A Pardon (now called a Record Suspension) allows you to be free of the stigma involved with having your past mistakes hinder your chances at an ordinary life. With a Record Suspension in Ontario, your convictions will not be revealed on a criminal record check. A Record Suspension does not erase a criminal record but seals it from public view.
If you have ever been convicted of a criminal offence, served your sentence, and shown yourself to be a law-abiding citizen for a certain number of years you deserve to have your criminal record kept under wraps. Having your record show up on a background check can make it harder to get:
- Access to employment
- Career Advancement
- Immigration status
- Child custody
- Volunteer opportunities
- A rental apartment
- Enrolled in further education
In March 2012, the Canadian government made the decision to stop using the word “pardon” and replaced it with “Record Suspension.” While this decision caused a great deal of confusion since everyone was accustomed to using pardon and both terms mean the same thing, the official term is currently record suspension.
If you have a criminal record in Ontario and want an official pardon, it means that your record will be sealed and you will have the opportunity to reintegrate into society. In certain situations where public wellbeing is at risk, the Minister of Public Safety still has the authority to access sealed records, but if you are serious about getting your life in order, you can lead your life without anyone knowing your past.
How Long does it take to get a Pardon in Ontario?
Everybody’s past situations are different and jurisdictions and machines of justice can be notoriously slow. It is impossible to provide an exact estimate of when a Record Suspension will be in your hands. On average it takes 6-12 months for a Record Suspension to be granted by the Parole Board of Canada (PBC). There are a number of supporting documents to collect and process as part of the application to the PBC and this can take between 6-12 months to gather. We recommend preparing your application months in advance of your eligibility date to give yourself enough time to be organized and ready to apply.
People choose Pardons Canada to help them through the application process because we have the experience required to ensure you have the best chance at receiving your Pardon. This is not something you want to leave in the hands of amateurs who don’t understand the system and how it works (or doesn’t work).
We have been helping Canadians reclaim their lives for the past 25 years. We have tried and tested systems in place to get the process completed as efficiently as possible.
Who is Responsible for Granting Record Suspensions?
The Parole Board of Canada is the federal agency responsible for granting, denying and/or revoking Record Suspensions. A Record Suspension removes your criminal record from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database. It can be a challenging process, filled with confusing forms and legal terms. Pardons Canada can help you through the process.
What are the Limits of a Record Suspension?
A Record Suspension in Ontario can help you regain the freedom to live your life how you want to lead it. A Record Suspension can set aside your conviction, but it cannot guarantee entry or visa privileges to all countries (especially the U.S). Sexual offender’s records are flagged in vulnerable sector checks if the person in question is applying to work or to volunteer in such a sector – regardless of a Record Suspension being granted.
Who Can Apply for a Record Suspension?
You can apply for a Record Suspension if you were convicted of an offence under a federal act or regulation of Canada. You can also apply if:
- You don’t have a Canadian passport
- You are not a Canadian citizen
- You are not a resident of Canada.
- You were convicted in another country and transferred to Canada
You are not eligible for a Record Suspension if you have been convicted of:
- A Schedule 1 Offence (sexual offence involving a child)
- More than 3 offences prosecuted by indictment – each with a prison sentence of 2 years or more
You can only apply for a Record Suspension if you meet all 3 of the following conditions.
- You must have completed your sentence – including the payment of any outstanding fines
- You have met the required offence wait times
- You must have been of “good conduct” and not been convicted of any new offences
If you feel the time is right to apply for a pardon in Ontario and you need help with the application process, contact Pardons Canada today, because we can help.