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Immigration to Canada > General Requirements > Background Checks and Police Clearances

All family members and dependant children 18 years and older, who are not already Canadian citizens or permanent residents, must undergo background checks to ensure that they do not pose a risk to Canada. Dependant children outside Canada must also undergo background checks even if they are not included in the application.

A police certificate, clearance or record of no information must be provided for each country in which the applicant or dependant children have lived for more than six months in the last 10 years. If applicants are unable to get police clearances, they must provide a written explanation and an original letter from the police authority confirming that they will not issue a certificate.


Criminal Rehabilitation

Under the following circumstances, an applicant or family member with a criminal record may be deemed rehabilitated by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

Section 18 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act provides that the following persons are members of the class of persons deemed to have been rehabilitated:

(a) persons who have been convicted outside Canada of an offence that if committed in Canada would constitute an offence under an Act of Parliament punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of less than 10 years, or who committed an act outside Canada that is an offence in the place where it was committed and that if committed in Canada would constitute an offence under an Act of Parliament punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of less than 10 years, if

(i) at least 10 years have elapsed from the completion of the imposed sentence and, at the time of examination, the person has not been convicted of a subsequent offence or has not committed an act outside Canada that is an of-fence in the place where it was committed and that if committed in Canada would constitute an offence under an Act of Parliament, other than an offence designated as a contravention under the Contraventions Act or an offence under the Young Offenders Act, or

(ii) at least 10 years have elapsed since the commission of the offence and, at the time of examination, the person has not been convicted of a subsequent offence or has not committed an act outside Canada that is an offence in the place where it was committed and that if committed in Canada would constitute an offence under an Act of Parliament, other than an offence designated as a contravention under the Contraventions Act or an offence under the Young Offenders Act;

(b) persons convicted outside Canada of two or more offences not arising out of a single occurrence that, if committed in Canada, would constitute summary conviction offences under any Act of Parliament, if at least five years have elapsed since the sentences imposed were served or to be served, provided that the person has not been convicted of a subsequent offence other than an offence designated as a contravention under the Contraventions Act or an offence under the Young Offenders Act; and

(c) persons convicted in Canada under any Act of Parliament of two or more summary conviction offences not arising out of a single occurrence, if at least five years have elapsed since the sentences imposed were served or to be served, provided that the person has not been refused a pardon for the offences and has not been convicted of a subsequent offence other than an offence designated as a contravention under the Contraventions Act or an offence under the Young Offenders Act.

For information on Removing a Canadian Criminal Record

Pardons Canada - A Federal non-profit organization

Further reading:

Federal Court and Immigration and Refugee Board Hearings

Fishing trip at risk over DUI, August 31st, 2009

Deportation of alleged Mob boss a taste of Canada's own medicine, April 20th, 2009

Is Conrad Black a serious criminal? (Guidy Mamann, July 16th, 2007)

Flip flopping on terror detainees (Guidy Mamann, Feb. 19th, 2007)

Immigration law and homegrown terrorists (Guidy Mamann, June 12th, 2006)

Don’t ask, don’t tell policy (Guidy Mamann, February 20th, 2006)

Criminal offence hurdle (Guidy Mamann, March 13th, 2006)

Criminal Pardon not enough (Guidy Mamann, November 14th, 2005)

Pumpkins and punishment (Guidy Mamann, October 11th, 2005)

Permanent residency does not mean forever ( Guidy Mamann, May 9th, 2005)