If you have been convicted of a criminal offence then you will need a pardon or record suspension to remove your criminal record from public record.
The eligibility requirements for a pardon or record suspension changed in March of 2012 due to a change in legislation by the Conservative government. The waiting period for a summary offence was three years from the end of your punishment and the waiting period for an indictable offence was five years from the end of your punishment. These waiting periods were increased under the new legislation in March of 2012. As of that date, a summary offence requires a five year waiting period from the end of the punishment and an indictable offence requires a ten year waiting period from the end of the punishment.
These longer waiting periods were found to be unfair and punitive by Pardons Canada and other advocates and we fought the government on these changes, however the legislation went through regardless.
In April 2017 the BC Supreme Court ruled that the new waiting periods violated an offenders’ charter of rights and freedoms if they were convicted of a summary or indictable offence prior to March of 2012 when the legislation changed.
In other words, if you were convicted of a crime prior to 2012 and it was a summary offence, you should only have to wait three years for a pardon rather than five years. If it was an indictable offence you should only have to wait five years rather than ten years. The Ontario Supreme Court is about to make a similar decision as well.
The Parole Board of Canada has yet to figure out a way to legislate these changes and until the government agrees, the rule continues as it was post March of 2012 and everyone is applicable under the new rule with the longer waiting periods.
The Liberal government has indicated they are willing to re-consider some of the changes made by the prior government especially relating to eligibility requirements for pardons and record suspensions, however nothing has yet to be done.
Here is a recent article highlighting the BC Supreme Court decision regarding waiting periods for pardons and record suspensions: