A pardon (now known as a record suspension) is a method of sealing a person’s criminal record so it can’t be viewed during a CPIC (Canadian Police Information Centre) search. Only people who were convicted of a criminal offence, but have finished out their sentence and remained of ‘good conduct’ for a period of time, can be eligible for a pardon, which is issued by the Parole Board of Canada. Once the pardon is issued, the person’s record is then closed and sealed.
Many people don’t even think about their criminal record once they’ve completed their sentence because they want to put the past behind them and focus on building a better future. But the problem is that once you have been convicted of a crime, or even had an encounter with the Canadian criminal justice system that required you to be fingerprinted, a criminal record will remain tied to your name in the RCMP’s national database until a record suspension is granted. You may not be thinking about it, but it’s still there.
Besides the relief of having a criminal record lifted from one’s past, there are many more tangible benefits of obtaining a pardon, but they’re not always immediately evident; after all, it’s not every day that someone asks for a criminal record check. In order to consider the benefits of a pardon, it’s first necessary to look at who may be performing criminal checks and who has access to CPIC information.
Who can check my criminal record and access its contents?
A criminal record is not posted just anywhere for all to see, but you can rest assured that anyone in law enforcement has access to at least some, if not all, of your criminal record. And in the case of court documents, they are a matter of public record and everyone can gain access to them in some form, with some digging.
Here are the types of people who can and do most commonly view your record and its contents:
- S. and Canadian border security officers
- volunteer coordinators
Not all employers choose to conduct a criminal record check, but it is becoming increasingly common. The following occupations and industries absolutely will perform a criminal record check; some, such as those involving work with children, seniors, people with disabilities, and other members of the population who are considered vulnerable, will also require a deeper check known as a Vulnerable Sector check.
- Drivers & couriers
- Doctors & nurses
- Police officers
- Security guards
- Casino employees
- Car dealers
- Securities & insurance brokers
- Funeral directors
- Volunteers of all kinds
- Collection agents
- Cab / limousine drivers
- Day care workers
- School teachers
- Bankers and investment advisors
- Any Federal government office
- Any provincial government office
- LCBO employees
- Postal workers
- City employees
As you can see, if you hope to work with children, pursue a career in finance or even get a maintenance job with the city, a criminal record will hold you back. Most people think that if it’s a minor offense, or if they were acquitted, or if it was very long ago, their record will somehow ‘disappear’, but that is a myth. Regardless of the court outcome of your offense, and no matter how small the matter or how long ago it was, it’s probably not something you want to be discussing with the HR person who is interviewing you for a job.
A quick note on file destruction: if you were charged, but not convicted, of an offense (i.e. it was dismissed, stayed, withdrawn), or if the sentence involved diversion, a conditional or absolute discharge, or a peace bond, you will need what is called file destruction to ensure that your record disappears. File destruction entails the destruction of the entire contents of your police file – photos, fingerprints, local police and RCMP records – as the mere fact of your having a police record, whatever the particulars, is highly prejudicial to most employers and border officials.
It’s harder than ever to get a pardon in Canada
When Bill C-10 was passed by Parliament in 2012 under the former Harper government, it changed the rules surrounding pardons. Under the new rules, a pardon is now known as a Record Suspension, and the eligibility requirements have gotten stricter. In addition to having to complete your sentence, under the controversial bill, you must take steps to demonstrate rehabilitation. People who have been convicted of certain types of crimes, or a certain number of crimes, are not eligible for a record suspension at all. Fees for obtaining a pardon have gone up. And all indictable offenses are subject to a 10 year wait time before you can receive a pardon.
As a result, tens of thousands of Canadians are currently unable to move on with their lives.
Dominion Pardons & Waivers is extremely knowledgeable about the new legislation and what it means for you. We can let you know right away whether you are eligible for a pardon/record suspension and/or US Entry Waiver, and start the process for you immediately. We recommend beginning the application process at least a year before you are eligible, because the wheels of justice can move slowly when it comes to helping ex-offenders.
Dominion Pardons & Waivers can help you get back on track
We can’t erase your past, but we can erase the evidence that could otherwise hold you back for a very long time. When working or consulting with Dominion Pardons and Waivers, you can expect:
-Professional, knowledgeable, understanding staff
-A step-by-step process to get your pardon or waiver
We are your advocate throughout the process of obtaining a pardon/record suspension. We file the necessary paperwork, submit your final, completed application and assist you in obtaining the supporting documentation that you need to satisfy the PBC (Parole Board of Canada) requirements. In short, we help you navigate the often-tricky process every step of the way so you get that pardon, waiver, record suspension or notice of file destruction in your hands faster.
Dominion Pardons & Waivers are Canadian experts at obtaining the pardons and U.S. Entry Waivers that will give you a fresh start. We are always here to help! Call us at 1-888-974-4159 or fill out this quick form to see if you qualify for a record suspension now.