There are many reasons why people choose to obtain a pardon/record suspension. Mostly it is for employment or travel but often volunteer positions and coaching for children’s sports teams now require a criminal background check.

If you have a criminal record and even if the charges were withdrawn, dismissed, stayed, absolute or conditional discharged, it will get in the way of moving forward in your life and you may be denied volunteer opportunity.

How to Volunteer or Coach with a Criminal Record

It is important to take the necessary steps to remove your criminal record from public record so that you can be free to live your life without the worry of it coming back to haunt you. Once a record suspension is obtained, then you will be free to volunteer, coach, work and travel without worry.

The Impact of a Criminal Record on Volunteering

A criminal record in Canada is not just a list of past convictions; it represents every interaction you’ve ever had with the criminal justice system and can leave a lasting mark on your life. Many organizations now require a criminal background check as part of their standard procedure for ensuring the safety and integrity of their operations, especially when the role involves working closely with vulnerable populations, such as children.

A criminal record, regardless of its nature or the time since the offence, can result in a denied volunteering opportunity, making it much more difficult to give back to your community and engage in meaningful activities.

Why Should You Consider Volunteering?

Volunteering and community involvement can be fundamental to personal growth. These activities represent opportunities to reconstruct your public image, acquire essential skills, and contribute positively to society.

Beyond the act of contributing to the community, volunteering can provide a sense of inclusion and purpose which can be essential for those aiming to move beyond their criminal past.

  • Enhances Self-Worth: Volunteering can reaffirm your role as a valuable member of society, addressing and transforming negative self-views into positive self-esteem. It serves as evidence of the inherent ability of every individual to effect change.
  • Develops New Skills: Participation in these activities can expose you to new learning opportunities and experiences, ranging from general organizational skills to specific training for your role.
  • Expand Social Networks: Volunteering connects you with a broad spectrum of people, including peers and community leaders, creating networks that spark personal growth and potentially open new avenues for opportunities.
  • Demonstrates Rehabilitation: Consistent volunteer work on your resume can be seen as an indication of your rehabilitation and dedication to positive change. This commitment is particularly impactful when applying for a Pardon/Record Suspension, as it illustrates an active effort to contribute positively to society.
  • Provides Structure: Taking on these opportunities provides a structured, disciplined routine, offering stability that can be especially advantageous for those seeking reintegration into their community.

In a professional context, volunteering not only aids in community development but also plays a vital role in the personal rehabilitation and growth of individuals with past criminal records.

Getting a Pardon to Avoid a Denied Volunteering Opportunity

Getting a pardon, now known as a record suspension, is a key step towards a fresh start and new volunteering or coaching opportunities. In Canada, if you’ve served your sentence and stayed out of trouble for a certain period, you can apply for one. How long you have to wait depends on your offence and sentence, usually between three to ten years.

How to Get a Record Suspension for Volunteering

Applying for a Pardon or Record Suspension takes careful work. You need to collect all the necessary paperwork, like court and police records, to show you’ve served your sentence and lived a law-abiding life before submitting your application and a fee to the Parole Board of Canada. Pardons Canada is here to help you through every step.

How Pardons Canada Can Help

Pardons Canada has 3 decades of experience in navigating the complexities of securing a pardon or record suspension. Our services provide you with thorough support at every stage of the application process.

  • Check Eligibility: First, we figure out if you’re eligible for a record suspension.
  • Gather Documents: We help you collect all the required documents, ensuring nothing is missed.
  • Build Application: Our experts help you accurately fill out all necessary forms, compile the required documents and include relevant personal attestations to emphasize your ongoing rehabilitation efforts, such as records of community involvement or volunteer work.
  • Submit Application: We guide you in submitting your pardon application to the Parole Board of Canada, making sure it’s complete and on time.
  • Expert Guidance: Our team is with you offering support from start to finish, aiming to give you the best chance at clearing your record and opening up new opportunities.

Trusting your record suspension to Pardons Canada places your case in the hands of a team of seasoned and passionate professionals. We adapt our approach to meet your specific needs, ensuring that we address your situation with the care and attention it deserves.

We are here to provide continuous support, ready to answer any questions and assist with any additional steps required throughout your journey.

