Scott is around 60 years old and lives in Northern Ontario. He worked for nearly 30 years for a municipal government, in roles like grounds-keeping, facilities and vehicle maintenance and driving a snowplow. He has had some difficulties with his mental health.
About 10 years ago, Scott was going through a difficult, stressful period in his life. A night of family conflict escalated until police were called, and Scott ended up with convictions for mischief under $5,000 and uttering a death threat. He acknowledges he didn’t handle the situation well, and has completed anger management classes.
Several years later, Scott decided he needed to switch jobs. He felt working conditions had changed for the worse at his longtime employer. He was able to retire with a modest pension, and began looking for other positions to round out his income. He applied for roles with other municipalities but found that despite their initial interest in his decades of experience, none of them would hire him because of his criminal record. Then he ran into the same hurdle with private employers, too.
“They wanted me, but because of the criminal record, they completely said no,” Scott said.
Scott has not been able to find a job since leaving his last one in 2017. His pension lets him meet only the most basic expenses. His car is very old and he feels it’s unsafe—he won’t take it on the highway after an accident where he spun out in the snow. But he can’t afford to replace it. This has prevented him from visiting his daughter for the last three years.
“I make enough just to survive,” Scott said. “I can’t buy a new vehicle. I can’t do anything. I feel like I’m just stuck in a corner right now and it’s terrible. I want to move on with my life.”
Scott said having his record cleared would allow him to work and improve his quality of life. “I’d love to get a new vehicle so I can start being able to see my daughter,” he said. He’d also like to date again.
“I’ve got no money to spare to go out on a date and take someone out and to enjoy my life and to move on with my life with someone else, and start feeling good about myself,” he said. “I just don’t feel good about myself. I feel terrible. …I’d rather die than live the way I am, to be honest. It’s ridiculous.”
Being unemployed for so long because of his record, “You feel like you’re being punished more than you should,” Scott said. “You’ve done your time. You’ve done everything, and it should be removed to allow people to get back on with their life. If they start up or if things happen again, then you go after them. But people should be entitled to make one mistake in their life.”
“I’ve always worked. I’ve worked hard and I do my best at work.” Without being able to get beyond his criminal record, Scott said, “You just give up, you lose hope.”