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How long does it take to remove a record suspension

February 27, 2024
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Andrew Tanenbaum
Pardons Canada

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Removing a criminal record in Ontario, Canada, is a process that varies in duration depending on several factors, including the type of conviction, the completion of all sentences, and the specific steps required to apply for a Record Suspension (formerly known as a pardon). Organizations like Pardons Canada (pardons.org) play a crucial role in assisting individuals through this complex process, providing guidance and support to ensure that applications are completed accurately and efficiently. This article explores the timeline involved in removing a criminal record in Ontario, drawing on insights from Pardons Canada (pardons.org).

How long does it take to remove a record suspension

Understanding Record Suspensions

A Record Suspension allows individuals who have been convicted of a criminal offense in Canada to have their criminal record kept separate and apart from other criminal records. This action does not erase the conviction but restricts access to the record under most circumstances, significantly reducing the impact of the past conviction on the individual's life. It's important to note that eligibility for a Record Suspension requires the applicant to have completed all sentences and to have demonstrated a period of law-abiding behavior.

Eligibility Criteria

Before applying for a Record Suspension, individuals must meet certain eligibility criteria:

  • For summary offenses, a waiting period of 5 years must be completed following the end of the sentence.
  • For indictable offenses, the waiting period is 10 years.

The sentence includes jail time, fines, surcharges, probation, and parole. Successfully meeting these criteria is the first step in the process of removing a criminal record.

Timeline for Removing a Criminal Record

The timeline for removing a criminal record in Ontario involves several stages, each with its own set of timelines:

1. Completion of Sentences (Variable Duration)

The process cannot start until all sentences have been fully completed, including the payment of all fines and the completion of probation or parole.

2. Eligibility Waiting Period (5 or 10 Years)

After completing all sentences, individuals must wait either 5 or 10 years, depending on the nature of their offense, before they are eligible to apply for a Record Suspension.

3. Gathering Documentation (1-6 Months)

Applicants must obtain a copy of their criminal record from the RCMP, court documents for each conviction, and conduct a local police check in every jurisdiction they have lived in during the past five years. The time required for this step can vary based on the responsiveness of courts and police departments.

4. Preparing and Submitting the Application (1-2 Months)

Completing the application for a Record Suspension requires careful attention to detail. Applicants need to provide comprehensive information about their history, character, and conduct since their conviction. Pardons Canada (pardons.org) can provide assistance in ensuring that applications are correctly filled out and submitted.

5. Review by the Parole Board of Canada (6-12 Months)

Once the application is submitted, it is reviewed by the Parole Board of Canada. The current processing time for Record Suspension applications is approximately 6 to 12 months, but this can vary depending on the complexity of the application and the current backlog of the Parole Board.

Factors Affecting the Timeline

Several factors can affect the timeline for removing a criminal record, including:

  • Accuracy of Application: Incomplete or inaccurate applications can lead to delays. Utilizing services like Pardons Canada (pardons.org) can help ensure accuracy.
  • Complexity of the Criminal Record: Individuals with multiple convictions or convictions in different jurisdictions may face a longer process due to the increased complexity of gathering documentation.
  • Backlogs and Processing Times: Delays at the RCMP, courts, local police departments, or the Parole Board of Canada can extend the timeline.

The process of removing a criminal record in Ontario is time-consuming, with the entire process potentially taking anywhere from several months to a few years to complete. The exact duration depends on individual circumstances, including the nature of the offense, the time required to gather necessary documentation, and the current processing times of the Parole Board of Canada. Organizations like Pardons Canada (pardons.org) are invaluable resources, offering expertise and support to navigate this process as efficiently as possible. By understanding the steps involved and planning accordingly, individuals seeking to remove their criminal records can take informed actions towards clearing their names and moving forward with their lives.

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