Pardons and Criminal Record Suspensions
Is a Pardon right for me?
A pardon is right for you if you have completed your sentence and you are now a law-abiding citizen.
It is now possible to apply for a pardon and get back your peace of mind. You can run into all sorts of problems. Here are some of them:
Many companies search criminal records on potential sub-contract companies’ owners and employees.
Even if you are self-employed the companies that you work with are able to search criminal records of the companies that they are potentially going to do business with.
A record can prevent you from being a volunteer.
It is harder to find a place to live as if you have a criminal record.
If a position calls for bonding then you may not get it Companies will not invest in bonding you if you have a criminal record.
A criminal record can prevent you from having access to your children.
Criminal record searches are performed by many companies when applying for a job and can prevent your being hired
Record checks are necessary for lots of programs.
Even if you are working and want to apply for a promotion your criminal record will get in the way of a promotion.
Your application for citizenship or landing right can be denied you can be deported if you are not a Canadian citizen.
Peace of Mind
People are likely to judge you if you have a criminal record. A pardon will give you peace of mind.
Pardon /Record Suspension Details
There are many documents to prepare even to be able to know if you would be eligible for a pardon.
You should begin the process soon as some of the documents can take a while to get. You would have to show that you are have completed your sentence and you are now a law-abiding citizen. Only then will the Government of Canada issue a \Pardon/Record suspension which means that the record of the offense is kept separate from other criminal records.
Timeline for Eligibility
It is best you get started well before your date of eligibility. The application process takes time and also time depends on your specific charge.
10 Years: Indictable conviction.
5 Years: Summary conviction.
3 Years: Discharges that are conditional.
1 Year: Peace bonds, Absolute Discharges and Stayed Charges.
5 Months: Dismissed, Acquitted, Withdrawn charges.
More than 3 sexual convictions with a minor in which you served 2 years or more in jail will make you ineligible,
If the file was destroyed or dismissed, stayed or the charge was withdrawn years ago can change ineligibility.
Some waiting times start when the sentence imposed by the court is completed. For all other situations, the waiting time can start from the court date.
These definitions are very useful when one realizes on how many factors eligibility depends. This is not hard to understand after the explanation by Pardons.org
These are the really important ones:
If the prosecutor for the Crown requests that the charges be dismissed or if the charges were withdrawn and you did not go to trial
The charges are withdrawn but the court can order you to be of good conduct and can also force you to stay away from a person This applies to harassment or domestic cases.
The case is dismissed due to a lack of information.
If the judge issues a court order which entails punishment such as Community service or fines and probation but you are not convicted then the court order must be fulfilled before you become eligible for a pardon.
When you are found to be guilty by a court and convicted.
The file stays open for a year if there is not enough evidence to withdraw the charge just in case more evidence will arise.
When you are found guilty but no punishment is given.
Pardons and Record Suspension
Pardons Canada makes the process as painless as possible. They are reliable and fast.
Having your record lifted will remove the associated stigma and allow you to feel free again.
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Applying for Criminal Record Suspension
The Canadian government forgives people of wrong-doing. But, first you have to take the steps to prove that you are a law-abiding person in your everyday life. To be able to open the doors that are closed to you, you have to get rid of your record. Pardons Canada can help you get this process started.
Guidelines to getting a Pardon in Canada
An application for a Pardon is the initial step you need to take. There are different waiting times from date of offense:
Summary Offense: A less serious offense which is receives a shorter jail sentence or a fine, has a 5-year wait time from the end of the sentence.
Indictable Offense: A more serious offense including: armed robbery, sexual assault, drug trafficking, etc. has a wait time of 10 years from the end of the sentence.
However, convicted sex offender’s names are still kept separate you will still be flagged by the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC).
So, when applying for a job or volunteer position in which you’ll be working with vulnerable groups your record will still be flagged.
Convictions for sexual assault of a minor have criminal records that can never be removed.
If since the completion of your last sentence you have another conviction and if you haven’t paid fines for all your traffic tickets you can’t apply for a Pardon.
