Why You Might Not be Qualified for a Canadian Pardon
by Joel LaForest, Pardon Applications of Canada
A Canadian Pardon (also known as a “Record Suspension”, depending on the most recent offence date) is meant to give Canadians and residents a second chance in life by allowing them to put their criminal record behind them forever. However, the idea of letting some people off the hook tends to be a bit controversial, especially when we’re talking about individuals who’ve committed serious crimes or that have transgressed upon the rights of others. Indeed, applying for a Pardon is a privilege, not a right, and many conditions have to be met by the applicant.
On that note, let’s explore three specific reasons why you might not be qualified to apply for a Canadian Pardon.
1. You Have Not Completed Your Sentencing or Waiting Period
To be eligible for a Pardon, individuals must first prove that they have changed their criminal ways. Therefore, before applying for a Pardon, the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) requires that all applicants pay in full any fines, surcharges, or other forms of restitution or compensation as mandated by their sentence. Once that requirement is met, applicants must still surpass a multi-year waiting period. Depending on the age of the offence and its severity, this waiting period could be 5 or 10 years.
For example, if the applicant’s most recent offence date occurred after March 13, 2012, and the offence was prosecuted summarily, the waiting period is 5 years. However, if the offence was prosecuted by indictment (more serious), the waiting period is 10 years.
2. You’ve Been Convicted of a Sexual Offence Against a Minor
There’s no denying that all sexual offences are terrible. But quite rightly, sexual crimes committed against young children and underage minors are considered to be especially heinous in the eyes of the court, and society. Therefore, even if an individual who has committed such a crime has completed all sentencing, and paid all fines and restitution in full as mandated by the courts, they still will not be eligible to apply for a Pardon assuming the offence occurred after March 13, 2012. Before that date, some sexual offenders may be permitted to apply but there are other factors. Learn more about this controversial topic here.
3. You’re a Repeat Offender of Serious Offences
Most would agree that everybody deserves a second chance. But when an individual fails to prove that they’re willing to change their criminal ways, especially when it comes to serious offenses, there’s only so much that can be done. That’s why individuals who have been convicted of 3 or more indictable offenses, where the sentence was more than two years in jail each time, are also not eligible to apply for a Pardon.
Learn more about Record Suspension eligibility here.
Keeping the Streets of Canada Safe
In Canada, criminal acts of all sorts are taken very seriously by its people, the courts, and the criminal justice system itself. And although Pardons are designed as a way for individuals with a criminal record to move away from their criminal past, they first require individuals to face the consequences of their actions before being eligible to apply.
In the end, Pardons form an integral component of the Canadian justice system, ensuring that individuals who commit crimes in Canada are addressed in a fair, equitable, and unbiased manner. But not everyone qualifies.
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About the Author
Joel LaForest is a Research Analyst with Pardon Applications of Canada and the owner of The Hobo Marketing Co., specializing in writing about law, finance, health, and wealth. To see if you qualify for a Canadian Pardon, fill out the form below or contact Pardon Applications of Canada via Schedule a call.