Must reading for anyone seeking a pardon

  • Can a pardon be revoked?

    Pardons can be revoked, which raises the question of whether a pardon is a pardon or not. A pardon will automatically be revoked if you are convicted of an indictable offence. The National Parole Board may revoke the pardon if you are later convicted of a summary offence or are considered to be "no longer of good conduct." It can also be revoked if you made a misleading or false statement when you applied

  • Advantages of a pardon


    Once you obtain a pardon, any federal agency or department that has record of your convictions must keep those records separate. Note that they do not have to and do not destroy your records, they merely move them to separate location. These agencies may not disclose any pardoned information without permission from the Solicitor General of Canada.




  • Vehicle or firearms restrictions:


    If you are prohibited under the Criminal Code of Canada from driving a vehicle or possessing a firearm for a specified time period, a pardon will not reduce or remove these prohibitions or restore your privileges.


  • Will foreign governments recognize a pardon?

    Not necessarily. A pardon is no guarantee of entry or obtaining visas for any other country. The USA is particularly ruthless about preventing the entry of any one with a criminal conviction.

    Generally even with a pardon, you will still need a USA Waiver to enter or even overfly the United States.



  • US Customs has become very tough

    US Customs have become extremely tough and generally will refuse admission to the US, even for day visits, to anyone with a conviction for any offense, no matter how slight. They have been given access to Canadian police computer records. Very few people attempting to cross the US border can slip by without their record showing up. It is not recommended that anyone attempt to do so, as this could result in seizure of your car, property, huge fines and permanent banning from ever entering the US.


    Anyone with a record, pardoned or not, should apply for a US waiver which grants some limited permission to enter the US. More on waivers here>>.



  • Does a pardon "erase" a conviction?

    No. The Canadian Human Rights Act says that you can't be discriminated against because of a pardoned conviction. (However, forbidding discrimination and preventing it are two entirely different issues.) This prohibition includes services you may need or the eligibility to work for a federal employer. Crown corporations, the federal public service, federal agencies and the Canadian Forces cannot use application forms that asks any question which would reveal a pardoned conviction. Private employers and volunteer agencies can and do ask questions designed to reveal any criminal record. For example, one device some employers use is putting a question on an application which asks if you have any criminal convictions. They then say you do not have to answer the question, but of course if you fail to answer, they draw the obvious inference.



  • Criminal Records Act:  What is Good Conduct Criteria?


    What are the Good Conduct Criteria? They are based largely on what the person processing your application says it is, according to the Criminal Record Act,


    If you meet the good conduct criteria and are granted a Record Suspension, you can expect the following benefits

    2.3 A record suspension

    (a) is evidence of the fact that

    (i) the Board, after making inquiries, was

    satisfied that the applicant was of good

    conduct, and


    (ii) the conviction in respect of which the

    record suspension is ordered should no

    longer reflect adversely on the applicant’s

    character; and

    (b) unless the record suspension is subsequently

    revoked or ceases to have effect, requires

    that the judicial record of the conviction

    be kept separate and apart from other

    criminal records and removes any disqualification

    or obligation to which the applicant is,

    by reason of the conviction, subject under

    any Act of Parliament — other than section

    109, 110, 161, 259, 490.012, 490.019 or

    490.02901 of the Criminal Code, subsection

    147.1(1) or section 227.01 or 227.06 of the

    National Defence Act or section 36.1 of the

    International Transfer of Offenders Act.


  • The New Good Conduct Rule:


    The Parole Board of Canada (PBC) defines a record suspension, (previously referred to as a pardon) as “…a formal attempt to remove the stigma of a criminal record for people who … have satisfied [their] sentence and remained crime free.”[i] However it is important to realize that remaining “crime free” is not necessarily the only requirement that must be met in order for a pardon to be granted. All individuals wishing to obtain a record suspension must also demonstrate that they have maintained “good conduct”; the criteria for which remains at the discretion of the Parole Board of Canada.

  • Who can apply for a pardon?


    Anyone who has been convicted of an offence under a federal act or regulation of Canada can apply for a pardon. This applies even if you are not a Canadian citizen or resident. If you are a Canadian citizen and have been convicted in another country but returned to Canada under the Transfer of Offenders Act, you may also apply


  • What are the chances of getting a pardon record suspension?


    Pardons are now officially called "Record Suspension."


    If you are qualified for a pardon, you cannot be denied. You have a right to a pardon.






  • Do you need to apply for a pardon if you got a conditional or absolute discharge?



    No. Discharges do not result in criminal records. However discharges will show on your police and RCMP record even though they are not convictions. If your absolute discharge occurred after July 1992, the RCMP is supposed to automatically remove that information from their computer one year after the court decision. If it was a conditional discharge, the information will be removed three years after the court decision. You should verify that this has been done by contacting the RCMP. Chances are it was not.



  • Do  you need to apply for a pardon if charges against you were dismissed, stayed or withdrawn?


    You need not apply for a pardon if charges against you were dismissed, stayed or withdrawn, or did not result in a conviction. If charges did not result in a conviction but your record is on the RCMP system, you may contact the police force that arrested you and ask them to request that the RCMP return your fingerprints and all information taken at the time of arrest for destruction. The police forces may choose to deny this request.



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