Canadian record suspension & pardon

A Canadian record suspension or pardon is a process by which a Canadian citizen or a foreign nation who has committed an indictable offense in Canada, may ask the Canadian government to pardon his criminal activities and hence remove the offense from the Canadian Police Information Center database, and allow an individual to reintegrate into Canadian society without the offense being held against them.

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Overview of Processes

Learning how to get a record suspension in Canada starts with a quick overview of the process. In Canada, individuals with a criminal record can apply for a record suspension through the Parole Board of Canada.

This process allows for the separation of a person’s criminal record from other criminal records, providing that person with an opportunity for a fresh start.

Eligibility hinges on the completion of all sentences, the payment of any fines, the fulfillment of probation terms, and a waiting period post-sentence completion—5 years for summary convictions and 10 years for indictable offenses.

Individuals must also fill out and submit the necessary application forms available through the Parole Board of Canada.


Who can apply for Canadian record suspension?

Any adult Canadian citizen or a foreign national who has committed a crime in Canada can apply for a Canadian criminal record suspension. An individual who committed a criminal offense outside of Canada but who was transferred to Canada as a result can also apply for a pardon.

Are all offenses eligible for a pardon?

Most offenses are eligible for record suspension, however, there are two exceptions:

  • The first being offenses involving a child as outlined in Schedule 1 – offenses under the Criminal Records Act (“CRA”), these offenses are not eligible for record suspension application process
  • The second exception is in a situation where an individual has more than three (3) indictable offenses on their police record, each with a prison sentence of two (2) years or more

When can I apply for record suspension?

If you were convicted of a summary offense under Canadian criminal laws, you will have a five (5) year waiting period after the completion of all the ordered conditions pertaining to your sentence, including payment of fines, restitution, prison term and probation period.

If you were convicted of an indictable offense under Canadian criminal laws, you will have to wait for ten (10) years to pass from the moment of completion of all ordered conditions relating to your sentence before being authorized to apply for record suspension.

Will the pardon completely erase my past?

The pardon will not erase all traces of a conviction, but it will set the indictable conviction aside from all other criminal records. The conviction will be removed from the Canadian Police Information Center (CPIC) and will allow an individual to reintegrate into society without having to disclose his prior offense. Furthermore, the offense will not show up if someone, such as an employer, runs a criminal search on you. The record suspension will also remove one’s restrictions for being able to contract with the federal government and seek Canadian citizenship.

Do I need to apply for record suspension if I received an absolute discharge or a conditional discharge?

No. In either case, the Royal Canadian Mountain Police (RCMP) will remove the offense from its records if the discharge was ordered after July 24th, 1992.

Does obtaining a record suspension mean that I am guaranteed entry to any country?

No. A record suspension is not an automatic guarantee that you will be admitted to any country you wish to visit. Please make sure to contact the consulate of the desired place of travel to ensure that no further documents are required. Please note that if you are a US citizen or a citizen of another country, you may only apply for record suspension if you committed an offense in Canada.

Can I get a Canadian passport if I have a criminal record in Canada?

Yes. An offense committed in Canada does not automatically disqualify an otherwise qualified applicant from requesting a Canadian passport.

What documents do I need to provide in order to apply for a record suspension?

When applying for record suspension, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • Proof of the final sentence received (conviction, proof of discharge etc.)
  • All relevant court documents pertaining to the sentence received along with proof that EACH condition of the sentence was completed in full
  • A local police certificate for the city where you currently live, as well as for any city where you have lived in the past 5 years for 3 consecutive months or more
  • If you were born outside of Canada and currently live in Canada, you will need to provide proof of citizenship. If you do not live in Canada and were not born in Canada, you will have to provide proof of citizenship of your country
  • Provide a detailed explanation as to how you have been rehabilitated since the offense occurred and how you will be able to further contribute to Canadian society after obtaining the record suspension (career opportunities, etc.)

How long will it take for my actual application form to be reviewed by the Parole Board of Canada (PBC)?

On average, complete applications relating to offenses of minor nature (those prosecuted summarily) a processing period of approximately 6 months is to be expected. For criminal pardon applications dealing with offenses of a more serious nature (indictable offenses), the processing period is of approximately 12 months.

Please note that record suspension applications are granted based on individual merit. Our attorneys at KLM Immigration have extensive experience in applying for, and obtaining pardons for Canadians and citizens of the US and other countries who have committed an offense in Canada. We can guide you through the Canadian criminal record suspension process and ensure that you get your record suspension as quickly as possible. Call us today for a free consultation with a KLM lawyer at 1(888) 708-1473. We can help!

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