A criminal record can have a serious impact on your life, including jeopardizing your immigration status as well as your ability to travel to other countries. In addition to impeding employment and travel opportunities, having a criminal record can also inhibit other personal activities. For instance, a criminal background check is often required to coach an amateur sports league. If you want to coach your child’s soccer or baseball team but have a criminal record, a Canadian Pardon or record suspension can help.
What Is a Record Suspension or Pardon?
A record suspension or pardon doesn’t erase your criminal record; instead, it separates your criminal charges from your publicly visible record. This means that your criminal charges won’t be visible during a background check.
It is important to remember that charges that were dropped, dismissed or withdrawn will still appear on your criminal record. The only way to make sure that your previous criminal history doesn’t affect your daily life is to apply for a pardon (or record suspension).
In recent years, many amateur and children’s sports leagues require that coaches have criminal background checks. Without a pardon or record suspension, you may be ineligible to coach. Even if your offences are many years old they will still appear on your criminal record, so it’s important to secure the pardon before applying for any coaching or volunteer position.
Anyone with a sexual offence involving a minor is ineligible for a record suspension. For other sexual offence convictions, record suspensions may be granted but the Canadian Police Information Centre will have your record flagged in their computer system. If you want to work with vulnerable groups or children, your potential employer can ask for full access to your criminal record. It’s important to note that if you are applying for a coaching position with a sexual offence conviction, you may not be able to withhold this information from your local sports league.
A criminal record doesn’t just affect employment opportunities—it can also prevent you from qualifying for volunteer positions. This means that even if there’s no financial compensation for coaching your local sports league, a criminal background check may still be required to obtain the position. Other volunteer positions, such as working at a daycare, school, soup kitchen or after school program may also require criminal background checks. The best way to ensure that your criminal charges don’t prevent you from getting involved in your community is to apply for a Canadian pardon as soon as possible.
A criminal record can have a negative impact on your citizenship status, employment opportunities, and your ability to leave the country. It can also have an impact on other aspects of your personal life, such as barring you from volunteering or coaching an amateur sports league. Applying for a Canadian pardon can make re-integrating into society with a criminal record easier, and the first step in the process is to find out if you qualify.