What you need to know about Pot and Pardons

Bill C 45, the Cannabis Act, was passed in Senate on June 21, 2018. For further details about cannabis legalization and regulation, visit the Department of Justice site: http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/cannabis/

The bill came into effect on October 17, 2018 and on that day, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale confirmed that the Liberal government will introduce legislation to allow people who have served their sentences for pot possession to apply for a pardon without having to wait a specified period or pay an approval fee. Typical waiting times for simple possession are 5 years after the sentence is complete and the approval fee to the Parole Board of Canada is $631. Both of these will be waived if the proposed legislation is passed.

It must be noted that it will not be any “possession” charges that will be expedited. It will be for possession of marijuana (a Schedule 2 offence) and the quantity in possession must have been under 30 grams.

The government is intending on pushing the legislation through as quickly as possible but as with any bill, it needs to go through 3 readings in parliament and then receive Royal Assent.

The great news is that the government recognizes that while a pardon doesn’t erase a record, having one can make it easier to get a job, volunteer work, education, housing and a general ability to contribute to society. They want to make sure that the stigma of a simple possession criminal record does not follow people for the rest of their lives.

There are roughly 500,000 Canadians who have been convicted of simple pot possession and who would be affected by changes to the pardon system.

For further reading, check out: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/tasker-pot-pardons-limitations-1.4866610

There has been recent talk about the effects of a Pardon on entry to the United States. There are still many unanswered questions. Our belief is that the US cannot see if you have been pardoned. However, we cannot guarantee what they in fact can or cannot see. The key is that if you have received a Pardon, it’s important not to offer up this information as it’s an admission of a previous criminal record which makes you inadmissible to the US. Check out this article:


We will be tracking the changes to legislation very closely. If you would like for us to contact you as these changes happen, please fill out the form below to be added to our Pardon Legislation Change group.

Pardon Legislation Change Notifications

Changes to Eligibility for Ontario and British Columbia Residents

In response to recent court decisions, legislative changes regarding Pardons/Record Suspensions made to the Criminal Records Act (CRA) in both 2010 and 2012 have been found unconstitutional for residents of Ontario and British Columbia.

As a result, when calculating eligibility for a Pardon/Record Suspension for these residents, the wait periods will depend on when the offence was committed.

Please note that when we calculate eligibility, if there any charges after March 12, 2012, the 5/10 year wait times applies to ALL charges

Date Offence Committed

Before June 29, 2010

June 29, 2010 – March 12, 2012

After March 12, 2012

Eligibility in Years

(once all sentences have been satisfied)

3 = summary

5 = indictable

3 = summary

5 = indictable or summary sex to minor

10 = indictable sex to minor or personal injury with 2years jail time

5 = summary

10 = indictable

Sex to minor



Not Eligible

(unless meets exceptions*)

*Exceptions = according to Schedule 1, you must meet the following criteria to be eligible:

  • You were not in a position of trust or authority to the victim
  • There was no threat or attempt to use violence, intimidation or coercion towards the victim
  • You were less than 5 years old than the victim

Please click here to visit the Parole Board of Canada’s webpage explaining the changes.