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Getting a Pardon (Record Suspension)

Have you been convicted of a criminal offence, such as fraud, in the past and looking to put those days behind you? A criminal record can hinder one's ability to work, travel, volunteer and become a citizen of Canada. In order to prevent your past on having a negative effect on your future plans, it is important to seek a records suspension (commonly referred to as a pardon) as soon as you become eligible. A record suspension will remove all information about your conviction from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC).

It is not uncommon for employers to request a background check (records check) from their potential employees as a screening mechanism for hiring. A criminal record will follow you until you decide to apply for a record suspension. In Canada, you must wait 5 years to be eligible for a record suspension if you were convicted of a summary offence or 10 years if you were convicted of an indictable offence. Furthermore, it is important to note that the clock only starts ticking when all elements of the sentence are complete. Therefore, it is important to pay all fines (if applicable) as quickly as you can in order to sooner be eligible for a record suspension.

Although you might be eligible for a record suspension, it is not automatic. You must apply for a record suspension and the Parole Board of Canada will decide whether or not to grant you the record suspension. Further, some offences (or combinations of offences) make you ineligible for a record suspension. If you have been convicted of a Schedule 1offence (sexual offence involving a child) as per the Criminal Records Act or have been convicted of 4 indictable offences of 2 or more years in jail, you will not be eligible for a record suspension.

For more information on your record suspension eligibility and to see if you are eligible, try the self-assessment tool located on the Government of Canada website:

https://www.canada.ca/en/parole-board/services/record-suspensions/record-suspension-self-assessment-tool.html

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