1-in-8 Canadians have a criminal record. That is no small number. A criminal record holds you back from securing gainful employment, acquiring adequate housing, traveling abroad, and volunteering at your kid’s school. Each one of these items requires a background check. Once you agree to a criminal background check, any offenses you may have committed in the past will be revealed, however, if you get a record suspension, (Canadian pardon) all of that will change.
A Canadian pardon, now called record suspension, seals a criminal record in the CPIC national database. Once you have a record suspension you can confidently apply for jobs and other opportunities knowing that your background check will come back clear.
Before you can apply for a record suspension, you need to know if you qualify. Here are some important things to note:
Pay outstanding fines: To qualify for a record suspension, it’s important to complete any and all aspects of the sentencing as quickly as possible. This means paying off fines or any outstanding debts owed. All outstanding fines need to be paid before the official wait period can begin–the faster you pay your fines, the faster the waiting period begins and you are that much closer to getting a pardon. In many cases, people will try to apply for a record suspension only to realize that they have unpaid fines dating back several years.
Wait Period: Before you apply for a record suspension, you need to wait a set amount of time in order to demonstrate good character. The wait periods are as follows:
Summary offence: Five years
Indictable offence: Ten years
If you don’t know whether you have a summary or indictable conviction, this information can be found in the court records. It’s sometimes possible to tell based on your conviction, but not in all cases because most offences in Canada are considered “hybrid.” Hybrid means they can either be tried as summary or indictable. This can make things even more confusing, but you can always call us for a free consultation and we can review your information to find out if you qualify. However, we may need to get court records to find out if your offence was summary or hybrid.
In 2012, the Canadian government made certain types of records ineligible:
- Schedule 1 offences against a minor
- More than three indictable offences, each carrying a sentence of more than two years
**Of the Schedule 1 offences, there is an exception if a person was within five years in the age of the minor, was not in a position of trust, and no force or coercion was used.
Criterion for qualification
Applying for a pardon is a complicated process and requires a level of expertise. You need to provide several forms of documentation to the Parole Board of Canada. They will investigate your background primarily through police records. Meeting the basic criterion doesn’t always mean the applicant qualifies. Some things that can prevent a person from qualifying for a pardon are:
- Recent negative police contact: You can be denied a pardon based on recent police contact even if you have not been charged. This contact might include peace bonds, domestic incidents, harassing phone calls, or multiple traffic tickets.
- The seriousness of the past offence: Just because you have finished your waiting period doesn’t mean the Parole Board is required to grant your pardon. A new criterion allows the Parole Board to deny an application if it would “bring the administration of justice into disrepute.” Meaning that if you have a particularly serious offence on your record, you could be denied.
- No measurable benefit: If you do not demonstrate remorse or an understanding of the offence or why you would benefit from the Record Suspension, the Parole Board can deny your application. A measurable benefit form needs to be completed as part of your application.
The application process for a record suspension can be overwhelming, but it is important to remember that a majority of applications are accepted for filing. The main reason 30-percent of pardon applications fail is that they weren’t prepared properly.
Another important aspect to note about applying for a record suspension is that there is a fee of $631 and if your application is denied the fee is non-refundable.
AllCleared has over 30 years’ experience helping people start fresh. Avoid a failed pardon application by choosing AllCleared to help you. If you would like a free consultation on your eligibility to apply for a pardon, contact us today at 1-866-972-7366.