Overcoming Roadblocks in Life - With a Little Help

Out of the deep depths of misfortune comes bliss [Chinese proverb]Something that will seem surprising to many is the fact that, for the last two years, Sir Richard Branson has been encouraging the managing directors of hundreds of Virgin companies to take on ex-offenders.

Many people end up in prison because they’ve had bad luck, setbacks, and roadblocks in their lives. And when they try to find employment or suitable accommodation, their criminal record becomes another type of roadblock. Recruiters and some landlords routinely undertake a criminal record check when evaluating applicants. Very few get hired or approved once information about a criminal record is revealed.

Branson was prompted to employ applicants with a criminal record after being invited by his friend Jane Tewson to spend a day in a high-security prison in Melbourne, Australia. Known for championing unpopular causes, Tewson wanted him to see the work that was being done to get prisoners employed after being released and to see why it was so important.

Representatives from Australian transport company Toll met with Branson. Toll has employed about 460 ex-prisoners over the past decade, none of whom are known to have reoffended so far. He then contacted the managing directors of Virgin companies saying Virgin must also try to employ as many ex-convicts as possible. The response was generally positive.

Branson learned about the UK charity Working Chance, founded four years ago, that specializes in arranging recruitment for women offenders coming out of prison. He now is involved with the charity, which has successfully placed 173 female ex-prisoners with companies like Pret a Manger, Sainsbury’s, and Virgin.

If more companies were to follow Branson’s example, share his vision, ex-offenders would find doors opening where they never would before. Society needs to support positive initiatives to encourage rehabilitation of prisoners. Finding worthwhile employment is critical to that second chance.

For background checks requested for purposes other than working with vulnerable people, the RCMP cannot disclose a pardoned criminal record, even for a sexual conviction. Once a record suspension has been granted, that criminal record is removed from the Canadian Police Information Centre’s database. While a record of the conviction still exists, it is kept separate and apart from the database used for criminal record checks.

Thus, an individual who sincerely wishes to make a new start, who regrets any previous mistakes that resulted in a conviction, can do so by removing that criminal record by obtaining a record suspension.

For your record suspension or a US Entry Waiver, contact Pardon Services Canada or call 1-8-NOW-PARDON (1-866-972-7366). A Client Specialist will handle the entire process for you.

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