Is a Pardon right for me?
Why is a Pardon right for you? Because you are a person that has completed your sentence. You are a law-abiding citizen like me, and it’s time for you to get back your peace of mind.
With a criminal record, 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.
I wanted to volunteer but couldn’t because of my record.
Rental application forms always ask if you have a criminal record. It is much harder to find a place to live.
You may not be able to see your children if you have a criminal record.
Many employees will not invest in the cost of bonding you, and you won’t get the job.
Many employees conduct criminal records searches. You know what that means. No job!
When you apply for a promotion when you are already employed you may not get the promotion because of your criminal record.
If you’re applying for landing rights or citizenship, you can be denied! Or even worse- deported if you’re not a citizen of Canada.
Lots of programs require record checks.
Peace of Mind
Having a criminal record meant that I could not have peace of mind. I knew people would judge me in some way. Having the record cleared is peace of mind!
Pardon /Record Suspension Details
You’ll need to prepare all of the applicable supporting documents to even be able to figure out when you’ll be eligible to apply. It’s a good idea to get these documents together sooner rather than later, cause some of them take a while to get.
Show that you’ve completed your sentence and that you are a law-abiding citizen. Then the government of Canada will issue a Pardon/Record Suspension. This way the record of the offense is kept separate from other criminal records.
Timeline for Eligibility
The amount of time you need to wait depends on your specific charge. The application process takes time. Its best to get started well before your eligibility date. That’s what I did and it worked well!
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5 Months: Dismissed, Acquitted, Withdrawn charges.
Sexual convictions with Minor, or if you have more that 3 convictions in which you served 2 years or more in jail.
The file can be destroyed right away if a dismissed, stayed, acquitted, or withdrawn charge happened years ago. Waiting times start when the sentence imposed by the court is completed. For all other situations, the waiting period starts from the court date.
I learned these after realizing that eligibility depends on many factors. They are explained by Pardons.org and it’s not hard to understand! The really important ones are here:
If your charges have been withdrawn and you didn’t go to trial. The prosecutor for the Crown requests that the charges be thrown out.
Because of a lack of information, the case is dismissed.
Charges are withdrawn. But the court orders you to be of good conduct and can force you to stay away from a person. This applies to harassment or domestic cases.
If there isn’t enough evidence to withdraw the charge but the file remains open for a year in case evidence does come up.
You are not convicted but you are given a punishment by the judge. For example: Community service, fines, and probation. You must fulfill the court order first.
You were found guilty by the judge but no punishment was given.
Found guilty by the court and convicted.
Pardon and Record Suspension Services
Pardons Canada was great! They took all the steps needed to remove my record. They really gave me the hope that was missing for a long time. It’s a great way to get a new start and have the process be as painless as possible. Fast and reliable. Having the record lifted allowed me to feel free again. I got away from the stigma of having a criminal record.
Application for Criminal Record Suspension
Canada has been forgiving people of wrong-doing for a long time. That’s great news! But first, you have to prove that you are a law-abiding citizen today. To reopen all of the doors that are closed to you now, you must get rid of your criminal record. Contact Pardons.org and get the process started.
Criminal Record- Guidelines for Pardon in Canada
The application is the first step you need to take for a Pardon. Here’s some information about the waiting times from the date of application.
Summary Offense: An act that is less serious and which is punished by a shorter jail sentences or fines, has a 5-year waiting time from the end of your sentence.
Indictable Offense conviction: Serious offenses including sexual assault, drug trafficking, armed robbery etc. has a current waiting time of 10 years from the end of your sentence.
But, if you are a convicted sex offender your name is still kept separate and apart and you can still be flagged by the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC). So, if you apply for a job or volunteer position where you work with children, seniors, or people with a disability (vulnerable people groups) you record will still be flagged.
If you have been convicted of a sexual assault of a minor your record cannot be removed.
If you have committed a crime since your last sentence and have not paid the fines and all your traffic tickets you cannot apply. You first need to be in good standing.
