Canadian Pardons & U.S. Entry Waiver Services

Pardon FAQ

1. What is a record suspension?

A record suspension allows people who were convicted of a criminal offence, but have completed their sentence and demonstrated they are law-abiding citizens, to have their criminal record kept separate and apart from other criminal records. Under the Criminal Records Act (CRA), the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) may order, refuse to order or revoke record suspensions for convictions under federal acts or regulations of Canada.

 

2. What is the effect of a record suspension?

All information pertaining to convictions will be taken out of the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) and may not be disclosed without permission from the Minister of Public Safety Canada. The CRA applies only to records kept within federal departments and agencies. However, many of the provincial and municipal law enforcement agencies cooperate by restricting access to their records once notified that a record suspension has been ordered.

The Canadian Human Rights Act forbids discrimination based on a record suspensioned conviction. This includes services a person needs or the opportunity to work for a federal agency. The CRA states that no employment application form within the federal public service may ask any question that would require an applicant to disclose a conviction. This also applies to a Crown corporation, the Canadian Forces, or any business within the federal authority.

 

3. What are the limitations of a record suspension?

A record suspension does not erase the fact that a person was convicted of an offense.
A record suspension does not guarantee entry or visa privileges to another country.
Courts and police services, other than the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), are under provincial and municipal legislation. This means that they do not have to keep records of convictions separate and apart from other criminal records.
The CRA lists certain sexual offenses. If a person received a record suspension/pardon for such offenses, his/her record will be kept separate and apart, but his/her name will be flagged in the CPIC computer system. This means a person will be asked to let employers see his/her record if this person wants to work with children or with groups that are vulnerable because of their age or disability. The flag is applied regardless of the date of conviction or the date a record suspension was ordered.
A sentence may have included various prohibition orders imposed under the Criminal Code, such as a driving or firearms prohibition order. A record suspension will not cancel these prohibition orders.

 

4. Will a record suspension erase my prohibition order?

No. A record suspension has no effect on a prohibition order.

 

5. Who may apply for a record suspension?

A person may apply for a record suspension if he/she was convicted of an offense under a federal act or regulation of Canada. A person may apply even if he/she is not a Canadian citizen or a resident of Canada. A person may also apply if he/she was convicted in another country and transferred to Canada under the Transfer of Offenders Act.

 

6. Are any offenses ineligible?

Yes. You are not eligible for a record suspension if you have been convicted of:

Schedule 1 Offense (offense involving a child) under the Criminal Records Act;
more than three (3) offenses prosecuted by indictment each with a prison sentence of two (2) years or more.

 

7. When can a person apply for a record suspension?

Before a person is eligible to apply for a record suspension, he/she must have:

completed all sentences, and
waited a certain period from the completion of all sentences.

When is a sentence completed?

When a person has paid all fines, surcharges, costs, restitution and compensation orders in full;
When a person has served all sentences of imprisonment, conditional sentences, including parole and statutory release;
When a person has satisfied his/her probation order(s).

What is the waiting period?

5 years for a summary offense (or a service offense under the National Defense Act).
10 years for an indictable offense (or a service offense under the National Defense Act for which you were fined more than $5,000, detained or imprisoned for more than 6 months).

 

8. How long does it take to get a record suspension?

Record suspension applications are processed according to the following service standards:

Applications seeking a record suspension for an offense or offenses tried summarily will be processed within 6 months of application acceptance.
Applications seeking a record suspension for an offense or offenses tried by indictment will be processed within 12 months of application acceptance.
Applications in which the Board is proposing to refuse to order a record suspension will require up to 24 months after application acceptance to complete.

 

9. Does a person have to apply for a record suspension if given an absolute or conditional discharge?

No. A person does not need to apply for a record suspension if his/her criminal record consists only of absolute or conditional discharges. Absolute or conditional discharges handed down by the court on or after July 24, 1992 will automatically be removed from the CPIC computer system one year (absolute discharge) or three years (conditional discharge) after the court decision. For discharges given before July 24, 1992, to be removed from the record, a person must contact the RCMP at the following address:

Record Suspension & Purge Services
Information & Identification Services
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
P.O. Box 8885
Ottawa ON K1G 3M8
(613) 998-6158
http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/crimrec/pandp_e.htm

 

10. Can a record suspension be denied?

Yes, for example, if the PBC finds that a person is not of good conduct. However, he/she may reapply after one year.

 

11. Can a record suspension be revoked?

Yes. The PBC may revoke a record suspension if:

The person is later convicted of a summary offense under a federal act or regulation of Canada;
The PBC finds that the person is no longer of good conduct; or
The PBC learns that a false or deceptive statement was made, or relevant information was concealed at the time of the application.

In the above-mentioned circumstances, the records of the offenses will again be kept with the other conviction records.

 

12. Can a record suspension cease to have effect?

Yes, if a person is subsequently convicted of:

an indictable offense under a federal act or regulation of Canada;
an offense punishable either on indictable or summary conviction; and
if the PBC is convinced by new information that the person was not eligible for a record suspension at the time it was ordered.

In the above-mentioned circumstances, the records of the offenses will again be kept with the other conviction records.