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Human rights

Previous convictions : prohibited ground of discrimination | CDPDJ

Previous convictions

Previous convictions

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You believe you have been a victim of discrimination or harassment based on this ground?

Previous convictions are criminal or penal offenses for which a person has been convicted.

You cannot be denied a job, or be fired or penalized because you have a criminal record, if the offence is unrelated to the employment or if you have obtained a pardon (also known as record suspension).

Victoria is denied a job in accounting because she was found guilty of possession of cannabis when he was in college. This is a case of discrimination because the offence was unrelated to the employment.

 

Jack applied for a position as a heavy-truck driver. He was offered the job, but, after verification, the employer withdrew the job offer when he learned that Jack had served time. He was found guilty of reckless driving 5 years ago. In this case, the employer was allowed to withdraw the employment offer because a link between the employment of heavy-truck driver and the offence of reckless driving can be established.

 

The following judgments are examples related to this ground of discrimination. The complete list of judgments issued by Canadian Courts are available on the Canadian Legal Information Institute’s website This link will redirect you to an external Website in a new window.. You can do a search by grounds of discrimination.

Here are some of our publications related to this ground of discrimination. You can find all our publications on this ground of discrimination using a keyword on the Publications' page.

English language translations are provided when available.

Here are some news releases published by the Commission over the years. You can find all our news releases on this ground of discrimination using a keyword on the Media room’s page.

English language translations are provided when available.

Please note: These answers are to be used for information purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice.

  1. As an employer, am I allowed to ask candidates if they have a criminal record during the job interview?

    Employers are entitled to ask candidates if they have a criminal record. However, the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse is of the opinion that this question must be phrased as precisely as possible. The Commission recommends that employers ask the following question: “Have you ever been found guilty of an offence that is related to this job, and for which you have not received a pardon?”

  2. During an interview, do I have to provide an answer if I am asked whether I have a criminal record?

    Yes, you are required to disclose your criminal record, even though you have received a pardon (record suspension). That question is considered legitimate under the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. However, an employer may not refuse to hire you if the offence is unrelated to the employment.

  3. I have been working at the same factory for 15 years. Even though my annual evaluations have always been excellent, my boss refused to promote me to supervisor because I was found guilty of impaired driving when I was 18. Is this legal?

    No, under the Charter an employer cannot penalize you with respect to your employment solely based on the fact that you have been found guilty of an offence, if this offence is unrelated to the employment.

  4. I was found guilty of shoplifting, for which I received a pardon from the Parole Board. Can an employer refuse to hire me?

    No, the Charter provides that an employer cannot refuse to hire you, nor can he fire you, if you have received a pardon. The notion of pardon or record suspension covers several situations, namely pardons granted under the Criminal Records Act, free or conditional pardon, or the royal prerogative of mercy (See section 748 of the Criminal Code This link will redirect you to an external Website in a new window.).

  5. I heard that “pardons” no longer exist since the adoption of Bill C-10, is that true?

    The notion of pardon still exists. However, amendments to the Criminal Records Act came into force on March 13, 2012. A “pardon” is now called a “record suspension”. In addition, certain requirements regarding eligibility and waiting periods have been amended. You can visit the Parole Board’s website This link will redirect you to an external Website in a new window..

 
The following video is in American Sign Language (ASL) and is not accessible with a screen reader.

This video presents the topic of previous convictions in American Sign Language (ASL)  This link will redirect you to an external website which may present barriers to accessibility..

 

Did you know?

One Quebecer out of 7 has a criminal record.

The Comité consultatif clientèle judiciarisée adulte in collaboration with the Association des services de réhabilitation sociale du Québec has set up a website This link will redirect you to an external Website in a new window. (in French only) to raise awareness about the impact of a criminal record, and to set out the various options available to people who have a criminal record.

 

 

To learn more