Plans and Fees
Standard: $675 includes
- Email and phone support
- Monthly payments possible
- Court fees (up to 2 convictions)
- Disbursement fees
Premium: $795 includes
- Email and phone support
- Monthly payments possible
- Court fees (for all convictions)
- Disbursement fees
- Follow ups
- Special attention for unique situation
- Personal support letter
- A file review by a lawyer if necessary
You can find all of this info on the Pardons.org but I’ve summarized it here for you:
Frequently Asked Questions
1) What is a pardon and record suspension?
A pardon and record suspensions allow people who have a criminal record and who have completed their sentence to have their criminal record suspended. The record is then kept apart from active criminal records. That person must also have shown that they are now a law-abiding citizen.
When your application is approved the pardon and record suspension is issued by the Canadian Government. When finished, any search for your record on the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) will not show that you had a criminal record.
2) What does RCMP stand for?
The RCMP stands for: Royal Canadian Mounted Police. They are the federal police agency for Canada. The RCMP keeps a database of all people that have been charged with a crime by local police forces. An FPS number (Fingerprint section) is added by the RCMP to the name and date of birth of the person and keeps their fingerprints on file. The RCMP is usually not directly involved in the arrest of individuals but their database can be searched by local police and the U.S. officials. This is problematic for when you want to enter the United States.
That’s why you need to have your record removed from the RCMP database!
3) What is CPIC
CPIC stands for the “Canadian Police Information Centre”. It is a computer database system based out of Ottawa. The records can be accessed by Canadian police agencies including the RCMP and U.S. police agencies.
4) What are criminal records?
A criminal record contains information about an individual’s criminal activity. The record is kept regardless of the result of the court case. The criminal record can be held by the CPIC database, the arresting police agency, and with the RCMP. Criminal records don’t go away automatically even if it’s a minor charge or it has been a long time since the charge. A criminal record can hinder your life plans. Including travel and employment.
5) How would I know if I have a criminal record?
You have a criminal record regardless of if you are found innocent or guilty. If you are ever charged with a crime you have a record. If you have been fingerprinted your fingerprints are kept on file and assigned an FPS number which is attached to your name and date of birth. Then this record exists until you take the steps needed to have it removed. Even if you’re not fingerprinted but you are charged with an offense which falls under the Criminal Code, you will still need a pardon or file destruction. You can be pardoned if you were convicted. If you were not convicted then you can apply for a file destruction.
6) Who issues a pardon/record suspension?
Pardons and record suspensions are granted by the Parole Board of Canada (PBC). It has exclusive authority to refuse or grant the suspension. The governing law that controls Pardons is called the Criminal Records Act (CRA). It provides relief for people that have rehabilitated themselves.
7) Can anyone reveal my suspended record?
According to the CRA only the Minister of Public Safety has the jurisdiction to release information about a pardoned/ suspended record. This is only permitted in very rare cases. An example of this would be where a person commits a serious offense after the Pardon. If you don’t re-offend no one will be able to access your suspended criminal record.
8) What are the chances that I’ll be granted a pardon?
If you have waited for 5 or 10 years (the required time after the sentence was completed) and if you have the correct documents and have demonstrated that you are rehabilitated- the federal government will issue a pardon. They cannot be granted if you committed a sexual offense against a minor. They also cannot be granted if you have 3 convictions or more that received 2 years of incarceration each.
9) What if my application is rejected/denied?
When Pardons Canada submits an application for you they have already determined that you are eligible.
But, an application can be denied if the person is not honest about all their past involvement with the police and courts (e.g. recent occurrences, and outstanding fines). Pardons Canada requires full disclosure in order to complete the process of application. If a file is rejected a new application can be made to the Parole board a year later.
10) How long does it take to process a pardon?
It can take between 1 and 2 years for an application to be processed and approved. The preparation of the application can take 3- 10 months because many documents have to be collected. It’s a good idea to start the preparation well in advance of your eligibility date. Exact eligibility dates can only be determined by acquiring RCMP reports 2and court documents.
11) Who can apply?
An individual who has been convicted or charged with an offence that falls under a federal regulation can apply. You don’t have to be a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident to apply. A person can also apply if convicted in another country and the conviction was transferred to Canada.
12) Can I do the application by myself?
You absolutely can do this on your own if you know how to do the paperwork. You don’t have to have a lawyer but you do need to know how to do it. Feel free to contact Pardons Canada if you have any questions. Unfortunately, without their help it may end up taking much longer and costing more money.
