Effect of a criminal record - Basic Information
How can a conviction 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 Architects Act of Ontario provides that an aspiring architect 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 architecture 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 a firearms acquisition certificate (FAC) or licence for the use of a firearm, such as a hunting licence.
Canadian Criminal Records Information Services (maintained by the RCMP)
For impact on immigration to Canada, see the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, section 36 in particular.
For impact of criminal conviction on entry to the United States, see the U.S. Code; Title 8 - Aliens and Nationality; Chapter 12 - Aliens and Immigration; Section 1182 - Inadmissible Aliens.
Canadian criminal record clearance certificates for work, school or volunteering can be obtained for a nominal fee through TrueCheck based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Some police forces may offer this service at no cost.