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Can You be Refused a Pardon?

Even if an eligible candidate applies for a record suspension and fills out the application correctly, there is a possibility that it could be refused or even revoked at a later time.  If the following has occurred or applies to you, you may not be given a record suspension, or be able to benefit fully from the effects of having your record suspended – in other words, the benefits of a pardon may not apply in certain circumstances.

  • Some record suspensions (or pardons) may not be recognized by some foreign countries and may not guarantee that you will be allowed entry into said countries.
  • Even with a record suspension, a convicted offence is still visible on your record.  A pardon does not erase the fact that you were convicted of an offence. It is nonetheless sealed from public visibility in Canada.
  • A record suspension does not restore your driving privileges (if they were revoked before) or your ability to possess a firearm (if prohibited from having a firearm previously).
  • If other persons, agencies or foreign countries have details of your criminal record, they will not be asked or required to remove it. An entirely separate request may be required to have local police purge criminal related information, including arrest records. The record suspension applies to Canada only and not foreign countries. Once granted a Pardon your record is sealed from public visibility in Canada.
  • The police have the authority to retrieve suspended sex offences during employment and volunteer pre-screening involving work in the vulnerable sector. If a civil search or search of a pardoned or suspended record results in the finding of a sex offence, a police clearance certificate will not be issued and employment or volunteering will not be allowed within the vulnerable sector.
  • If your court case was published on the internet for access to the public as part of legal public record, it may not be removed without a court order.

A record suspension or pardon can also be revoked.  It will most likely be revoked if you re-offend. Further, if you are facing charges before court if you have re-offended, a suspended record can be opened and presented before the courts as prior offences can affect the outcome of sentencing.

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In addition to the preceding, The Parole Board of Canada (PBC) requires a record suspension applicant to be of good conduct in order to obtain a pardon in the first place.  Good conduct can consist of many different things.  It includes, but is not limited to: the absence of highway traffic fines, fine in arrears for child support payments, and new charges or encounters with the law. If an applicant has demonstrated bad conduct in the past 5-10 years, such as additional offences, warnings from police, or other infractions, a pardon can be denied.

For more information on what makes you eligible or ineligible for a pardon, fill out a free pardon qualification assessment today.