Since 1989, Pardons Canada has helped people obtain over 200,000 Record Suspensions, U.S. Entry Waivers and File Destructions. We are a non-profit organization that has become Canada’s leading authority on Record Suspensions and is a resource for over 5,400 government and community agencies. Our friendly and knowledgeable advisors are available for a free telephone consultation Monday to Friday between 8:30 AM and 5:00 PM. We can be reached toll-free at 1-877-929-6011.
Previously known as a Pardon, a Record Suspension is the sealing and setting aside of a criminal record so that it will not be found when someone runs a criminal background check. To be eligible, an individual must have completed a specific waiting period since the satisfaction of the sentencing terms without having been charged with another criminal offence.
It can take several months to prepare an application and gather the needed supporting documents before it can be submitted to the Parole Board of Canada for review. The approval process can then take between 6 and 12 months (depending on the type of conviction).
For many Canadians, travel to the United States is something they take for granted. But to a person with a criminal record, gaining entry to the U.S. can be problematic. If the customs officer performs a routine criminal background check and discovers a record, the individual can be detained, questioned, photographed and fingerprinted before being turned away. Any future attempt to enter the U.S. without an official U.S. Entry Waiver will be met with increasingly serious consequences.
To avoid such difficulties at customs, it is possible to request a U.S. Entry Waiver from the Department of Homeland Security. The application and subsequent review process can take several months. Therefore, it is highly recommended to begin the application process as far in advance of the anticipated travel dates as possible.
Criminal charges that did not result in a conviction can still be found on a criminal background check. To the surprise and dismay of many, the file created at the time of arrest and fingerprinting containing details of the charge, photographs, and police and court records are not eliminated automatically when a charge is withdrawn, dismissed or when the defendant is found not guilty. Instead, a request must be made to have the file destroyed and purged from the system.