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Toronto Shoplifting and Theft Under $5000 Charges Lawyer

How shoplifting charges affect immigration to Canada

With close to half of its population having been born in countries other than Canada, Toronto is truly a city of immigrants. Many of these people come from countries where stores typically do not invest significantly in security. It is fairly typical for a new immigrant who has shoplifted in their home country for years without getting caught to be arrested and charged within a few months of arriving in Canada.

Since criminal arrests, charges, and convictions can impact a person’s immigration (IRCC) status and employment, a shoplifting charge is a particularly serious matter for someone who is not a Canadian citizen.

How a shoplifting charge in Canada effects immigration, work permits, permanent residency, and citizenship applications

A shoplifting charge (which includes theft under $5000, fraud under $5000, and possession of stolen property) is a hybrid offence meaning the Crown Attorney (prosecutor) can choose to proceed using either one of two different criminal classifications:
  1. indictable
  2. summary (sometimes referred to as summary conviction)
The classification between summary and indictable is important in shoplifting cases for Canadian immigrants who are in the process of applying for work permits, permanent residency, and citizenship applications. According to Canadian immigration law, being convicted of an indictable offence may cause problems with the immigration process. Summary conviction matters, on the other hand, generally do not disrupt the immigration process or cause someone's immigration or citizenship application with the IRCC to be denied.

The maximum punishment also varies for summary vs. indictable cases. If the Crown chooses to proceed summarily, the offence carries a maximum possible sentence of 6 months in jail. If the Crown proceeds by way of indictment, the maximum potential sentence can be longer. This being said, it is unlikely someone convicted of shoplifting would be sentenced to jail without an extensive criminal history. For most immigrant shoplifters, the more likely consequences include job loss, getting a criminal record, and possible immigration problems.

Being asked if charged, arrested, fingerprinted, etc. on immigration forms and IRCC applications

We have nearly a 100% rate of success in getting our clients' shoplifting charges withdrawn or stayed resulting in no criminal record or conviction. This being said, sometimes immigration forms and applications will ask about records of arrest, charges, and/or whether a person has "committed" an offence. Immigration Canada is thus not only interested in whether you have been convicted of an offence, they sometimes also want to know whether you have been charged or accused of one.

For someone who receives a Form 9 Appearance Notice for a shoplifting related accusation, the question as to whether they have yet been charged with an offence is highly specific. Answering "yes" or "no" depends on which application form they are filling out and the status of their theft under $5000 matter before the courts. Approximately 50% of our clients are not Canadian citizens. As such, we routinely advise clients as to how to correctly respond to such questions.

Given the specifics of these types of matters can vary greatly, it is important to receive legal advice from a shoplifting lawyer to understand how your specific charges may affect the immigration process to Canada.

Can an immigrant's employer find out about shoplifting charges

If you are convicted of a shoplifting related offence, you will likely have a criminal record that can last indefinitely (unless later pardoned). In cases of an absolute or conditional discharge, you will have a criminal record for 1 to 3 years respectively. A criminal record check may reveal these convictions and jeopardize your employment and immigration papers.

Even if you are not convicted and your charges are withdrawn, certain types of background checks for specific professions may show that you were charged. The ability of an employer to discover this information depends on such factors as:
  1. your specific profession
  2. who you work for
  3. which police department charged you
  4. the disposition of your case
  5. the time period that has expired
  6. the relevant specific requests you've made to records keeping authorities
Despite being presumed innocent until proven guilty, unfortunately even just being charged with an offence such as shoplifting can negatively impact your job and immigration status. Many immigrants work as caregivers in people's houses which requires a great degree of trust from their employer. If their employer finds out they were charged with shoplifting they may no longer feel comfortable employing that caregiver despite the fact that the charges were ultimately withdrawn.

If you retain us to represent you one of our priorities is to ensure you understand fully how to repress and minimize the chances of your employer finding out you were charged.

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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  Law and Consequences

  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