Job Hunting With a Criminal Record

Job Hunting With a Criminal Record?

Have you ever struggled to find work? I have and it’s not fun. It’s one of the most frustrating things I remember doing. But I only struggled when I was younger and unskilled, undisciplined and unlikely to stick around for very long. Employers recognize that in young people and it’s why so few decent jobs are available to them. The struggle, in other words, was just a part of the stage I was at in life.

But what if you were grown up, highly skilled, well trained and very confident you could handle whatever job you happened to be hunting for? What would happen then if you still struggled to find work because you’d made a mistake in the past? What if you had a family to support and a mortgage to pay?

Job Hunting With A Criminal Reocrd

Looking for work with a criminal record is a challenge

I think it would be much like this frustrated alligator we have here. He’s an eating machine, able to take on anything that comes his way. And in this case what he wants is right above his head. All he’s got to do is reach up and sink his teeth into it. He knows he can do it. He just needs a chance. But somehow the job is always out of reach no matter how close he gets. As soon as he tries, the job flies away and the alligator is left foraging for craps on the bottom again.

That is what job hunting with a criminal record is like. The job is there. The fit is right. You have the skills and you can do the job. But just as soon as the opportunity presents itself it’s lost because criminal record checks are becoming increasingly common. If you have a criminal record most employers will see you as an alligator, best left alone. After all, why take chances when there are a dozen more alligators waiting to be interviewed?

Luckily enough if you are in this situation you are not actually an alligator. You are a person and unlike alligators people who’ve made mistakes can change their ways. And that’s where the Canadian pardon comes in.

If you stay out of trouble with the law you can apply to the Parole Board of Canada to have your record sealed. And once you have your record sealed there is no reason an employer needs to know about it. The only way for them to find out is if you tell them.

If you’ve got to be an alligator, be an alligator with a full stomach, no criminal record and a really good job. It’s all within reach.

Michael Ashby

P.S  Thanks to reddit and whoever photoshopped that image. This was the most fun post I’ve written in awhile. And I apologize to the animal because there’s a good chance it’s a crocodile.


About Michael Ashby

Michael Ashby is Co-Founder and Communications Director for the National Pardon Centre. Get in touch with Michael by sending an email to or calling extension 227.Michael Ashby est le co-fondateur et le directeur des communications au Centre du Pardon national. Contactez Michael par email au ou par téléphone au poste 227.


  • tommy says:

    Hello, Michael. I have posting on this site just because I’m interested in this topic. I do have a question, on you estimate, how many people in Canada have criminal records? If you can back it up with statscan info, it would be great. From what I heard, some of the nicest people have records, and they committed thier crimes because or anger, fear, or influence. Would like to know some stats 🙂

    • Hi Tommy,

      The most common figure that circulates is 10% of the population has a criminal record. I’m afraid I don’t have any stats to back it up with but that’s the number I’ve always seen and used.

      Best regards,


  • Roche Timothy Timothey-Francis Sappier says:

    Dear Michael:

    I am writing this message out of desperation. My name is Roche Sappier and I am an Aboriginal Status Indian from the Tobique Band of Maliseets in NW New Brunswick. My problem is this: I was convicted in 1980 for Marijuana, (did my time which was less than six months) got out and started a company with my brother in forest harvesting. In 2000, i was convicted of wood theft and did a conditional sentence. Since then, I have been paying the price. From that time and FYI, i have gone back to university earned my BBA and also earned my BA in Psychology and Political Science. I also have earned diplomas from two petroleum technical training schools. Despite these credentials, I have not been able to land a good paying job-even though I am more than qualified. I have had to resort to taking menial labour positions just to pay the bills and to keep the “wolves from the door”. I have a family to look after and a mortgage to pay for and numerous bills coming in every month. The best that I could do is take on odd seasonal jobs so that I may be able to collect UI. I do not have any money for the fees that the Parole Board services are asking for since I am struggling to make ends meet. Is there any way that you can help me? Do I have to write a letter to the Prime Minister on this requesting his intervention? The Minister of Justice perhaps? How do I get help on this? Please advise.
    Thank you, Sincerely, Roche Sappier, Tobique First Nation, New Brunswick, Canada

    • Dear Roche,

      Sadly, there are no current funding programs for applicants who are requesting a pardon / record suspension.

      You can always contact your deputy or a member of the Ministry, but I have to say that you won’t be the only one. Hopefully, if people come together and are asking the government (or another institution) to launch a funding program for people who are struggling with money just like you and want to make their life better, maybe the call will be answered one day.

      I wish you all the best in your future endeavors,
      1-866-242-2411, ext. 226

Leave a Reply to tommy Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published.

newspaper templates - theme rewards