Want to know about pardon applications in Canada? A criminal record isn’t something that the vast majority of Canadians set out to get for themselves, but it can happen for various reasons. Sometimes a criminal record occurs because of bad choices made while being a youth. Other times, criminal records occur because of actions taken during the heat of the moment, or sometimes even as a matter of forgetfulness or negligence.
But whatever way a criminal record does come into a Canadian’s life, there is one thing that is certain. Its presence is going to have long-term ramifications for how that person lives his or her life going forward. However, if you look into the process of pardon applications in Canada, you can start taking the steps to fully “erase” your debt to society and regain all the opportunities that are available to every Canadian citizen with an unblemished permanent record. But how?
Let’s take a closer look at what the criminal record does, and how Pardons Canada can address it.
Pardon Applications in Canada – The Crimes
Some criminal violations are easily classified and understood, due to the nature of the act, such as violent actions like assault, uttering threats or even homicide. But there are other violations, which may not necessarily involve violence that are nevertheless considered offenses with stiff penalties that may eventually require redressing through a pardon application in Canada. Activities like:
- Drunk Driving
- Hate Speech
- Unlawful Possession Of A Firearm
- Drug Trafficking
These are all offenses that a person can be arrested for, charged with, and eventually face a criminal verdict in a court of law. There are many more, of course, but it’s a mistake to think that only acts of violence are severely dealt with. In the eyes of the law, gross negligence, and exploiting systems through “white collar crime” may also be punished with little tolerance in the Canadian justice system. To learn more about pardon applications in Canada details, click here.
The most immediate ramifications of a criminal conviction are that once the verdict has been delivered, if it is a guilty verdict, then a fine and/or jail sentence will be served. However, in addition to this, the presence of a criminal conviction will be added to a person’s permanent record. This criminal record is a complete listing of an arrest, fingerprinting, charges, and the verdict delivered as well as the sentence served.
This information is a matter of public record. Law enforcement agencies, whether local, national, or international, have free access to this information. The general public can also access this information, provided they have required details like the name of the person, and the money to pay the processing fee for making the inquiry. The criminal record itself is stored on the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database, so this is where all requests for a background check go.
The issue with a criminal record is that even though a person may have served a sentence, paid fines, and be considered to have paid the initial debt to society, the criminal record itself has an impact on that person’s life. Employment laws in Canada are designed to protect people against prejudiced hiring practices like rejecting applications based on gender, religious affiliation, or culture, for example. But criminal record holders are not protected in this same way. In fact, some jobs, such as those within the government, personal support work, nursing, teaching, all legally require a person to not have a criminal record, so the background checks are mandatory.
Even personal activities, such as looking for an apartment to rent, adopting a child, volunteering for some charitable acts/duties or traveling to the United States are affected by the presence of a criminal record. But these hurdles can be negated if you qualify for pardon applications in Canada. Whether it’s a file destruction or a record suspension, these procedures can remove the obstacles getting in the way of many opportunities, and give people a second chance to make a contribution to society.
If you have not been convicted of a criminal offence, but have been charged, and subsequently experienced the fingerprinting, and either a withdrawal or charges, a dismissal of the case or the charges from a judge, or a not guilty verdict at trial, there’s still evidence of this experience. Your arrest and charges are still on file, but Pardons Canada can remove this through a procedure known as a file destruction. People that qualify for this have different waiting times before they can move forward with a file destruction:
- Not Guilty Outcome: 1 year
- Stayed: 1 year
- Peace Bond: 1 yr.
- Absolute Discharge: 1 year
- Conditional Discharge 3 years
A file destruction will still require certain types of documentation, and usually cooperation from the police station involved with the arrest and fingerprinting process.
More commonly known in the past as a “pardon,” record suspensions remove the majority of criminal convictions from the CPIC for both police and public scrutiny. The only exceptions to this, are more extreme crimes, such as sexual offenses involving minors, or more than three offenses with jail terms of two or more years. For most other typical cases, such as drunk driving charges (DUI), or theft, jail time or probation must be served, fines—if applicable—must be paid, the parole period must be passed without incident, and there is a waiting period depending on the class of violation:
- Summary Offenses: 5 years
- Indictable Offenses 10 years
These waiting periods begin as soon as a sentence/fine are considered served and paid. In other words, if you had an indictable offense with a two-year jail sentence, that doesn’t mean you now only have to wait eight more years before thinking about starting a pardon application in Canada.
Pardon Applications in Canada – The Process
Pardon applications in Canada are time-consuming, lengthy processes with a lot of requirements, documents and inter-organizational cooperation between different agencies, court houses and police stations. As a result, getting a file destruction, record suspension, or even US entry waiver just to travel to the United States can be an elaborate procedure.
One of the biggest hurdles people face with doing a pardon application in Canada is just meeting the requirements from the various organizations and ensuring that everything is in order. For example, in applying for a record suspension, a document of the criminal record must be present, as well as documentation from the court that issued the verdict, a check and approval from the local police in addition to an actual application which includes among other things a detailed questionnaire.
For people applying for a US entry waiver in order to travel to the United States, other documents, such as official character references, have to be sought, in addition to cooperation from both the Admissibility Review Office of the United States, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that has your criminal record.
When dealing with a pardon applications in Canada, it is absolutely critical to make sure that all required documents are present, in the correct format, and that all applications are filled out as requested. Any deviation in this can result in either delays to pardon applications of Canada, or in some cases, outright denial of an application, requiring the process to start all over again.
In general, once pardons applications of Canada are submitted the waiting times can vary on the final approval. A record suspension, for example, will take about 12 months on average to be approved, but in some cases, the approval has been granted in as little as four months, while on the long end, sometimes it’s taken as much as 18 months for an approval to come through. For US entry waivers, there’s a wider average variance of 8-12 months on a decision to approve or reject an application. File destructions, however, usually get processed and approved quickly, because there is no criminal record information to handle.
Pardon Applications in Canada – Get It Done Properly
This is why for people who are concerned with making sure their record suspension, file destruction or US entry waiver application goes through smoothly, it often makes more sense to seek the help of professionals. Different people with different convictions will have differing schedules, and requirements, and this is compounded by living in other parts of the country where they may be some variance in provincial laws.
It’s important to make sure that if you do decide to get help with pardon applications in Canada, you do so with experienced professionals that have a clear understanding of the Canadian legal system, and record suspension/US entry waiver/file destruction procedures. It’s also important to make sure this understanding is current and up to date, as the laws regarding record suspensions can—and do—change.
If you need to get the right documentation to give yourself more opportunities for your life in Canada, come to the experts. Pardons Canada is a non-profit organization dedicated to making sure that when people try to improve and enrich their lives, they get the best possible chance at succeeding in that venture. By seeking our help, we make sure that you are informed of all the steps expected, meet them to the minimum eligibility required, and have the most expedient and efficient application process (which includes gathering all the necessary paperwork like court and police files) for the approval you need to get on with your life.