Record Suspension in Canada

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.


Recent Changes

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?

Absolutely. The same way that anyone is entitled to represent themselves in court, anyone can fill in the information in their application form without help from the experts at Pardon Applications of Canada. You can download an application form from the Parole Board of Canada here.

However, just like in court, moving forward on your own carries its own risks.

If you are determined to apply to the Parole Board of Canada on your own, it is important that each of the several application stages be completed correctly. If any mistakes are made,  the application may be rejected or deemed invalid. If this occurs, applicants will not be permitted to apply again for another year. Once an application is rejected or deemed invalid, the entire process must be restarted from the beginning. 

In our experience, most people prefer that their application information is filled in properly the first time, particularly if time is an important factor.


How Much Does it Cost to Get a Criminal Record Suspension?

If you decide that you would like to have your record suspended and any information about your offence erased from public view by the experts at Pardon Applications of Canada, you can expect to pay between $1,300 and $1,900 for our services, as well as the submission fee charged by the government, which is now $631.

All told, the entire process will cost around $2,500 to complete, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

Learn more about our fee structure here.


How Do I Get Started Right Away?

To begin the process, simply fill out the application form below to see if you qualify for a Record Suspension in Canada.  

You’ll get an instant email with information on your eligibility and learn how to get started right away.  

Keep in mind: your submission is 100% confidential, and there is no obligation to work with us once you have submitted your information. 

Let’s get started!

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