Being convicted of a crime in Canada can have negative repercussions that reverberate far into a person’s future, leading to problems securing employment, travelling abroad, enrolling in educational programs, renting an apartment, getting custody of a child, applying to volunteer, and others.
The Criminal Records Act, Canadian legislation created in 1985, was written to help provide relief to anyone convicted of a criminal offence that had subsequently rehabilitated themselves.
At its core, this legislation was designed to give deserving individuals a fresh start, hiding prior criminal charges from public view. It was agreed that removing barriers to reintegration for Canadians with a criminal record who lived crime-free lives after serving their sentences would also benefit public safety in general.
Originally, if a person was found deserving of such relief due to good conduct, they were known to have received a “pardon.” In 2012, the Government of Canada made two important amendments to the Criminal Records Act.
1) The government’s first amendment was to change the name of pardons in Canada to “Criminal Record Suspensions.” The reason for this change reflected the fact that a criminal record suspension could be revoked if the person in question re-offended.
2) The second amendment to the Criminal Records Act lengthened the eligibility period related to certain offences. This meant changes were made to the length of time a person interested in receiving a record suspension would have to wait before being able to fill out a record suspension application.
These changes notwithstanding, a criminal record suspension essentially remains the same as what used to be known as a Canadian pardon.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Record Suspension in Canada?
The Criminal Records Act specifies that a record suspension application is a ten-step legal process. Generally speaking, the timeline from start to finish takes between 10 to 18 months, depending on the nature of the criminal offence and the number of dispositions (locations) in which the applicant was charged.
You can find out more about the record suspension timeline here, but assuming ideal conditions the breakdown for a timeline would be as follows:
- 4-6 months to prepare the application at Pardon Applications
- 3-6 months for the government to process the completed applications
Can I Apply for a Criminal Record Suspension By Myself?
It is absolutely your privilege to try. In the same manner that you are entitled to represent yourself in court, you can certainly attempt the application process on your own. However, just like self-representation in court, doing so carries its own risks.
For example, each of the ten application stages must be completed perfectly and in a precise manner. If any mistakes are made, the application may be rejected or deemed invalid. If this occurs, you will not be permitted to apply again for a full year, and all time and money invested in the process is lost.
For most applicants, it makes sense to ensure that the application process is completed accurately and successfully the first time. And that’s where Pardon Applications of Canada excels.
How Much Does it Cost to Get a Criminal Record Suspension?
Depending on the length and seriousness of your criminal record, expect to pay between $1500-$3000 for a Criminal Record Suspension. This includes fees to courts, police, Pardon Applications of Canada, fingerprinting and the government of Canada’s filing fee which is currently $657.77.
Fees do not have to paid in full at once. Learn more about our fee structure here.
How Do I Get Started Right Away?
Fill out the application form below to see if you qualify for a Criminal Record Suspension in Canada.
You’ll get an instant email with information on your eligibility and learn how to get started right away.
Your submission is 100% confidential, and there is no obligation to start a file once you have submitted your information.
Let’s get started!