Life with a criminal record is challenging. Finding steady employment, completing an education, and travelling abroad are made extremely difficult by having a criminal past.
A Canadian Pardon (now known as a record suspension) gives those who have successfully rehabilitated a chance to move forward from the past and lead a fulfilling life.
Canadian Pardons are granted by the Parole Board of Canada to those who have finished their sentences and demonstrated that they have rehabilitated and lead a crime-free life.
In this FAQ, we will cover the basics of getting your record suspended and moving on with your life.
What is a Record Suspension and How Does it Benefit Me?
A criminal record can have many negative effects on your life. Everything from finding a job to doing volunteer work and renting an apartment is made more difficult.
In Canada, since 2012, a Pardon is known as a “record suspension”, and this gives you the opportunity to seal your criminal record away from public view in all but a few extreme cases. That means your record won’t appear when background checks are performed.
The benefits are more job opportunities, better access to education, peace of mind when travelling abroad, and much more.
How Hard is it to Get a Record Suspension?
The issue isn’t necessarily with the difficulty in being granted a record suspension, but how complex it is to apply properly. A detailed 9-step legal process is required as stated in the Criminal Records Act. Depending on the nature of your record, you need to obtain several documents, get signatures from police departments, fill in the right paperwork, and send it to the right department.
From there, it is up to an independent board to review and grant your application. You can submit further evidence and get personal recommendations to help sway the decision of the board.
Don’t I need a Lawyer?
Using a lawyer will likely cost three to four times more than using an Accredited service whose sole job it is to obtain your record suspension. And lawyers generally do not specialize in the application process. It is usually better to use a professional service or attempt the application process on your own.
How Long Do I Have to Wait?
From when you first contact Pardon Applications of Canada to the approval of your record suspension, you can expect a timeline of roughly 10-18 months. This depends on the nature of your record, number of charges, and board decision-making process. Even the number of locations you’ve been charged in will factor into the waiting period.
A record suspension gives you the chance to seal your criminal past and move on with your life, but there are a number of reasons why your application can be denied. Sometimes even a poorly prepared application is to blame. If you’d like to take the first step toward moving forward in your life, a great place to start is with a free pardon qualification assessment.