What You Should Know About Criminal Records in Canada

What You Should Know About Criminal Records in Canada

If someone has a criminal record in Canada, they will likely have many questions about what this means for their future, including employment opportunities and if they will ever be able to clear their record.

In this blog post, we’ll offer many answers to these questions, along with other useful information about criminal records, particularly if someone has been convicted of assault. Finally, this post will also cover the importance of hiring an experienced criminal defence lawyer to ensure the best outcome for a criminal case.

Understanding Criminal Records in Canada

Let’s begin by discussing the basics of criminal records in Canada. Criminal records are created when someone is charged with a criminal offence. This charge and/or conviction is then entered into the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database, which is accessible by police forces and law enforcement partners across the country.

This record includes the name, date of birth, photo, fingerprints, and other details of the person with a criminal conviction.Criminal records are available to authorized persons (including police) but not to the general public unless they pay a background check fee to the RCMP.

Criminal Records for Assault in Canada

Now that we’ve covered the basics of criminal records, let’s discuss how assault convictions can affect a record.

If someone receives an assault conviction or charge, their criminal record shows this. This doesn’t matter if the conviction is a summary offence or an indictable offence. A summary offence is a less serious criminal offence, while an indictable offence is a more serious criminal offence.

The severity of the assault will also be shown on the criminal record. For example, if someone is convicted of aggravated assault, this would be shown as a more serious offence than simple assault.

Additionally, even if someone is only charged with assault and not convicted, this will still appear on their criminal record. However, it will show up as a “disposition pending” or “awaiting disposition” until the case is resolved.

Finally, if a client is acquitted or found “Not guilty”, their CPIC record will reflect this.

How Records Affect Travel, Employments, and Buying a Home

An assault conviction can have serious implications for your life, including affecting someone’s ability to travel, get a job, or rent a home. Let’s discuss those next.

Employment opportunities

One of the top concerns many Canadians have about having a criminal record is how it impacts their ability to get a job. Unfortunately, a criminal record can make it challenging to find employment. Many employers won’t hire applicants with a criminal record, especially for positions that require a high level of trust, including medical and legal jobs.

However, there are some jobs that people with criminal records can still apply for. For example, the Canadian government has programs in place to help people with criminal records find employment. These programs can provide job training, mentorship, and other support to help people with criminal records find meaningful work.

Even though there are employment opportunities available for people with a criminal record, getting their record cleared is the best bet for securing the type of employment they hope for.

It’s vital to contact a successful criminal defence lawyer in Ontario who helps their clients understand their rights and options to do this. A criminal defence lawyer can also help navigate the job application process and ensure fair representation.


Records can also impact the ability to travel. Different countries have different rules, however, so it’s useful to research these rules before choosing a destination to visit. For example, those with a criminal record will require a US Waiver for entry before visiting the United States. Further, having a criminal record can prove challenging when it comes to getting or renewing a passport. A criminal record can also make it tough to obtain a visa for travel to other countries.

Buying a Home

There are also several things to be aware of when it comes to buying a home with a criminal record in Canada.

For one, a criminal record will be checked by potential lenders as part of the loan approval process. One example is if the home buyer has been convicted of assault (including domestic assault or sexual assault). This could potentially disqualify them from getting a loan or result in a higher interest rate. Their criminal record may be checked by their potential landlord if they are looking to rent a home, in addition to credit checks and obtaining other information.

The best way to ensure the ability to buy or rent a home is by obtaining a record seal and having the criminal record sealed from public visibility.

Canadian Criminal Record FAQs

Next, we’ll answer some of the most frequent questions Canadians have about criminal records.

What shows up on a criminal record check in Canada?

It’s helpful to understand what information will be included on a criminal record check before applying for a job, volunteer position, travelling, buying a home, and many other actions. Many organizations run criminal background checks as part of their screening process, and having a record can make it difficult to move forward a certain way in life.

The record will show a number of things, including criminal convictions, arrests, charges that were stayed or withdrawn, and information about pardons.

Depending on who is reviewing the criminal record, the information it shows can impact employment, housing, travel, and many other things.

Criminal convictions remain on record for up to 80 years in Canada unless they are suspended. In some cases, this time period could increase to 100 years.

If someone has their convictions overturned and are granted a record seal with the help of a criminal defence lawyer, their criminal record will be updated to reflect that. Or if the person receives a record seal their record is no longer available for public viewing from employers and other interested parties.

To clear a criminal record, you must file a record seal application with Pardons Canada. The process can be complicated, which means you will want a trusted criminal defence lawyer by your side to help you through it. If the process is successful, you will be granted a Record Suspension.

If you have been convicted of assault in Ontario, it’s crucial to hire an experienced criminal defence lawyer. Your lawyer will help you understand the implications of your conviction and work with you to create a plan to move forward.

Whether you are actively seeking to clear your record or are currently fighting assault charges, contact KIVLaw Criminal Defence lawyers for help. As a top criminal law firm, we focus exclusively on criminal law. Call us today to discuss your options.

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