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Plans and Fees
Standard: $675 includes
- • Phone and email support
- • Disbursement fees
- • Court fees (up to 2 convictions)
- • Monthly payments are possible
Premium: $795 includes
- • Phone and email support
- • Monthly payments are possible
- • Disbursement fees
- • Court fees (for all convictions)
- • Follow up
- • Special attention for unique situation
- • File is reviewed by a lawyer if necessary
- • Personal support letters
All this information and more can be found at the Pardons.org site. Here is a summary of the information:
Frequently Asked Questions
- What are pardons and record suspensions?
Pardons and record suspensions allow for criminal records to be suspended when a person has completed their sentence. The criminal record is then kept separately from active records. To be able to quality the person must demonstrate that they are now in good standing and are law-abiding. After the Canadian Government issues the pardon any search for the record on CPIC (Canadian Police information Centre) will show not show that you ever had a criminal record.
- What is RCMP?
Royal Canadian Mounted Police. They are the Canadian federal police agency. The RCMP keeps the CPIC (Canadian Police Information Centre) database with a record of all people that are charged by local police agencies. The RCMP adds an FPS (fingerprint section) number to the date of birth and name of the individual. Then the fingerprints are kept on file. The RCMP database can be checked by U.S. officials and this is a problem when you enter the United States. For this reason, you need to have your record removed from the database.
- What is CPIC
CPIC is an acronym for the “Canadian Police Information Centre”. It is a computerized database kept in Ottawa, Ontario. These records can be accessed by all Canadian police agencies and by United States authorities.
- What is a criminal record
Criminal records have information about criminal activity carried about by people.
The records are always kept regardless of the determination made by the court. These records are held in the CPIC database as well as with the arresting agency and with the RCMP. The criminal records do not clear automatically even if the charge was from a long time ago or was minor. This record can seriously hamper your travel and life plans, and interfere with employment.
- How can I check if I have a criminal record?
Even if you are found innocent you still have a criminal record. If you are ever charged with any crime you most certainly have a record.
Whenever you are fingerprinted these are on file and assigned a fingerprint (FPS) number and that is attached to your name and date of birth. The records never clear on their own. You have to initiate the process to have your record removed. You also have a record if you haven’t been fingerprinted but are charged with any offense under the criminal code. You can apply for a file destruction if you were not convicted. If you were convicted you can apply for a pardon.
- Who is responsible for issuing a pardon/record suspension?
The Parole Board of Canada (PBC) issues pardons and record suspensions. It has the exclusive power to grant or refuse the application. Pardons are governed by the laws in the Criminal Records Act (CRA). It offers the potential for relief for rehabilitated individuals.
- Can anyone reveal my suspended record?
In the laws of the CRA the only one that can release information about a pardon/ suspended record is the Minister of Public Safety. This can only happen in rare cases. One example of a rare case is when a serious crime is committed by a person after they have received a pardon.
- How probably is it that I’ll get a pardon?
If you’ve waited five or ten years (the correct amount of time for the specific charge) and when you have the correct documents and proof of good standing- there is a good probability that the government will issue a pardon. However, if you’ve committed a sex offense against a minor a pardon cannot be granted. If you have 3 or more convictions that each received 2 or more years of jail time you cannot be pardoned.
- What happens if my application is turned down?
By the time Pardons Canada completes and submits your application it is already known that you are eligible for a Pardon/ Record suspension. An application can be denied if a person hasn’t been honest about their past interactions with the police and the courts. Complete disclosure is needed to complete the application correctly. A new application can be made after one year to the parole board if your application is turned down.
- How long do you have to wait for the pardon to be processed?
Usually a pardon takes between one and two years to be processed and approved. Gathering the required documents for the application can take three months up to 10 months.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to get the process started ahead of your date of eligibility.
The exact dates for eligibility can only be determined once Pardons Canada receives court documents and an RCMP report.
- Who can apply for a pardon/record suspension?
Any person that has a criminal record from being charged or convicted can apply. You don’t have to be a permanent resident or a citizen of Canada. You can also apply if you were convicted in another country which transferred the conviction to Canada.
