6 Consequences of Having a Criminal Record in Ontario
Being convicted of a crime in Ontario will change your life—and it can happen to just about anyone in the blink of an eye. Mistakes happen. Sometimes, you drink too much. Sometimes, you make the wrong decisions. Unfortunately, those poor decisions can follow you for the rest of your life.
The long-lasting consequences of having a criminal record in Ontario shouldn’t be understated. That’s why it’s so important to hire an effective criminal lawyer from the start. The penalties go far beyond the court of law and can negatively impact your life for years to come in several ways.
1. Effects on Employment
It can be difficult to become employed, stay employed, or advance in your career once you have a criminal record. Many employers request criminal record checks during the application process for new employment—this is standard in many industries, such as teaching, nursing, and banking, but many other employers also request them.
You may also need yearly police background checks to stay in your current role or to get advanced security clearance to get a promotion. Even if you’re self-employed, a record could prevent you from signing on new clients.
In all of these instances, having a criminal record can hold you back.
2. Effects on Volunteer Work
Just as your employment opportunities can be narrower with a criminal record, the same is true of many volunteer opportunities. Whether you’re trying to volunteer to gain work experience or to help out in your community, your criminal record can stand in your way. This is especially true if you want to volunteer with vulnerable persons, such as children or the elderly.
3. Effects on Your Ability to Travel
When you have a criminal record, it’s nearly impossible to travel anywhere in the world, other than to other provinces in Canada. You cannot get a passport or enter many countries, including the US, when you have a record.
To travel, you will either be required to get a record suspension once you’re eligible or to receive a special entry waiver.
Of course, these travel restrictions can negatively impact the quality of your life. You might miss out on once-in-a-lifetime family vacations, trips with friends, and even loves ones’ destination weddings. You may also be forced to leave your job if it requires you to travel outside of Canada.
4. Effects on Immigrants
If you’re an immigrant or visitor to Canada and you’ve been convicted of a crime, you could be deported or unable to apply for citizenship for many years.
5. Effects on Education
Many education programs, such as those in the medical, law, or educational fields, require a criminal record check before acceptance of your application. You may have worked hard in school to enter one of these programs, and your educational goals might be affected. In addition, if you’re already in one of these programs, you may not be able to graduate and find a job.
6. Effects on Hunting
If one of your hobbies is hunting, you might have to take a break from this activity for a while. Depending on your offence, you might be forbidden from purchasing a firearm.