What Our Clients Have to Say

Our clients’ positive experiences and their success stories are the most important part of what we do at Pardons Canada.

  • Dear Pardons Canada,

    I am writing this letter to your company, the staff and the entire organization to express my deepest gratitude for your assistance in obtaining a pardon. I am so thankful and so grateful that I am free of the past burdens and stigmas, and now I have been given a new chance to excel and be the best version I can be in our society. I am so confident now that I can build a better life for me and my family, and further advance myself to be the best person I can be for myself and for everyone and everything. Thank you so very much. This means so much to me. I have been wanting and needing this for so long. How amazing it was on Christmas day, I opened the letter for the first time to read the good news; truly the best gift.

    I give so much thanks to the Parole Board for making this wish come true. So much thanks to Pardons Canada; special thanks for the assistance from Andrew, for being there from beginning to end; special thanks to Michelle for helping me gain the confidence to write a letter by assuring me everything will be alright; and special thanks to Jessica for the assistance and ensuring the completion of the final steps be done accordingly. I thank the entire team so very much for helping me see a brighter future and helping me gain the utmost confidence that I will succeed. All the best to you all.


    Thank you all so very very very much!!!

    Yours truly,

    Z. D.

  • First off, I would like to thank the PBC for granting me a Record Suspensions for driving with more than 80 mgs of alcohol. I appreciate the confidence the board has shown me by granting me the suspension. Having a criminal record weighed heavy on my personal life, as you live with the thought you let your loved ones down every day by your poor choices. Living with shame and guilt every day is very trying on the heart and soul.

    Being granted my suspension will allow me to feel like a part of society again. The removal allows me to look forward to getting a passport and start enjoying life like it is supposed to be in my retirement years. Travelling with family and friends without missing out on life.

    Sincerely with thanks,


  • Thank you for helping me to get my pardon for a very foolish mistake from years ago. It is a relief to have it taken care of and that I no longer have to worry about it. I haven’t had the opportunity yet to “try it out” but I am very sure that it will make life a lot easier knowing that it is not hanging over my head.

    The process was so easy and fast, it only took a little over a year, with hardly any work on my part after the initial application forms to fill out, fingerprints to be taken etc. It was worth every penny I spent including the couple of extras of getting copies of the police report and getting the fingerprinting done. I appreciate how easy and discreet it was done with not judgement or accusations for the past mistakes. Thank you again.

  • I am writing this letter to say big thanks to PARDONS CANADA to relieve me from the burden that I was carrying since 8 years. My life was not moving at the speed, as I wanted it to be.

    I appreciate the step-by-step instructions provided by PARDONS CANADA. They were really helpful in removing my record. I was so happy when I got it in the mail, as I was not expecting to get it soon. I can move on with my life and pursue new goals and dreams with dignity and respect.

    Possession of Narcotics for the purpose of Trafficking
  • This letter is to inform you how wonderful it now feels to be unburdened after having pardoned granted. I am so relieved and happy to be free of a criminal record. I am now able to visit family in the U.S that I have not seen for years. I can now pursue any employment goals. I am so happy and more confident now to pursue any dreams that I have. I think more positively now and am enjoying this new freedom.

    I will continue to be a productive member of society and in my community. I will continue to help people in my community and inform people who need a pardon to connect with Pardons Canada. I am forever grateful for getting another chance and am more educated now about the law. I want to thank all the Pardons Canada staff for all their help and support during the pardon process.

    Obstruction of Justice
  • I am writing to thank you for helping me get my pardon. When the parole board attempted to refuse my request your wonderful staff member, Jessica immediately contacted me to organize a response. The pardon was granted within weeks because of her advice.

    I would certainly recommend Pardons Canada to anyone who needs this type of service. You have been instrumental in me taking this important and final step in rebuilding my life.

    I thank you for your services and for helping me reach this life-changing objective.

    Theft over $5000
  • It is with great pride and liberation that I write you this short note to thank you for your consideration and resulting pardon of my suspension. It could not have come at a better time as I had just returned from the hospital and it lifted a great weight off my personal life. It has made my immediate family very happy as well.

    I look forward to traveling with my family and my “newly granted freedom” which I lost as result of my own bad judgments in the past. Although at my age it will be limited to how much I shall travel, it will allow me to be at peace in my remaining years as a citizen of this great country of Canada.

