Disclosing a Pardon for a Criminal Record Not Advisable

When a prospective employer requests a criminal record check through the Canadian Police Information Centre’s database, information about a pardoned conviction cannot be released.

Only one exception requires such disclosure, that being convictions for violent sexual or personal injury offences. These are “flagged” for vulnerable sector background checks. A vulnerable sector check will be performed for potential employees or volunteers who wish to work with children, ill or disabled people, or senior citizens.

The purpose of a pardon is to restrict access to a person’s criminal past, and once a pardon is granted, a conviction will not be disclosed on a background check. The person’s clean record is reinstated and there is no reason to ever have to admit it.

No one should ever feel compelled to volunteer information on a past conviction when a pardon has been granted. Unfortunately, sometimes when a person is asked directly if he has ever been convicted of a crime, the sense that honesty is the best policy prevails. He feels obliged to reveal that fact but to also state that he has received a pardon. However, is this decision wise?

In several Canadian provinces, human rights legislation prohibits discrimination based on a pardoned conviction. This protection may be theoretically guaranteed, but actual enforcement is not always assured. Discrimination based on other aspects such as gender, race, age, and disability is illegal, yet anecdotal evidence exists to show it is still practiced. Therefore, the reality is that a person who volunteers that he has a pardoned conviction will more than likely be passed over for someone else with a crime-free background.

Thus, if an employer poses any sort of question regarding the existence of a criminal record, anyone who has been granted a pardon can honestly reply that he has a clean criminal record. That pardon is a person’s vehicle with which he can wipe the slate clean, make a fresh start, and move on unencumbered.

Pardon Services Canada assists people who want to obtain a pardon in order to do just that, put the past behind and move on. A Client Specialist ensures that all the required forms are created and compiled to support the application. Pardon Services Canada’s pro-active approach ensures that each case is processed expeditiously and applicants are kept informed at each stage of the process.

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