13) Will the police come to my home or work if I apply for a Pardon?
No. All communication with the police agency is done through Pardons Canada.
14) Why do I need to be fingerprinted again if I was fingerprinted when I was charged?
Fingerprints have to be taken by an accredited agency for the police to send to the RCMP for verification. The process ensures that the correct record is being erased. Fingerprints are used rather than names and dates of birth because they are unique to the person.
15) Why should I apply for a pardon?
Having a criminal record puts you at a disadvantage in many areas! It makes it harder or impossible when competing or applying for: mortgages, education, apartment/condo rental, child custody, being bonded, volunteering, getting a promotion, employment etc. In addition to these problems travel can be blocked, including travel to the United States. It also can prevent you from receiving Canadian citizenship and Permanent Residence.
16) If my criminal record hasn’t affected my life, why do I need a pardon?
It may not have affected your life yet but for certain in the future it will. Most people only realize there is a problem with having the criminal record when they try to do something and can’t. It’s better to be proactive and get ahead of it before running into a stumbling block in your life. Beyond that, most people want to remove the record so they can be free of the mistakes of the past. Peace of mind in and of itself is enough of a reason to start the process now. You should take advantage of the fact that our country wants you to be rehabilitated and to give you another chance at a normal life.
17) What happens to my record after I receive a pardon?
The federal agency (RCMP) will keep records separate and will not disclose any information without the approval of the Minister of Public Safety. Almost all provincial and municipal agencies will restrict disclosing your criminal record unless you are on the sex offender registry.
18) Once I am pardoned if someone asks about my criminal past what should I say?
People may only ask “do you have a criminal record that has not received a pardon/record suspension. Say “No”. The government has forgiven you of your past charges once a pardon has been granted, and no record will show up in a search. Once the record is cleared it is as if it was never there.
19) What will happen if I have a pardon and I am charged again?
Your pardon record/suspension can be nullified. If you are convicted of a serious offence (indictable) your pardon and record suspension stops and your past convictions will reappear on your record. If you are convicted of a less serious offence (summary) or given a discharge, the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) may also revoke your pardon/record suspension. If the PBC find out that a false statement was made or information was withheld at the time of the application the pardon record/suspension may be cancelled.
20) Do I need more than one pardon if I have more than one conviction?
No. If the waiting periods have passed for all your convictions and you meet all the other criteria, you can have all of the convictions suspended at the same time.
21) What if my charges are stayed, dismissed, withdrawn or If they acquitted me?
Even if you are not found guilty your fingerprint number (FPS #) will still be visible in criminal record searches. You can have the record destroyed if you were not found guilty. But if you were convicted of one offence you’ll need to apply for a pardon/record suspension.
22) I had some military charges while in the military. Will these go away when I get a pardon?
Pardons Canada will gather the required documents so that your military convictions can be included in the application and removed.
23) Does a 15-year-old criminal record disappear on its own?
No. Criminal convictions are never automatically sealed or destroyed. The person with the record must take the required steps to have the record suspended.
24) What’s the difference between file destruction/purge and a pardon/record suspension
File destructions apply to criminal records where a person has been accused and fingerprinted and has been to court but hasn’t been convicted. Pardons and record suspensions are for people who have been convicted in a court.
25) Who makes the decision on approving my file destruction?
Both the RCMP and the local police agency that laid the charges will decide if the pardon/record suspension can be approved. But once its destroyed it cannot be accessed.
26) What if I’m a sex offender?
Schedule 1 sex offences will not be disclosed on a record check for employment only if you’re not going to be in contact with children or vulnerable groups. But your record will be kept apart and your name will still be in CPIC computer system.
So, if you want to work with children or vulnerable groups your convictions will be disclosed regardless of pardon/record suspension.
If your offence was a sexual assault to a minor you can’t be granted a pardon or record suspension.
A person is eligible to apply for a pardon once they’ve completed a sentence and have waited the required time period for the specific charge.
Waiting periods range from no time (not guilty) to 10 years for serious offences (indictable).
A sentence is the conditions ordered by the court for the person to complete. They can include:
Fine, Restitution (payment to injured party), jail time, probation, conditional sentence (community service), prohibitions.
