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Going Straight From a Pardon to the Workplace

Travel opportunities can be affected by a criminal record. Pardon Services Canada has been helping clients obtain USA entry waivers and criminal record pardons for over 20 years. For more information visit
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Indictable offence convictions can follow a person around out of proportion to his danger to society if the convicted person has made every effort to be a good citizen and avoided committing any more crimes. It may be true that some people commit previous crimes before they are convicted of one but a percentage of those tend to have second thoughts after spending some time behind bars. In this sense imprisonment or large fines can act as a deterrent. However, marking that person with the stigma of a permanent criminal flag whenever his name is entered into a computer is no deterrent, so the pardons process is in place to assure that no one is forced to return to crime because of inability to get a job and meld with society once again.

In Canada the Canadian Human Rights Act assures that a person cannot be discriminated against based on a pardoned conviction. The pardoned person is guaranteed that no basic services can be denied. The person also has the right to work for a federal agency or the Armed Forces. As expected there are some common-sense safety measures, such as maintaining a prohibition against possession of firearms if the offence involved guns.

Canadians being place under arrest have the right to be told why they are being detained, the right to contact a lawyer, the right to speak to the lawyer or crown council in private, the right to be released on bail (unless there are extenuating circumstances), and to have the charge brought to trial within a reasonable amount of time. The accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty and has the right not to be required to testify at his trial if that is his wish. Most importantly there is the right to be pardoned after the prescribed time period, which is five years after completing a sentence for an indictable offence and three years after a summary offence.

Parliament rules can be modified by the Supreme Court of Canada and this has happened on the issue of having the right to remain silent when arrested. No longer do arrested suspects have the right to remain silent in Canada. This was the subject of a Supreme Court decision (R. v. Singh (163 C.R.R. (2d) 280) where the suspect asserted a right to remain silent 18 times. The police continued questioning him after each of the 18 assertions that were made. The Supreme Court ruled that this continued questioning, in spite of protests by the accused, is consistent with Canada’s Charter of Rights and protections.

Suspects with previous criminal records can expect to be questioned at considerable length in situations where accomplices or criminal superiors might be involved. Courts may offer leniency in sentencing those who have cooperated but once a sentence is imposed and served, the released prisoner still must apply for a pardon to be seen as an honest citizen and to have full freedom to be allowed back into the workforce.

Most Western nations are giving the benefit of the doubt to those who

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