As of March 2012, the term “Pardon” is replaced with the term “Record Suspension”.
Defining 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. The Parole Board of Canada (PBC) is the only federal agency responsible for approving, rejecting, and revoking record suspensions for convictions in Canada.
What does a Record Suspension do for me?
All information as it pertains 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 of Canada. The Criminal Records Act applies only to records kept within federal departments and agencies. However, many of the provincial law enforcement agencies cooperate by restricting access to their records once notified that a record suspension has been approved.
* 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 Criminal Records Act states that no employment application form within the federal public service may ask any question that would require an applicant to disclose a conviction.
FREQUENTLY ASKED RECORD SUSPENSION QUESTIONS:
i) Will a record suspension erase my prohibition order?
NO. If you have a lifetime weapons prohibition or the like, a record suspension will not release you from any of the various prohibition orders.
ii) Does a record suspension erase the fact that a person was convicted of an offence?
NO it does not. It obviates the possibility of that conviction being used against you but it does not remove it from existence.
iii) If my record suspension is approved, does that mean I can travel anywhere now?
NO, a record suspension does not guarantee entry or visa privileges to any country.
iv) Are there any offences that are not eligible for consideration of a record suspension?
Yes, record suspensions are not applicable to convictions for schedule 1 [sexual offences involving children'] offences under the Criminal Records Act. Record suspensions are also not applicable to individuals with more than three offences prosecuted by indictment each with a prison sentence of two years or more.
v) How much does a record suspension application cost?
The Parole Board of Canada charges $631 to process an application, but other necessary costs may arise in the form of court documents, record checks, and fingerprinting.
WHEN CAN AN INDIVIDUAL APPLY FOR A RECORD SUSPENSION?
Before a person is eligible to apply for a record suspension, he/she must have:
completed all of their sentences [inclusive of probation];
waited a certain period of time from the completion of all sentences.
* WHAT IS THE WAITING PERIOD BEFORE I AM ELIGIBLE TO APPLY FOR A RECORD SUSPENSION?
5 years for a summary conviction offence.
10 years for an indictable offence.
* CRIMINAL RECORD SUSPENSION’S CAN BE BOTH DENIED AND REVOKED FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS.
* INFORMATION HEREIN SUPPLIED BY THE PAROLE BOARD OF CANADA
* THE ABOVE CONSTITUTES LEGAL INFORMATION AND NOT LEGAL ADVICE.