Rehabilitation vs Record Suspension in immigration to Canada
Rehabilitation paves the way to resolve criminal inadmissibility to Canada. Record suspension clears your name from the police records. However, you need to know what your options are. This article compares rehabilitation and record suspension in immigration to Canada. Consequently, read this article before any efforts on resolving your issues.
What is criminal inadmissibility?
Before discussing rehabilitation and record suspension, we need to explore criminal inadmissibility. The Immigration Act categorizes criminal inadmissibility into two major groups: (1) criminality; (2) serious criminality.
A foreign national becomes inadmissible under any of the following circumstances (practitioners see A36(2)):
- An indictable criminal conviction in Canada: Nonetheless, two summary convictions also lead to criminal inadmissibility.
- A criminal conviction outside Canada: However, Canadian laws must recognize the offence as an indictable crime. Alternatively, two summary-equivalent convictions could result in criminal inadmissibility.
- Criminal charges outside Canada
- Certain criminal activities at a time of entering Canada (e.g. smuggling illicit drugs)
Both foreign nationals and permanent residents could become inadmissible under the following circumstances (practitioners see A36(1)):
- In Canada:
- A criminal conviction in Canada where the maximum penalty is at least ten years; or
- a sentence that imprisons the person for more than six months
- Outside Canada, convictions where the maximum penalty in Canadian law is at least ten years.
- Outside Canada, charges where the maximum penalty in Canadian law is at least ten years.
As you can see, criminality affects foreign nationals only. However, serious criminality could also affect permanent residents. Of course, the process of rehabilitation or record suspension is more challenging to achieve for serious criminality cases.
Rehabilitation vs record suspension
Record suspension means the authorities (e.g. the PBC) remove your name from the country’s criminal records. However, it does not mean that they have forgiven you. Therefore, they may cancel the record suspension if you break your promises or commit another offence. Of course, if you receive an acquittal or exoneration, then they have cleared your name for good.
Rehabilitation means you have shown you have learned your lesson and won’t commit another offence in the future. Consequently, we could assume rehabilitation is the process that results in receiving a record suspension. However, under the Immigration Act, rehabilitation focuses on outside Canada offences and charges only.
In Canada offences
When the conviction is inside Canada, then rehabilitation is not an option. However, you may apply for a record suspension. Read the following article for more information:
Outside Canada offences
For outside Canada, record suspension, also known as a pardon, is not an option. Of course, you may use a pardon to assist you in convincing the officer to consider rehabilitation. There are two rehabilitation options for outside Canada offences:
Of course, when you apply for rehabilitation, it is up to the officer whether to accept your request or not. If you have both inside Canada and outside Canada convictions, then apply for rehabilitation only when you have received a record suspension or acquittal in Canada.
Where neither a record suspension nor rehabilitation could help
These two options are only for criminal inadmissibility. Rehabilitation or record suspension are not options for the following inadmissibility cases:
- Human or international rights violations
- Organized criminality
- Health grounds
- Financial reasons
- Non-compliance with Act
- Inadmissible family member
I have another article that explores options if you face inadmissibility because of any of the above reasons. Of course, if you are dealing with a removal order, you may also need to apply for an Authorization to Return to Canada.
Let us help!
If you are facing immigration issues, fill out the following form. We could assist you with rehabilitation applications. However, we will most likely ask you to book an appointment with me due to the complexities.
If you wish to visit or move to Canada, please fill out our free assessment form. We will review it for free, but we will contact you only if we find an opportunity for you. Alternatively, you may book a consultation session. Consultation sessions are not free, but you will receive formal advice from a licenced practitioner.
Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada
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This article provides information of a general nature only. Considering the fluid nature of the immigration world, it may no longer be current. Of course, the item does not give legal advice. Therefore, do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. Consequently, no one could hold us accountable for the content of these articles. Of course, if you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. Alternatively, if you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.
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