When you are granted a Canadian pardon or record suspension, your record is sealed from public visibility. It is important to note that a pardon does not eliminate your criminal charges, but instead separates them from your publically visible record.
In the case of certain offences, a pardon will not be granted. For example, one would not be eligible for a Canadian pardon if convicted of a serious offence, or what is known as a Schedule 1 offence – such as an offence involving a child – under the Criminal Records Act. Schedule 1 offences include many offences of a sexual nature.
However, not all offences of a sexual nature are Schedule 1 offences. If you have a sexual offence conviction in Canada, you still may be eligible for a pardon. Below is more information about applying for a pardon with a sexual offence conviction.
Who Is Eligible for a Pardon?
You may apply for a Canadian pardon if you were convicted of a sexual offence under Canadian law or if you were convicted of an offence in another country and transferred to Canada. Before applying for a pardon, a person must have completed all sentences associated with the charge. For summary offences the waiting period is 5 years. For indictable convictions such as sexual offence convictions, you will have to wait up to 10 years before you can apply for a pardon.
Who Is Ineligible for a Pardon?
If you have been convicted of any type of sexual offence involving a minor (also known as a Schedule 1 offence) under the Criminal Records Act, you will not be eligible for a Canadian pardon. If you have 4 or more indictable convictions, each with 2 or more years of jail time served, you may not apply for a Canadian pardon.
The Specific Features of a Sexual Offence Pardon
Unlike other criminal charges, sexual offence pardons are granted with a specific caveat. If you have been granted a pardon for a sexual offence conviction, your record will still be concealed from view but the Canadian Police Information Centre (CIPC) will still have your record flagged in their computer system. This means that a person with a sexual offence conviction will be asked to show his or her record to potential employers if they want to work with children or groups that are vulnerable because of age or disability.
If you have been convicted of a sexual offence, it can affect your life in significant ways for years after the event, from hindering job prospects to your ability to leave the country. There is, however, the possibility of having that charge separated from your publically visible criminal record. Finding out if you qualify for a Canadian pardon is the first step to successfully re-integrating into society.