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How Deep Do Criminal Record Checks Go?

Article by Nancy Collins

Everyone in this country has rights. You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to freedom of speech and religion. You have the right to refuse medication. You have the right to food and shelter. However, sometimes other people have the right to know about you and your past criminal history.

Criminal record checks used to be required only for people interested in working or volunteering with children, but more and more companies and individuals now have the right to ask for and obtain these records. This includes employers (as well as prospective employers) and landlords.

Most landlords only ask for references and permission to perform a credit check, but many are now expecting to be granted authorization to check out a prospective tenant’s past criminal history as well. This is understandable, as they would not want to rent property to a repeat offender!

More employers are also asking for criminal record checks for security reasons. It costs more to bond an employee with a record, so in the interest of the company’s budget, they will probably hire the applicant with a clean criminal record.

Most people know that these record checks exist. What many do not know is that there are 4 levels of criminal record checks within the Canadian Police Information Centre (CIPC). Level 1 is the softest form, and only includes any records of convictions for which a pardon has not been given. A Level 2 check covers the Level 1 information plus any outstanding charges (these are only charges that the police are aware of at the time of the check). Level 3 includes both of the previous levels as well as any and all charges, regardless of the type of charge it was. The Level 4 check digs the deepest, and is also known as a “Police Record Check.” This includes all of the information on every local database (police, court, law, etc) that was ever recorded about the individual.

In most cases, only Levels 1 and 2 would be able to be viewed by someone. However, there are some instances when an individual or a company would be granted access to Levels 3 and 4.

Everyone has the right to food and shelter. This means everyone has the right to employment and housing. What can you do if your criminal record has taken these rights away from you? Because you live in Canada, you have the option to clear your criminal record.

You may be eligible to receive a pardon from the federal government, based on the crime(s) you have committed and how you have behaved since.

If you are granted a pardon, it will not erase your record, but it will stop most people, including employers and landlords from viewing your criminal history. In fact, they are not even allowed by law to ask you about any crimes which have been pardoned. No one needs to know about your past mistakes, and you can move on with your life.

About the Author

Nancy Collins specializes in pardon services. She appreciates feedback on her article, whether positive or negative.

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