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Toronto Shoplifting and Theft Under $5000 Charges Lawyer

How Shoplifting Charges of Theft Under $5000 can harm the careers of RNs, RPNs, PSWs and other nursing related professions.

Mandatory reporting to the CNO, Vulnerable Sector Screening Checks, and other related potential problems with employment and job applications for nurses.

Given the stressful nature of their job, and the size of their profession, there are a relatively large number of nurses (RN and RPN) charged with shoplifting/theft under $5000 related offences in Ontario. Nurses are in a uniquely problematic position as they are vulnerable sector employees who are often required to pass more stringent police background checks as part of their job applications and ongoing responsibilities to their employers.

Nurses are also regulated by the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) which mandates that new applicants and existing members self-report if they have been charged with an offence.

Other healthcare workers such as PSWs also experience the exact same problems when criminally charged because they also work with children, the elderly, and the mentally disabled and are subject to the same high level background checks.

Nurses are in a position of trust

The reason a theft or fraud allegation (even if minor) can be especially problematic for a nurse is that the nature of their job often puts them in a position to steal from their clients. For those who work with the elderly or mentally disabled there is a high degree of trust required of the job applicant. Elderly people, who sometimes have financial resources, are often victims of exploitation.

For a nurse with a history of allegations of theft, fraud, or possession of property obtained by crime, it is particularly difficult to get these jobs because employers often don’t want to take a chance on someone who they know may have stolen in the past.

Nurses are required by the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) to self-report if they have been charged in any jurisdiction with a criminal offence.

The CNO requires nurses to self-report if they have been charged with any offence in any jurisdiction (see: http://www.cno.org/maintain-your-membership1/self-reporting1/). This means that just being criminally charged alone (regardless of an eventual conviction, finding of guilt, or withdrawn charge), creates a mandatory obligation to report this information to the CNO. Nurses are supposed to report that they have been criminally charged to the CNO on question #1 of the following form: https://www.cno.org/globalassets/docs/ih/42012_selfreportingform.pdf

Not only are existing Nurses required to self-report that they have been charged, those applying for a Certificate of Registration in the Temporary Class are required to disclose this information to the CNO (see: https://www.cno.org/en/become-a-nurse/classes-of-registration/temporary-class/temporary-class-terms-conditions-and-limitations/).

If you have been charged with a criminal offence such as theft or fraud under $5000, possession of property obtained by crime, or anything else, the CNO requires you to disclose this to them so they can investigate and possibly subject you to a disciplinary proceeding.

Criminal charges could lead to a CNO disciplinary proceeding that may result in a publicly released written decision that shows up on Google searches for the nurse’s name.

When a nurse is charged with theft, fraud, or any other criminal offence it may lead to a disciplinary proceeding against them by the CNO. As noted, nurses are required to self-disclose criminal charges voluntarily. A disciplinary proceeding could result in a reprimand or other sanction against the nurse for “conduct unbecoming” of other breaches of the Nursing Code of Ethics. The written decisions of the disciplinary board of the CNO are released to the public via their website.

The name of the nurse, along with the disciplinary decision, would be searchable/retrievable both using the search on the CNO website and through Google and other search engines.

For examples of this, please see: http://www.cno.org/en/protect-public/discipline-decisions/.

Nurses' names showing in Google seaches because of disciplinary action

If you copy and paste the names of the nurses subject to discipline decisions found on the above noted link into Google, it is obvious that often the written CNO decisions are found on the 1st page. New and existing employers, friends, and anyone interested in looking up the nurse online will often first see and read the published CNO decisions referencing their behaviour. Even if the nurse later decides to switch careers, the decisions will still show up.

Obviously, this can be a source of both personal embarrassment and career difficulties now and in the future.

The Form 9 says “to a person not yet charged with an offence”.

“Not yet” are the operative words. If you are issued a Form 9 – Appearance Notice Issued by a Peace Officer you will be charged with the criminal offence listed on the form when a document called the “Information” is sworn by the police officer before the court. Technically, the form 9 is just requiring you to be fingerprinted and attend court (which is why it says at the top “to a person not yet charged with an offence”), but you will be formally charged when the information is sworn before a Justice of the Peace. Unless the police officer in charge does not provide any documentation to the court at all (which happens about 2% of the time), you will be formally charged.

To clarify this issue please see the following two reference questions:
  • Question: I attended court and they set another court date on the record in front of the Judge/Justice for me to come back, have I been charged?

    Answer = Yes. If a new court date was set on the record the Information was sworn and you are charged.

  • Question: I attended court and the charges were withdrawn or stayed, have I been charged?

    Answer = Yes. If the information was present and marked as withdrawn/stayed. You were not convicted, but you were charged (though you are no longer currently charged).
In both of these instances the person was charged and thus seemingly is required to report this to the Ontario College of Nurses on the mandatory self-reporting form.