    Again, I would like to take this opportunity to give you my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for this most precious of grants.

    Driving While Impaired
  • Just a quick testimonial to share how liberated I feel to have been granted a criminal records pardon. I can now apply for jobs that I was previously disqualified from due to my criminal history, despite the fact I was more qualified for on both academic levels and experience. I can apply for my passport and take vacations in destinations that I would have previously been denied entry. After a decade of living my life as a law abiding citizen I feel I can now hold my head high having had The Parole Board of Canada recognize that achievement and granting me a pardon.

    Having had a lengthy criminal history spanning nearly a quarter of a century applying for a pardon without the assistance of Pardons Canada would have been too overwhelming and daunting of a task. In fact, Pardons Canada was an intricate part of first guiding me through the steps of preparing my file for presentation to The Parole Board and then later being my liaison with the Parole Board when they were requesting additional information before rendering their decisions. I definitely feel Pardons Canada was an intricate part of my positive outcome and would like to thank all involved with my file. Thank you all very much!

    Assault causing bodily harm
  • I am so thankful to you all, who put out their effort to help me with my pardons, I am so grateful. I really don’t know why I put myself in that problem that I never did before and I am so sorry about that and I would never make that mistake again. Now I am very glad everything is over and I can go on with my life and everything is O.K. the only thing I want to go the state to look for my grand kids and I am so afraid to travel because I don’t want them to turn me back. I want to come back to Canada to look for my family but I am so scared, I don’t know what to do. So, thanks to everyone and may god bless you all. I don’t have a computer to type this letter so, please forgive me; this is the only picture I have at the moment.

    Assault with a Weapon
  • Dear Sir,

    I would like to thank you for the excellent service. For almost 2 years I am finally doing well now in my life because you have helped me removed my criminal record. Again, thank you so much for your help. I highly appreciate the assistance you provided.

    Uttering Threats
  • I would like to thank Pardons Canada for the great work you did on my case. My actions not only affected myself but also my family and friends in the United States who are very grateful for this second chance. Young people sometimes make mistakes and the important thing is to learn from them. This experience has made me realize that must think before we act.

    I feel that Pardons Canada has given me back my life and I will truly make the most of this great opportunity. Having access to a service like Pardons Canada has changed my life and I will be forever grateful.

    Break and Enter
  • This process has provided me with a clear start and now allows me to never worry about any past mistakes. The opportunities for me are endless and this now secures those opportunities.

    My experience with your organization has been very rewarding as I was always concerned about how I can get my photographs and fingerprints destroyed. Your staff has been great in communicating concerns and at times where there was a delay, they took the initiative and followed-up with the rightful police department.

    Once again, thank you for assisting me with this process and kindly destroy my file.

    Obstruction of Justice
  • I wish to thank you so much for the expeditious manner, which this matter was handled and the friendly and helpful way the staff at Pardons Canada helped me.

    The fact that I will now be able to cross the border unimpeded to visit my fiancé is a great relief to her and me. I personally realize that this is something that I should have done quite some time ago, but was not quite sure where to start and was directed to Pardons Canada by my fiancé. The fact that my record has been expunged is a great relief to me and I truly feel unburdened because my record in Canada has been destroyed.

    Again, I wish to thank you and the staff at Pardons Canada for assisting me

    Possession of Narcotics
  • First and foremost, I would like to thank your team and staff for being there for me through this trying period in my life. When I was charged back in 2009, I had no idea that a claim against me would take up this much of my life and my thoughts. When my charges were resolved with a conditional discharge and a withdrawal back in 2011, I thought I was free at last. Contrary to my belief, I discovered that a withdrawn charge could still show up on some sorts of background checks and cause potential irritation when crossing the boarder. With your team at Pardons, I began to process of removing this situation from my life and mind, all whilst juggling a university program and working during summers and though out school.

    By having this weight lifted off my shoulder and my fingerprints, photographs and records of disposition destroyed, I feel as though I have been born again. This may sound cliché, but there is truly no other way to describe the euphoria. In time because of your successful services and goodwill, my self-confidence and self-worth have finally restored them and bring me to a place of serenity and happiness that I have not experienced for seven years. We all go through trials and tribulations in our lives and sometimes the weight of these can brunt throughout the most arduous and challenging period in my life. I cannot thank you enough.

