What is a criminal record?
A criminal record is a document that lists a person's criminal and penal convictions pronounced by the courts of Canada in accordance with federal laws such as the Criminal Code of Canada. However, violating a traffic rule of the Quebec Highway Safety Code is not a criminal offence and would not result in a criminal record. In fact, offences to provincial penal laws do not result in criminal records.
How can a criminal record affect my everyday living?
There are several disadvantages to having a criminal record:
A criminal record may harm your chances of getting a job in certain fields (e.g.: jobs related to security, finance, etc.);
A criminal record may cause serious hassles while traveling. In fact, to obtain a visa to enter some countries, you must prove that you do not have a criminal record. For example, the United States will deny entry to tourists or immigrants who have criminal records for some criminal offences: polygamy, prostitution, drug trafficking, spying, etc.;
If you have a criminal record, and you are convicted of another crime, you will most likely be punished more severely than a person who does not have any previous convictions;
A criminal record may prevent you from joining a professional order, from obtaining licenses or permits, or from getting certain insurance policies
Can I get a pardon?
The law stipulates that after a specified period of time, any person convicted of one or more offences to a federal law can apply for a pardon.