From Pardons to Record Suspensions
In March 2012 the Conservative government of Canada passed its omnibus crime bill, Bill C-10. Part of this legislation changed the term “pardon” to “record suspension”. However, it is important to understand that a pardon and a record suspension have the exact same effect.
The new legislation included some procedural changes and some program eligibility requirements. But so long as you are still able to apply for a record suspension the result will be the same as a pardon.
Your pardon / record suspension is granted by the federal government of Canada, specifically the Parole Board of Canada. Once a pardon is granted it will seal your criminal record.
Your criminal record will be removed and kept separate from active criminal records stored in the RCMP database (CPIC). No one can access this file without written permission from the Minister of Public Safety Canada.
Provided you do not have any further trouble with the law the record will remain inaccessible, just as if you had never been arrested to begin with.
Once your pardon is granted you should never be required to reveal that you ever had a criminal record. Please note that there are some exceptions to this rule but for most people – those who are simply applying for work, or to volunteer, etc. – the record does not need to be disclosed.
Am I Eligible?
Pardon Eligibility begins after all court demands have been met. This means that all fines have been paid, jail time (if any) has been served, community service performed, etc. The Parole Board is very strict on this requirment. Once of the most common reasons for a pardon to be refused in unpaid fines.
Driving prohibitions or weapons restrictions do not count as a court demand and do not need to be applied when determining your eligibility.
Court outcomes can vary to a wide degree so it is difficult to know exactly when the probationary period is complete. This is something we can help with. If you are wondering if you are eligible for your pardon / record suspension, give us a call and we will be happy to help you out.
The Application Process
It is important to know that it is possible to prepare a pardon / record suspension application on your own. You do not need a lawyer or a representative. However the application process is tedious and time consuming and the majority of applicants use a third party. It is just like hiring an accountant to file your tax return.
If you want to attempt to handle these procedures on your own download the record suspension application instructions. Be warned that it is 28 pages consisting of the kind of instructions that government bureaucracies are known for.
Keep in mind that you cannot handle your own fingerprinting procedures. Fingerprinting is the first step in the application process.
If you live near Montreal or Toronto you can drop by a walk in centre to handle this step. If you are not nearby you can benefit from our International Fingerprinting Services.
Most people do. A record suspension can take up to two years to complete so it is a good investment to hire a professional to handle the procedures for you. But be careful. Not all pardon and waiver companies are created equally. For more information on this problem see our blog.
If you are looking for a company you can trust to process your pardon / record suspension properly please give us a call or get started right away by applying online.
Evaluations are free or charge and you can rest assured you will not be speaking to a pushy sales agent. You will be speaking to a highly trained pardon and waiver specialist who give you honest, up to date advice that is in your best interest.
Any questions contact a counsellor or one of our Directors. You will find our contact information in our Staff Directory.
Further Information on the New Pardon Rules / Legislation