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SekCheck 14 Jun  |  2 mins read

What Are the Eligibility Criteria for Canadian Pardons?

What Are the Eligibility Criteria for Canadian Pardons?

In Canada, a pardon, officially referred to as a record suspension, is a legal process through which individuals with criminal convictions can have their records separated from those of individuals without criminal records. Once a pardon is granted, the criminal record is not erased but is set aside in the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database, making it inaccessible during most background checks. This process helps in alleviating the long-term negative impacts of having a criminal record.

Importance of a Canadian Pardon

A criminal record can severely limit various aspects of an individual's life. Here’s why obtaining a Canadian pardon is crucial:

  • Employment Opportunities: Many employers perform background checks, and a criminal record can be a significant barrier to securing employment.
  • Travel Freedoms: Certain countries, including the United States, have stringent entry policies for individuals with criminal records. A Canadian pardon can improve your chances of being granted entry.
  • Housing: Landlords often conduct background checks, and a clean record can enhance your ability to secure rental accommodations.
  • Volunteering: Many volunteer organizations require a clean record, especially for positions involving vulnerable populations.
  • Peace of Mind: Obtaining a pardon can provide psychological relief and a sense of closure from past mistakes.

Eligibility Criteria for a Canadian Pardon

To be eligible for a pardon in Canada, several criteria must be met. The eligibility requirements can be categorized into general criteria and specific criteria based on the nature of the conviction.

General Criteria

Completion of Sentence: You must have completed all parts of your sentence, including:

  • Prison time (if applicable)
  • Probation
  • Parole
  • Payment of all fines, fees, and restitution orders

Waiting Period: After completing your sentence, you must wait for a specific period before applying for a pardon. The waiting period depends on the type of offense:

  • Summary Offenses: 5 years
  • Indictable Offenses: 10 years

Specific Criteria

Good Conduct: You must demonstrate good conduct during the waiting period. Any subsequent criminal activity can disqualify you from receiving a pardon.

Documentation: Gather all necessary documents, including:

  • A copy of your criminal record from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)
  • Court documents for each conviction
  • Local police records check from the area where you live
  • Military conduct sheet if you served in the Canadian Forces
  • Application Form: Complete the official application form for a record suspension, available on the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) website.
  • Application Fee: Pay the required application fee, which is CAD 644.88 as of now.
  • Personal Statement: You may need to provide a personal statement explaining how your life has changed since your conviction and why you believe a pardon is justified.

Application Process

  • Gather Documents: Collect all the necessary documentation mentioned above.
  • Complete the Application: Fill out the application form accurately.
  • Submit the Application: Send your completed application, along with all required documents and the application fee, to the PBC.
  • Review and Decision: The PBC will review your application and make a decision, which can take several months.

The process of applying for a pardon can be complex and daunting. SekCheck Fingerprinting specializes in assisting individuals through the intricacies of the pardon application process in Canada. Our experienced team provides comprehensive support, ensuring that all necessary documents are correctly gathered, forms are accurately filled out, and deadlines are met. With SekCheck Fingerprinting, you can have confidence that your application will be managed professionally, increasing your chances of a successful outcome.