When applying for a pardon, the first question many Canadians have is “where do I start?” It is not always clear how to go about applying for a pardon, as the process can be lengthy, complicated, and confusing. For over 23 years our company has been happy to offer our services to Canadians who do not know how to apply for a pardon, or who simply do not want to deal with the hassle involved in the application process. This post offers a simplified look at what the application process involves, and how complicated it can get.

Before You Begin

The first important piece of information to know is that in March of 2012, the term “pardon” was replaced with “Record Suspension” due to new legislation that took effect. There is fundamentally no difference between the two, but the change has given rise to rumours that that the government will no longer be offering the chance to seal one’s criminal record. This is untrue. These applications are now simply known as “Record Suspensions”, and the process for obtaining one is virtually identical. Therefore, nearly all mentions of “pardons” can be taken to mean “Record Suspensions”, and vice versa.

That being said, there were some changes to the application process that can make applying for a pardon somewhat more difficult. The first thing to determine is whether or not you are eligible to apply. This is dictated by eligibility periods laid out in the Criminal Records Act, and more information about whether or not you are eligible to apply for a pardon can be found here.

Steps in Applying for a Pardon

Applying for a pardon involves many steps, and many documents. The first step is always to obtain a copy of the applicant’s certified criminal record using their fingerprints. Once this is obtained, court documents must be ordered from each court where the applicant was convicted of an offence. This is often where applying for a pardon becomes difficult, as the results of these court documents can dictate how the applicant must proceed. Different procedures must be followed depending on whether or not the client has served in the military, has unpaid fines relating to his or her convictions, or has additional convictions that are not listed on the criminal record. In some cases the courts are unable to determine if restitution or fines have been paid to a third party, or the records relating to certain convictions have been destroyed as per court retention policy. This can further complicate the process of applying for a pardon, requiring that separate processes are followed, and further supporting documentation is obtained.

Once the required documentation is obtained from the courts and it is confirmed that the applicant is in fact eligible, local police checks must then be conducted for everywhere that the applicant has lived in the past five years. This process is required in order to determine whether or not the applicant has maintained “good conduct” as defined by the Parole Board of Canada. Lastly, the completed application is submitted to the Parole Board of Canada for final evaluation and approval.

Why Should I Hire Pardon Services Canada to Apply for a Pardon on my Behalf?

Theoretically, applying for a pardon should be a simple process, as the basic steps are readily available from the Parole Board of Canada. In practice however the process is rarely as simple as it sounds. Complications like those mentioned above can greatly hinder an individual’s application, or cause it to be denied outright if the proper practices are not followed. If you are serious about applying for a pardon and want to ensure that it is done properly and completely, it is advisable to retain the services of Pardon Services Canada. If you want to apply for a pardon, and you are unsure of whether or not you have the means to complete it, we encourage you to contact our offices and we will be happy to apply over two decades of industry expertise to your application. Additionally if you have any other questions, we encourage you to check our our F.A.Q. https://allcleared.com/faqs/.