- Is it possible for me to apply by myself?
Yes. You can apply on your own if you understand how to complete all the documents and know what paperwork is required. Pardons Canada can help you if you have any questions. Without the help of Pardons Canada, the application may be rejected and take much longer. It may also end up costing you more money.
- Do the police come to my work of home during the application for a Pardon?
No. All correspondence with Police agencies is handled by Pardons Canada.
- For what reason do I need to be fingerprinted again?
The fingerprinting needs to be done again by an accredited agency because they need to be checked by the RCMP to make sure the right record is being accessed and erased. Names and birth dates are not used because they may not be unique to the individual.
- For what reason should I apply for a pardon/record suspension?
Removing your criminal record gets rid of many disadvantages. It will make it much easier to get into education programs, rental agreements and to qualify for mortgages and child custody. It also makes it easier to get bonded and to have your application for promotion or volunteering approved. Additionally, your travel plans will no longer be impeded, and you can qualify for Permanent Residence and Citizenship.
- Why do I need a pardon if my criminal record hasn’t caused me problems in my life?
You may have been lucky and not yet faced a situation where your criminal record becomes a problem. It’s better to take care of it well in advance before you run into a problem. Another reason to have it removed is so you can move forward and be free of the errors of the past. You can regain some peace of mind once you have the process started. It’s a chance to have a normal life.
- After receiving a pardon, what will happen to my criminal record?
The RCMP stores your record separately from active criminal records and doesn’t release any information about the record without the approval of the Minister of Public Safety. Once you are pardoned almost all municipal and provincial organizations restrict revealing your record with the exception of if you are on the sex offender registry.
- Once I receive a pardon what should I say to people if they ask about my criminal history?
The only question people could ask you is “do you have a criminal record that has not be pardoned”.
You should say “that you don’t have a criminal record or criminal history” because you have been forgiven by the government. Once the criminal record is removed it is as if it never existed.
- What happens to me if I have a pardon but get another charge?
In this situation, your pardon can be voided. If it’s a serious offense (indictable offense) your pardon and record suspension deactivates and your convictions from the past reappear on the record. The Parole board of Canada can also revoke your pardon if you are charge with a summary offense (less serious offense).
If the Parole Board of Canada determines that false information was given or that information was withheld from the application, the pardon will be cancelled.
- Do I need multiple pardons if I have numerous convictions?
No that is not necessary. If the right amount of time has passed since your convictions and other criteria are met the application will be made to suspend all of them at the same time.
- What happens if my charges were dismissed, stayed, withdrawn or I was acquitted?
Even if you are found innocent your FPS (fingerprint number) is still visible in the record searches. You need to have the criminal record destroyed. If you are convicted of an offense you need to apply for a pardon/record suspension.
- While I was in the military I received a charge. What will happen if I get a pardon?
Pardons Canada will get all the required information and documents to make sure that so that your military convictions are included in the application for a pardon and removed.
- Do very old criminal records like a 15-year-old record disappear by themselves?
No. Convictions never get sealed or destroyed automatically. The individual that has the criminal record has to take the necessary steps to have the record suspended.
- What is the difference between a pardon and a file destruction?
Pardons are for individuals that have been convicted in court. File destructions only apply to records wherein a person was accused and fingerprinted but never convicted in court.
- Who decides if my file destruction/pardon is approved?
The local agency that first brought the charge against you and the RCMP will decide if the pardon/ record suspension will be approved. Once it is removed it can no longer be accessed.
- What happens if I am a sex offender?
Sex offenses (Schedule 1 offenses) will not be released on a record check for employment only in the situation where you will not be working with children and vulnerable groups. Your name will still appear in the CPIC database.
So, when you want to work with vulnerable groups even if you have a Pardon your record will still be visible.
You can’t be granted a pardon/ record suspension if you were convicted of sexual assault to a minor.
Information on Eligibility
Once an individual has finished their sentence and waited for the requisite amount of time they become eligible to apply for a pardon.
