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Three Predictions for Criminal Record Checks and Pardon Applications in 2015

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Ever since Bill C-10 came into effect in March of 2012, the regulations, practices and realities for criminal record holders have been through more changes than in any similar time period before. Among other things, C-10 changed the name of a ‘pardon’ to a ‘record suspension’; extended the waiting time for a record suspension and expanded the number of offences that are ineligible for suspensions.

Lots of change makes it more difficult to predict those to come. But, based on what’s happened since C-10 and particularly the changes that occurred in 2014, we feel confident in making the following predictions for the world of criminal record holders in 2015.

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  1. More Reasonable Criminal Record Checks. Considering that Ontario has promised to legislate what information can be disclosed in a background check, this prediction might seem obvious. But the Ontario legislation is part of a wider trend, which includes the ‘Ban the Box’ movement in the United States and United Kingdom, away a from a criminal background automatically triggering a hard stop to many application processes, including those for jobs. With more awareness of the often unfair treatment of criminal record holders, and the increased demand for qualified talent, employers will use more discretion before dismissing any applications.
  2. More Criminal Records Checks. Again, with a 100% increase in the number of requests for background checks in the last five years, it might seem like an easy prediction to say that they will continue to increase in 2015. However, with the understanding that record checks will be fairer, employers may be more inclined to ask for and rely on the results and that could lead to exponential growth in the numbers of requests. When a product improves, demand increases.
  3. More Need to Have a Record Suspension. Needless to say, as the interpretation of criminal record checks matures and demand for them increase at unprecedented rates, it makes more sense now than ever for criminal record holders to get a record suspension.

We hope our colleagues, customers, family and friends have a safe, heathy and happy New Year.