The Consequences of Having a Criminal Record

How a Conviction can hurt you

A criminal conviction or even a discharge - where you're found guilty but not convicted - could restrict your ability to travel abroad. Some countries, including the United States, could refuse you entry.

If you are a visitor to Canada, for example, on a student visa or temporary work permit, any criminal conviction could result in your deportation. A landed immigrant convicted of a crime might have to wait several more years before being allowed to apply for citizenship. If the crime is serious, even a landed immigrant may be deported.

A criminal record could prevent you from obtaining a licence to work in a chosen field. Many professional and vocational bodies require that their members be of "good character" and may reject applicants convicted of certain crimes. For example, the rules of one Professional body provide that an aspiring candidate could be denied a licence if his or her past conduct "affords grounds for belief that the applicant will not engage in the practice of (the profession) in accordance with the law and with honesty and integrity."

A conviction, or even a finding of guilt, involving theft, fraud or other crime of dishonesty could bar you from work in an industry where you have access to other people's money or property such as banking, retailing, transportation, or cleaning.

A conviction for a crime involving violence or threats could result in your being refused an FAC (firearms acquisition certificate) or licence for the use of a firearm, such as a hunting licence. Even if the charge is withdrawn, authorities could persist in their refusal if they are satisfied that the crime, though unproven in court, was committed nonetheless.

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