Canada: Factors Considered During The Application Process For A Criminal Rehabilitation

Last Updated: February 14 2016
Article by FW CanadaInc

If you were convicted of a criminal offense outside Canada and more than five years have elapsed since the completion of your sentence, you may be eligible to apply for a Criminal Rehabilitation.

When reviewing a Criminal Rehabilitation application, Canadian border officials have to ascertain that the presence of an otherwise inadmissible individual poses no security or safety threats to Canadian society. Thus, prior to applying for a Criminal Rehabilitation, a number of factors are important to consider. For instance, an individual inadmissibility depends on the following:

  • number of the offenses committed
  • when the sentence for the offense was completed (5 years or more)
  • the severity and type of the offense committed

First of all, it is important to determine the equivalence of the offense in accordance with the Canadian law which may differ from a country where the offense was in fact committed. Not only may the sentences themselves differ for a specific offence from country to country but also the offense committed in another country may not be considered illegal in Canada. The convictions which have no equivalence in Canada such if you were convicted of spitting on the street in Singapore or of adultery in Philippines, for instance, will not be taking into consideration by the Canadian immigration officers.

Secondly, if you have committed an offense and at least five years have passed since your sentence was completed, you are eligible to apply for rehabilitation regardless whether it was serious or non-serious offense. An offense is considered serious if it involved sex or/and the use of weapon, resulted in bodily harm or/and involved drug trafficking, for instance. That being said, the approval rate of your application depends on the severity and the number of the offenses committed. Generally, the more offenses you have been convicted of the less likely you will be granted a criminal rehabilitation. Thus, although you can apply for a criminal rehabilitation if five years have elapsed, numerous and serious convictions are more likely to bring additional challenges in your application process thereby decreasing your chances of success.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, in order to permanently remove the grounds of criminal inadmissibility the applicant has to demonstrate the following rehabilitation standards:

  • explanation of the offense committed
  • circumstances of rehabilitation
  • employment and community ties

It is highly advisable that the applicant provides a personal statement explaining in details why the offense was committed, what was the events leading up to the conviction and what were the circumstances surrounding the commission of the offense. It is crucial to show that the offense constituted an isolated event that will not be repeated. A detailed reflection about your previous criminal activity as well as a thorough demonstration of your new lifestyle over the course of time since your last conviction will be beneficial.

Moreover, the applicant needs to convince Canadian officials that he or she no longer poses a threat to Canadian society. A mere passage of time is not a sufficient reason for an officer to believe that you will not re-offend in the future. In other words, the evidence should demonstrate that the individual has been rehabilitated since the commission of the crime. For example, it is helpful if you have participated in a drug/alcohol rehabilitation programs or/and anger management programs. And that you explain how these programs have helped you to deal with your criminal past. Additionally, it is valuable that you include medical references or/and proof by the rehabilitation center you were part of describing your mental and physical improvement.

Furthermore, you should include employment and community references attesting to your good moral character, respectable behaviour and overall well-being. These may include your employment history and the activities you are currently part of. The documents you submit should support that the risk of you re-offending is highly unlikely.

Applications for Criminal Rehabilitation are processed on case by case basis. Having an extensive expertise in legal immigration services, FW Canada is a major asset in facilitating your travel to Canada.

To read FWCanada's FAQ on Immigration please click here

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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