The record Suspension Request, Formerly a Pardon Application

Criminal Law Pardon

In Canada, once a person has been found guilty of a criminal infraction (depending on the sentence imposed in the file) the information of said person will be kept in the Canadian Police Information Center database, that constitute a criminal record.

The existence of a criminal record can have an impact in terms of immigration, on the employment field and restrict one’s ability to travel.

Someone with a criminal record can, under certain specific condition, present to the Parole Board of Canada a request for a record suspension in order to remove his criminal record from the Canadian police information center database.

Depending on the date the first infraction has been committed, the request can be called a record suspension or a pardon application.

Pardon applications (or record suspensions for any offense committed after March 13, 2012) are governed by the Criminal Records Act (the Act).

Section 4 and subsequent sections of the Act specify restrictions on record suspension applications, including the waiting period to be observed and the eligible offenses.

General admissibility

Each situation requires a particular analysis however summarily you will not be eligible to a record suspension if:

  • You have been convicted of more than 3 criminal acts;
  • You have been convicted to a prison term of 2 years or more;
  • You were convicted of certain offenses listed in Schedule 1 of the Act, such as sexual offenses against children and you do not meet the exception criteria.

If your file concluded in an acquittal or a withdraw of accusation or if you have obtained as a sentence a discharge (conditional or unconditional) you do not need to request a record suspension as a criminal record is not created in those circumstances. You also do not need to request a record suspension if you have only been convicted in a youth court or a youth justice court, your record will be destroyed or archived once all applicable time period have elapsed under the Young Offenders Act or the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Applicable delay to respect before presenting a request

Once eligibility for a record suspension request is preliminarily confirmed, the applicable waiting period before making the request must be determined.

The waiting period before you can request a suspension of your criminal record depends on several criteria, namely:

  • Whether the offense you were found guilty of was prosecuted by indictment or by summary procedure;
  • The date when the first offense was committed;

As mentioned, the appropriate waiting period will vary depending on the date when the first offense was committed. Below, you will find the applicable rules according to the date of the offense commission:

Date when the infraction was comitted:Your first infraction was committed on or before June 28 2010 :Your first infraction was committed between June 29 2010 and March 12 2012 :Your first infraction was committed on or after March 13 2012 :
Name of the procedure:PardonPardonRecord suspension
Delay if the case was handled by summary conviction:3 years3 years5 years
Délai si le dossier a été pris par mise en accusation (acte criminel) :5 years5 years10 years
  10 ans : Infraction grave contre la personne pour laquelle vous avez été condamné à 2 ans d’emprisonnement ou plus ou infraction punissable par mise en accusation figurant à l’annexe I de la Loi sur le casier judiciaire. 

The periods of 3 years, 5 years, or 10 years starts once all sentences are served, which means that the waiting period begins once all imposed sentences are completed. Which means that the waiting period does not start once you are found guilty but only once your entire sentence has been served.

According to the Parole Board of Canada (hereinafter “the Board”), a sentence corresponds to any imposed sanction, and probation periods are considered sentences by the Board. A fine is also considered a sentence, and any unpaid fees, for example, would prevent the sentence from being served and would push back the start date of the waiting period to the date when the total required sum is received by the Court.

It is essential to understand what constitute a sentence according to the Criminal Code in order to determine the applicable waiting period. As an example: a prohibition from driving for a one-year period imposed in a file of driving under the influence or dangerous driving is not considered a sentence in the sense of the Criminal Code and this delay is not to be considered in the waiting period.


Once your waiting period has ended, you will need to make several applications to different organizations in order to submit your pardon application.

Once eligible for a Record Suspension application, the first step will be to obtain your criminal record from the RCMP. Our office could then obtain other documents and fill out the forms for you if you retain us to apply for your Record Suspension.

Criteria Considered for the Application for a Record Suspension

Record suspension requests are not automatically approved by the Parole Board of Canada, even if you fit the general criteria to obtain said record suspension. Your file will be analysed by the board. To determine whether to grant a Record suspension application, the Board will consider, among other things, the nature of the offense committed and its severity, as well as evidence of your rehabilitation, which includes: actions taken/positive changes made in your life following the commission of the offense, and the societal benefit of granting you a pardon (how obtaining a pardon would benefit you and how it would support your reintegration into society as a law-abiding citizen).


A record suspension, if approved, can be beneficial in many ways. It is essential to understand and respect the admissibility criteria in order to improve your chances of having your request granted.

We invite you to contact our firm for more particularized information specific to your situation.

Link Placeholder - © Hasa Avocats 2024 - Website Tatianalab