Montreal police erred in rejecting applicant: Court

Force refuses to hire woman arrested for shoplifting, despite fact she was pardoned
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/17/2008

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled the Montreal police violated a woman’s rights when it used a past shoplifting incident for which she was pardoned as the basis for rejecting her application to be a police officer.

In 1991, the woman was charged with shoplifting and conditionally discharged. According to Quebec law, she was entitled to a pardon after the passage of a certain period of time. The law was designed to differentiate those who receive a discharge from those who are convicted and sentenced under the Criminal Code.

In 1995, the woman applied to be a police officer in Montreal. However, because of her past charge, her application was rejected on the grounds she did not meet the Montreal police’s strict hiring standards that required “good moral character.” She told them she had been pardoned but the decision stood.