Barrier 2: Criminal Record
What are the statistics on criminal records in Canada?
Having a criminal record can present a large barrier to youth employment. Youth who have been convicted of crimes face discrimination and stigma when it comes to their criminal record and getting a job.
Approximately 30,000 youths are being charged with crimes in Canada every year, according to Statistics Canada. And once charged, their records can last anywhere from two months, to five years depending on the outcome in court and the severity of the charge.
The most common crime committed by youth is theft under $5,000. The offenders are most often from low-income, single-parent households.
How does this affect youth employment?
The legality of denying employment based on whether or not the applicated has a criminal record varies by province. In British Columbia, an employer is not allowed to discriminate against anyone with a criminal charge if the crime was unrelated to the job being applied for. In Alberta, on the other hand, there are no protections for people with criminal records.
Non-government employers are no longer allowed to request criminal record checks for applicants under the age of eighteen. Once applicants turn eighteen, however, they are allowed access to someone’s criminal records, potentially affecting employment. A criminal record is not automatically erased when someone turns eighteen. Luckily, the majority of provinces prohibit discrimination against anyone with charges that have been either pardoned or expunged.
Additionally, a youth with a criminal record can be denied entry into another country. In Canada, crimes committed by young people are considered closed after a certain period of time. However, other countries have different laws and can still access records of convictions, causing problems for youth looking to travel. This limited access to international travel can limit employment, education and personal development.
How do we intend to address this barrier?
Our programs and workshops aim to give young people all the information they need to limit the damaging affects of their criminal records. We intend to host a series of seminars and informational sessions with a variety of guest speakers and experts. Having a criminal record is a serious barrier to employment for youth and it’s important that the youth and their families are as informed as possible when it comes to the Canadian justice system. Our workshops will point youth in the right directions to access the resources they need to overcome this barrier on their way to employment.