Vulnerable Sector Screenings and other background checks often show that a Nurse has been charged with theft or fraud.

Since nurses work with the most vulnerable people in our society (the sick, elderly, young, and mentally ill), they are subject to the highest level police background checks. A nurse is often required to submit a Vulnerable Sector Screening background check to their employer. Unlike a regular police background check, which does not normally show withdrawn charges, a Vulnerable Sector Check will usually show charges that have been withdrawn.

When a nurse or nurse job applicant provides to their employer or volunteer agency a check that shows they were charged with theft, the date the incident was in court, and what happened with the case, it can cause problems. It will also take longer for someone who has been charged to receive the result of a vulnerable sector check because they will have to submit your fingerprints to the RCMP before getting the results back.

The good news is that sometimes we are able to successfully request that the police force providing the background check suppress or remove the withdrawn charge information.

Nursing groups and associations are often not on the side of their own members who are experiencing employment problems as a result of shoplifting or other criminal charges.

Many nursing associations are established to promote the best interests of their profession. In our direct experience in dealing with these associations, it appears they often take the position that all allegations and police background information on nurses and nurse applicants should continue to be disclosed to employers on VS and other forms of background checks.

These associations believe that their primary responsibility is to protect the image of the nursing profession to the public and that if information is withheld it would reflect badly on the profession as a whole. Nurses want the support of the public as they continue to push for better employment rights, benefits, and salaries.

In Toronto nursing jobs are highly competitive and a third party background check that comes back as “not clear”, or a vulnerable sector screening showing a charge was withdrawn can lead to a job application being rejected.

While in many areas of Canada nurses are in short supply, this is not the case in the GTA. In Toronto, nursing jobs are relatively competitive among both RNs and RPN positions. Many of our clients are finishing school and in the process of applying for their first job or work placement. They are concerned that their potential employer will become aware that they were charged with theft and choose not to hire them (even if they were not convicted of it).

Hospitals, nursing homes, and other workplaces can find out that you were charged because this information is disclosed on vulnerable sector screening police checks and sometimes through third party background screening companies that have agreements with the RCMP to obtain access to their CPIC database. In some Toronto area courthouses, a peace bond is required to have the charge withdrawn. This peace bond will show up on even the most basic criminal background check while it is still in force (normally 12 months).

Nursing is a stressful career and for some people this manifests in the form of shoplifting.

Just because you were charged with shoplifting does not make you a bad person. Our clients are often some of the most successful, well-adjusted, honest, hard working people in society. It is extremely unfair that a nurse who is facing a potentially false or unproven allegation should be fired or to lose a potential job offer or future opportunity. One would imagine that if those at the top of these professional bodies and boards who take such a hardline opinion on the release of non-conviction information were to find themselves facing charges their opinion would likely change.

If you are a Registered Nurse, Registered Practical Nurse, or PSW, there are special considerations that need to be observed in your case. Sometimes we are able to have information destroyed or suppressed that helps you avoid problems with your employment. Each courthouse and police force in the GTA area (Toronto, Peel, York, and Durham) handle these cases and the release of information differently.

We will do everything possible to ensure this incident does not cause you to lose your job or be denied employment/volunteer positions in the future. We understand that getting the charges withdrawn is only the first step and that special considerations apply to nurses and nursing students.

Call us today for a free assessment

You don't have to jeopardize your future or waste thousands of dollars on excessive legal fees. We provide effective and affordable lawyer representation for those charged with all forms of theft and fraud related offences throughout Ontario, Canada.

Have a skilled criminal lawyer who focuses on theft and fraud related charges protect you and your future from the stigma and consequences of a criminal record.

Your case will be defended by a fully licensed Practicing Lawyer of the Law Society of Ontario. For more information about our lawyer, click here.

We provide our clients with:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • US travel advice and information
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • Clear goals of getting charges dropped and bail conditions varied without a trial
  • Help with related immigration issues
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Experienced, focused counsel

* Please note:

If you are not a paying client, we cannot answer questions and provide assistance with U.S. travel, immigration, employment background checks, and avoiding a criminal record. This includes those who have already retained other counsel and those whose cases have already been completed. We also only take calls/emails relating to Ontario, Canada area cases.

Are you a lawyer? If you are defending a theft or fraud related case and are looking for expert advice regarding possible defences, case strategies, and information release management call us at: 647-228-5969.

Please note: We do not accept legal aid certificate cases. All clients are handled on a private retainer only.


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  We provide:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • 99%+ non-conviction success rate
  • U.S. travel advice and information
  • Help with related immigration issues
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • A clear goal of getting the charges dropped without a trial
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Timely resolutions
  • Lawyer/client privilege
  • Experienced, focused counsel