Articled clerk Cydney Kane writes on 'The Hidden Costs of a Criminal Record' in the current issue of Nova Voce, the magazine of the Canadian Bar Association's Nova Scotia branch.
A long-time volunteer with Mainland Nova Scotia's Elizabeth Fry Society, Cydney writes,
Imagine you have recently started working at a job when you are suddenly fired because the employer has discovered that you have a criminal record. You are unable to find another job that you are qualified for and that does not require a clean record check.
The record causing so much trouble? A single, twenty-year-old conviction for stealing a bottle of pop.
The consequences of a criminal record are profound and far-reaching. ... It can affect all aspects of one’s life, from employment to personal relationships, and can actually prevent successful rehabilitation back into society. Conversely, the opportunities and increased quality of life that a record suspension can provide women are equally as powerful. A record suspension enables women to re-enter the workforce, pursue higher education, provide for their families, and re-integrate fully into society. These are pursuits which may otherwise be unattainable.
But just as a criminal record comes with costs, so does the process of seeking a record suspension: around $1,000, give or take.
The Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia builds and strengthens communities by supporting women through education, advocacy, housing, employment and emotional support.
Community activity like Cydney's is vital to creating and maintaining a responsible involvement in our community. Burchells congratulates Cydney on an excellent article and the opportunity to publish on a topic so close to her heart. We also celebrate her dedication to this excellent cause.