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Canadian Pardons Rules, Legislation and Impact Regulations

What is a Pardon

A Canadian Pardon gives people with criminal records in Canada a “Second Chance in Life” by clearing their entire criminal record. Our automated process (Direct Pardon) ensures applications are hassle-free and 100% secure.

What Are The Canadian Pardon Rules?

Due to the intricacy and complexity of the Pardon application process introduced by Bill C-10, it is recommended that any individual applying for a pardon (record suspension) or seeking more information call a professional consultant.

The new Canadian pardon rules have tailored changes to the older pardon process to reflect a higher level of complication in the system. These changes, as per the new Canadian pardon rules, include changes to eligibility criteria, increased documentation, and subjectivity.

Policy On Retention and Removal of Criminal Records

Criminal Records will be maintained until the subject of the record is 80 years old with no criminal activity reported in the last 10 years, except where the subject:

  • Is still under the sentence of a court
  • Has been sentenced to life imprisonment
  • Has been designated a “dangerous offender”
  • Is still the subject of a prohibition order, which has not expired.
  • Has an outstanding warrant or a notice has been expressed by an organization involved in the execution or administration of the law

In each of these instances, the criminal record is maintained until:

  • The subject completes his/her sentence and remains free of crime for a full term of 10 years
  • The subject attains one hundred (100) years of age

Policy On Removal of Criminal Records

Absolute Discharges

  • All absolute discharges received on or after July 24, 1992 are removed from the criminal record after 1 year from the sentence date
  • Absolute discharges received before July 24, 1992 are not automatically removed

Start the process of removing of your criminal record today

Conditional Discharges

  • All conditional discharges received on or after July 24, 1992 are removed from the criminal record 3 years following the date of the sentence
  • Conditional discharges registered before July 24, 1992 are not automatically removed

Start the process of removing of your criminal record today

The Positive Impact On Your Life With a Pardon

Any Canadian with a criminal record experiences a lot more than the mere sense of relief when obtaining a record suspension. A pardon presents an opportunity to conceal your past mistakes from being accessed by the public forever.

Since 1970, an estimated 450,000 Canadians have obtained pardons, 96% of whom have remained crime-free in their communities. Compared to now, it used to be much easier for individuals who had been convicted of a crime, completed their sentence, paid the fine, or complied in any other way as ordered by the court to rid themselves of their criminal records by obtaining a pardon.

Since legislative changes in 2012, the number of people obtaining pardons for Non-Schedule 1 offences has diminished for a number of reasons:

  • First, the government has quadrupled the application fee from $150 to $631
  • Second, the crime-free waiting period has been doubled for serious offenders, from five to ten years, while that for summary offences has increased from three to five years
  • Third, any individual who has had more than three convictions for indictable offences is no longer eligible for obtaining a pardon, just as anyone convicted of child offences

Any convict who qualifies for record suspension should feel relieved in knowing that they have not only “paid their dues”, but also earned the right to move forward and re-establish themselves as reformed members of society.

Here’s how a pardon can positively impact your life:

Criminal Record Removal:

The fact is, many convicts would appreciate a chance to undo their errors in judgment that caused their criminal record. Change your name, get a new job, maintain custody of your kids during separation/divorce, adopt a child, apply for citizenship, volunteer at your child’s school; these and many more opportunities are not possible unless your criminal record is sealed by obtaining a record suspension – a pardon.

Employment and Career Advancement

The RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), or Canada’s federal police, have a database of all individuals who have been charged with different crimes by local police agencies. The latter send a copy of criminal information to the RCMP, who then assign a fingerprint section (FPS) to the name and date of birth of the offender and puts their information on file.

The RCMP are the only people authorized to perform criminal record background checks. That said, employers are increasingly using the RCMP to perform criminal record checks when qualifying job candidates and current employees for vacant positions and promotions, respectively.

The problem is that an otherwise gifted and qualified applicant can be turned down for even a seemingly insignificant offence that happened years ago if the employer sees the record. Moreover, some companies are applying new criminal record policies that lead to the dismissal of long-term employees for minor, dated offences.

Fortunately, a pardoned crime does not appear during the criminal record check performed by the RCMP. You get a clean criminal record that allows you to live as if you never committed any crime, so you can move forward.


Even if you are an entrepreneur or subcontractor, the company you are doing business or contracting with can insist on a criminal record as part of it’s standard procedure. If they discover that you have a criminal record, regardless of how old it is, it will adversely affect your chances of getting hired.

Ability to be Bonded

When it comes to getting an insurance policy that you are not likely to steal, the insurance company will reimburse your employer, however you must not have a criminal record. In other words, being bondable means that you don’t have a criminal record, and that it’s cost effective to insure you.

If you have a criminal record, the insurance company is unlikely to rate the odds against you committing a crime while employed. If an insurance company considers you high risk, it might not be willing to cover you in the event of an incident that causes you to be sued during employment.

Volunteer Work

One of the most important reasons to obtain a pardon is to free yourself from your past and the bondage of an old criminal record. Many people make mistakes in their younger years, but change as they mature to become law abiding citizens. These people should not be burdened by their past mistakes.

Obtaining a pardon will free you of the shame and stigma that comes with a criminal past. Without a criminal record, your character and integrity will no longer be questioned, allowing you to participate in voluntary activities in your children’s school and the community.

Apartment Rental

Standard apartment rental application forms usually ask if you have a criminal record. This can make it difficult for convicted offenders to find a decent place to live.

Peace of Mind

Many people who have been convicted probably also seek respite from the psychological and physiological implications of the burden imposed by a criminal record. Not only do these individuals want to move forward, but they also want to attain peace of mind.

They don’t want to feel stressed every time they are confronted with the possibility of going through a criminal record check while interviewing for a new job or seeking a promotion, while endeavoring to participate in a community volunteer program, or when worrying that their neighbors or friends will discover their past. This kind of stress can result in physical and psychological trauma.

Get a Pardon Today

Receiving a record suspension allows you to live as if you never committed a crime. Any pardoned crime cannot be disclosed on a criminal record check without permission from the Ministry of Public Safety. In fact, the Canadian Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on a suspended record, including for applicants looking to work for a federal agency, the Canadian Forces, or a Crown corporation.

A clean criminal record is necessary to move forward, and applying for a record suspension is the only route to follow.

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