Prohibitions (e.g. drivers license suspension) are not included in the calculation for eligibility for a Pardon.
Even if you know the exact date of eligibility it’s important to collect the required paperwork as soon as possible because it can take months to complete. Most of the documents don’t expire so getting them early is a good idea!
1)Can my employer or landlord access my criminal record?
It depends on whether you agreed to it in a rental application or job application for employment. If the documents contain a statement giving them permission to conduct a record check then yes, they can!
In many agreements, it will ask “Do you have a criminal record for which a pardon has not been granted”. If you answer this question there is usually another part which you sign confirming that all statements made are true and can be checked.
This means they can search for your criminal record.
2)Can my employer find out that I have a pardon/record suspension?
No. After a pardon is complete the records are sealed from public access. The check will come back as no record was found. They can’t ask you if you have gotten a pardon.
3)Can my employer discover that charges are withdrawn?
An employer can find that charges have been dismissed, withdrawn, acquitted or stayed. They still show up on criminal record checks. For this reason, it’s important to have the criminal records destroyed.
4)If I am a Young Offender, can my employer ask if I have a record?
They have the right to ask you, but you don’t have to admit to having a criminal record. If they search they’ll find the criminal record. So, it’s best to be honest.
5)If I have had the same job for many years, how can my criminal record affect it?
Being with an employer for many years doesn’t prohibit them from searching the criminal records. Many companies are starting to search for criminal records for new employees and will also then search existing employee’s records. Existing workers can be let go if they come up in a criminal records search.
6)If I want a job promotion, will my record affect the application for it?
Possibly. Companies that never required record checks are starting to do so in cases where employees have requested promotions. If a record is discovered not only is it possible you won’t get the promotion it may also lead to the company letting you go.
7)If I’m self-employed how can my criminal record matter to my employment?
If you’re company would like to sub-contract to another company you may be subjected to a criminal records check. This is most often the case where an independent contractor will have access to confidential information or will be working with a vulnerable population, like children.
8)Is it possible for me to be bonded if I have a record?
Being bonded means that the company paid for insurance against the chance of employees committing crimes like theft. Most people can be insured even with a criminal record. Depending on the charge it can cost the employer more money to insure a person with a criminal record. It’s possible that this will mean you won’t be hired.
9)How can I find a job with a criminal record?
Not all jobs require a criminal record check. Some jobs can still be achieved if you take the necessary steps to remove a record or begin a pardon/ record suspension process.
10)Are employees pardons/record suspensions ever sponsored by the employer?
Yes, it does happen. If you are very good at your job and the criminal record gets in the way of career certification or travel, the employer may choose to pay for your Pardon. They may be able to use the pardon that they paid for as a tax write-off.
11)As a truck driver will a record suspension help me when I need a FAST card?
Yes. Canadian Border Services, the agency that handles and grants FAST cards will check your criminal record. It is best to apply for and obtain a pardon or record destruction before applying to them for a FAST card.
12)Can I travel to the United States as an employee of my company if I have a criminal record?
No. Its unlawful to cross the U.S. border with a criminal record unless you are a U.S. citizen. You must obtain a U.S entry waiver or a pardon/record suspension.
13)If I want to work with disabled, children, elderly or other vulnerable people do I need a criminal record check?
Yes. Those individuals require a criminal record check for the vulnerable sector. This is to ensure the safety of the clientele.
1) Do I have to have a criminal record police clearance check before becoming a volunteer?
Yes. Often a person will not be allowed to volunteer if they have a criminal record.
2) If I want to volunteer at my child’s school, do I need a criminal record check?
Yes. Most of the time a check is required and access is denied to anyone who may pose a threat to safety.
3) Do I have to reveal my criminal record to the organization?
It’s better to disclose this information so that you can have an opportunity to discuss it.
4) Where do I go to get a criminal record check for volunteering?
The organization will give you a form that you take to the police department.
5) What will show up on a criminal record check?
If you haven’t gotten a pardon/record suspension, your criminal record will show up.
For more info on frequently ask questions on Pardons.org relating to Immigration, Young Offenders, and Child issues please follow this link:
Here’s another video from Andrew at Pardons.org which you may find useful.
And here are a few useful links: