record Affect Me?
Having a criminal record will impact lots of things that you might like to do or need to do, now or in the future like: employment, travel, volunteering, buying a house, getting insurance, getting accepted into college or university, and even making and keeping friends.
Many employers require a criminal record check, and will not hire someone with a criminal conviction. If you wish to work in a government agency, you may find that employment is denied or you may be required to obtain a criminal record suspension (pardon) before considered for work. When you apply for a job or clearances, an employer will see that you have a criminal record, by requesting a criminal record check.
When you travel, any border official can question you about your criminal record and deny access into their country. For example, if you have been convicted of impaired driving and are trying to drive into the USA, the USA Customs officers can deny you access to drive across the border.
Educational institutions that specialize in medicine, health care, security, child care and businesses involving money (banking and accounting), may disqualify the student with a criminal record from attending the institution or graduating.
If you are currently volunteering or considering volunteer work, most agencies now require a criminal record check. If you have a criminal record you will have to disclose and provide to the agency your criminal record to which the agency may disapprove your application.
Many apartments or rental agencies will ask you for a criminal record check and this could result in your not being successful in getting the housing option you want.
More severe penalties for future infarctions
In general, someone who already has a criminal record and commits another offence will be sentenced more severely than someone who has never been convicted of a criminal charge.
While an accused may have received a light sentence previously, a second conviction will come with increased penalties that can include jail.
Getting property or other insurance
An insurer can refuse to insure you, cancel your insurance, or reject a claim if you have a criminal record or failed to disclose your record. An insurer can refuse to cover you, demand a higher price, or offer reduced coverage if the insurer considers your criminal record to be an important factor. The insurer must, however, prove a link between your criminal record and what is covered by the insurance.
Each case is unique, for example, fraud, theft and possession of stolen goods might be relevant when evaluating risk under an insurance policy covering property and responsibility for harm caused to other people. An insurer, in this case, may be justified in refusing or canceling the insurance. However, the criminal record would often not be relevant if it contained very old criminal convictions with no connection to the insurance policy coverage.
You are legally required to quickly reveal to an insurer any information that could increase the risk of insuring you. Your obligation does not end once the insurance policy is issued! You must reveal risks during the whole period you are covered.
In regards to adoptions, individuals considering the adoption process must pass a vulnerable sector search which will result in a denial due to a criminal record.
When dealing with family law or child custody issues, a judge can take into consideration the criminal record as evidence of the person’s character. A criminal record could be considered evidence of bad character which may have an impact on who or under what terms child custody or visitation rights may be granted.
Social Stigma and Psychological Impact
Having a criminal record carries a social stigma that is often difficult to break and can have a significant negative impact on you and your relationships.