    Fraud under $5000
  • I would like to thank Pardons Canada for removing from my record and file the criminal charges and “incident report” for the events of 2010. It has been difficult to try and look for work with this on my file. I have suffered some discomfort, embarrassment and awkwardness in getting a security clearance for employment purposes and it has been difficult to explain the reason for this incident being on my record. In fact, I have even avoided applying for jobs that would involve a security clearance because of this difficulty. I am greatly relieved that I can apply for those kinds of positions now.

    Thank you so much for attending to this matter and for bringing pardon to my case. I am eager to get on with life in a constructive and positive manner and it makes it much easier to apply for employment with this incident report removed from my record. Even though the charges were “stayed” for mental health reasons, it is not well understood that mental health illness do not necessarily mean that people are not to be trusted or that character is questionable. I feel that I am an honest person had run into some emotional turbulence and that this report on my record does not explain this to anyone who needs to enquire of it. Thank you so much for your help.

    Driving While Impaired
  • I will tell others if I get the opportunity about your excellent work. While it has been a long process, it was worth it. Thank you for the hard work and expertise behind this careful process.

    Fraud Over $5000
  • I would like to say thank you to Pardons Canada for all of the help you have given me in relation to the removal of my criminal record. It is such a tremendous relief knowing that I can travel unburdened by my past mistakes. At that time in my life, I was in a very dark place and am so thankful it is all behind me now. I have a new lease on life and intend to take full advantage of it. Recently I had the good fortune to work with a company here in Canada from the United States. Now that my record has been removed, I will be able to take full advantage of any employment opportunities that may arise in the future.

    Thank you so much for my new found freedom!!

    Break and Enter
  • To whom it may concern, This letter is to say thank you for your big help. Getting this pardon is a big lift off my shoulders. It’s a dream come true. Now, my wife and I can travel to the USA without being worried getting denied.

    Uttering Forged Documents
  • Thank you Pardons Canada. Your Service has provided me with the help I needed. It will also help others like me have peace of mind and make a difference in their lives. Now that I am free from my burden and shame, I can do the things I always wanted to do and have a happy and successful future. I am so sorry for my mistake.

    Driving While Impaired
  • First off…THANK YOU! Oh gosh, I don’t think there are enough words or ways to show how happy and grateful I am for helping me with my record suspension. There are so many doors open for me now. The day I received “the brown envelope”, I cried for joy, in the lobby of my building.

    Petty Theft in ON
  • It is with humility and profound gratitude that I accept this pardon. I feel like a new person because I am able to visit my family in the United States and not have to worry. For so many years this has been a burden on my shoulders. That has now been lifted, thanks to your generosity and help.

    DUI conviction in BC

Frequently Asked Questions

Our FAQ page and the section below contain the answers to some common questions we receive about being denied volunteer opportunities because of a criminal record.

What types of volunteer opportunities can be affected by a criminal record?

Almost all volunteer opportunities, especially those involving vulnerable populations (children, the elderly and individuals with disabilities), require a clean criminal record. This includes roles in schools, nursing homes, community centers, and sports coaching.

Does a record suspension guarantee I can volunteer anywhere?

While a record suspension significantly increases your chances, some organizations may have additional screening processes. However, it removes the primary barrier related to criminal background checks.

If I was denied a volunteer opportunity, should I inform the organization once I’ve received a pardon?

Yes, once you’ve obtained a pardon it can be a good idea to reapply or inform the organization, as your criminal record will no longer be a barrier to your application.

Contact Pardons Canada if You Have Been Denied a Volunteer Opportunity

Don’t let your past define your future. Contact Pardons Canada today to learn how we can assist you in removing your criminal record and reclaiming your freedom.

Whether you’re hoping to volunteer, coach, work, or travel, we’re here to provide the support and guidance you need to achieve your goals. Start your journey towards a brighter future right now!

Pardons Canada undertakes all necessary steps and procedures for removing your criminal record, including: Pardons/Record Suspensions, Purges, Photograph & Fingerprint Destruction, and U.S. Entry Waivers. Get Canada Record Suspension Today
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