The waiting times vary from no time (if found not guilty) to ten years if found guilty of a serious (indictable) offense.
A sentence represents the conditions that the court ordered the individual to complete. Some examples of a sentence include: Jail time, fines, community service, Restitution (payments to the victim), and prohibitions.
Driver’s license suspensions are an example of a prohibition that are not included for eligibility for a Pardon.
It’s important to gather the required documents as soon as possible even if you know your exact eligibility date. Most of the documents don’t have an expiry date and it’s good to get started early because it can take months to complete the application.
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Information on Employment
- Is it possible for an employer or landlord access my criminal record?
This depends on what was written on the application that you signed. If the application document contained the clause that is found in many agreements: “Do you have a criminal record for which a pardon was not granted?”. There is also another statement which states that by signing the document you are swearing that all the statements made are true. This gives them the ability to search for criminal records.
- Can an employer discover that I have a pardon/record suspension?
No, they can’t. Once a pardon is granted the records become invisible to the public. Any search will come back as “no record found”. An employer is not permitted to ask if you have received a pardon.
- Can an employer find out that my charges have been withdrawn?
Employers can find out that charges were withdrawn, acquitted, dismissed or stayed. They still are visible on criminal record searches. That is why it’s important to apply to have the record destroyed.
- If I was a Young Offender, can the employer ask me if I have a record?
They may ask you, but you’re not required to admit to having a record. If they decide to search the will find the record. So, it’s better for you to be honest with them.
- I’ve had the same job for years, is it possible that it can be affected by my criminal record?Having a long history with an employer doesn’t prevent them from being able to search for criminal records. A lot of companies have begun to search for their employees in criminal records. If they find that you have a criminal record they can let you go.
- I want a job promotion; will my criminal record hinder the application for promotion?
Yes, it is possible that that the criminal record will interfere with a promotion. Companies that previously did not require criminal record check have begun to do searches on people that have requested a promotion. If the record is found you may not only not get the promotion you may also lose your job.
- I am self-employed why would my criminal record make a difference?
When companies sub-contract to other companies they will often search if the owner of the other company has a criminal record or not. This is especially true when a self-employed independent contractor will gain access to sensitive information or will be doing work with a population that is vulnerable
- Am I still bondable if I have a criminal record?
It depends on your charge. It may cost the employer too much money to insure/bond you. For this reason, they may choose not to hire you.
- How will I find employment if I have a criminal record?
Some jobs do not need a criminal record search. You can also get some jobs if they are aware that you’ve started the process to obtain a pardon/record suspension.
- Do employers ever sponsor an employee’s pardon/record suspension?
This does happen. If you are very important to the company and your record gets in the way of travel or certification the company may choose to sponsor your pardon. They can use that pardon as a tax write-off
- I need to get a FAST card because I’m a truck driver. Will a pardon help?
Yes, it will. Canadian Border Services is the agency that grants FAST cards. They will search for your criminal record. It’s advisable to apply for a pardon and record destruction before applying for a FAST card.
- If I have a criminal record can I go to the U.S. as an employee of an employer?
No, you can’t. It’s illegal to go to the United States with a record unless you are a citizen of the United States. You have to get a U.S entry waiver or a pardon/record suspension before travelling.
- Do I need a criminal record check if I am going to work with vulnerable groups of people?
Yes, for sure. All individuals need a criminal record background check if the intend to work in that sector. This is required to protect those people.
- Before becoming a volunteer do I need to have a criminal record background check
Yes, you do. Usually an individual cannot become a volunteer if they have a criminal record.
- What do I do if I want to volunteer at my kid’s school?
If you have a criminal record they will check for it and you won’t be allowed to volunteer around children.
- Am I obligated to reveal my record to the organizations?No. It is however better to give them this information so that you can have a chance to talk to them about it.
- Where should I go to complete a record check for a volunteering position?
The specific organization will give you the form that’s needed to take it to the police station.
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Please follow this link for more information on Immigration, Child issues, and Young Offenders:
Here is another video from Pardons Canada: