Can an employer refuse to hire a person with a criminal record?

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In Canada, protection for job applicants with criminal records varies by province.  

However, each province has its own human rights legislation with provisions on this matter. If you work for a federally regulated industry, such as telecommunications or the Canadian government, your rights will fall under federal legislation. If your position, or the position you are applying for, falls under federal jurisdiction, you are protected if you have a pardon or Record Suspension.

Laws by province

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In Ontario, Nunavit and the Northwest Territories, you cannot be discriminated against on the basis of a criminal conviction for which a pardon or Record Suspension has been received.

In British Columbia, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador there is some protection for people without pardons, if the conviction is unrelated to the post. For example, if you want to be a landscaper, but you have a fraud conviction, you may be protected by the legislation.

Some provinces do not mention criminal convictions in their legislation, which may mean there is no protection. These provinces include Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Manitoba’s legislation also does not mention criminal convictions. However, the Human Rights Commission does accept human rights complaints on this ground.

The Yukon Human Rights Act protects all people with criminal records regardless of whether they have received a pardon.

Protecting your information

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There may also be some protection in privacy law. Employers may need to consider why they are collecting private information and if it’s relevant.

While human rights legislation will protect you in some cases, you will have to file a complaint and it may be difficult to prove that the employer did not hire you because of your record. The best way to protect yourself against discrimination on the basis of a criminal record is to get a Record Suspension.

Once you have a Record Suspension, you can submit a clean record check, which will even out the playing field between you and the other applicants. Even out the playing field and apply for jobs with confidence.

For more information about Record Suspensions, contact AllCleared at 1-866-972-7366.