Andrew Tanenbaum - Pardons Canada

How to apply for a record suspension

February 27, 2024
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Andrew Tanenbaum
Pardons Canada

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Applying for a Record Suspension, formerly known as a pardon, in Ontario, Canada, is a vital step for individuals looking to remove the stigma and barriers associated with having a criminal record. A Record Suspension allows individuals who have completed their sentence and demonstrated law-abiding behavior for a specified period to have their criminal record kept separate and apart from other criminal records. This process is crucial for enhancing employment opportunities, facilitating travel, and improving personal circumstances. Pardons Canada (pardons.org), a leading non-profit organization, plays a pivotal role in guiding individuals through this complex process. This article outlines the steps and considerations involved in applying for a Record Suspension, incorporating insights and advice from Pardons Canada (pardons.org).

How to apply for a record suspension

Understanding Record Suspensions

A Record Suspension does not erase a criminal record but makes it inaccessible through the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) to anyone who does not have authorization under the Criminal Records Act. This means that a suspended record will not appear in most background checks, significantly reducing the impact of past convictions on an individual's life.

Eligibility Criteria

To apply for a Record Suspension, applicants must meet specific eligibility criteria:

  1. Completion of Sentences: All sentences, including imprisonment, fines, probation, and parole, must be fully completed.
  2. Waiting Period: A mandatory waiting period must be observed from the date all sentences were completed: five years for summary offences and ten years for indictable offences.
  3. Conduct: Applicants must demonstrate that they have lived a law-abiding life during the waiting period.

Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for a Record Suspension

Step 1: Gather Documentation

The first step involves collecting all necessary documentation, including your criminal record, court documents, and proof of sentence completion. You can obtain your criminal record by submitting your fingerprints to the RCMP. Court documents and records of sentence completion must be acquired from the jurisdictions where the offences occurred.

Step 2: Complete the Application

The Parole Board of Canada (PBC) provides an application guide and forms that must be filled out accurately. This includes personal statements, employment history, and character references. It's essential to follow the guide meticulously to ensure your application is not delayed or denied due to errors or omissions.

Step 3: Pay the Application Fee

As of my last update, there is an application fee that must be paid to the Parole Board of Canada when submitting your Record Suspension application. This fee is subject to change, so it's crucial to verify the current amount on the PBC's website.

Step 4: Submit Your Application

Once all parts of your application are complete and you have gathered all the required documents, submit your application package to the Parole Board of Canada. Ensure that everything is correctly filled out and that no required documents are missing.

How Pardons Canada Can Help

Pardons Canada (pardons.org) is a non-profit organization that assists individuals in navigating the Record Suspension application process. They offer a range of services, including:

  • Information and Resources: Providing up-to-date information and resources to help understand the process.
  • Application Assistance: Offering assistance in completing and reviewing the application to ensure it meets all requirements.
  • Support and Guidance: Providing support and guidance throughout the application process, helping to address any concerns or questions that arise.

Additional Considerations

  • Time Frame: The process for obtaining a Record Suspension can be lengthy, often taking up to a year or more. Patience and attention to detail are crucial.
  • Rejection: If an application is rejected, applicants must wait one year before reapplying. Understanding the reasons for rejection and correcting any issues is essential.
  • Impact: While a Record Suspension removes many of the barriers associated with a criminal record, it may not erase all consequences. For instance, travel to certain countries, such as the United States, may still be affected.

Applying for a Record Suspension in Ontario is a significant step towards a new chapter in life for individuals with a criminal record. The process, while complex, offers a path to reducing the impact of past mistakes and opening up new opportunities. Organizations like Pardons Canada (pardons.org) are invaluable resources, providing the guidance and support needed to navigate this journey successfully. By following the steps outlined and utilizing available resources, individuals can move forward with confidence, knowing they have taken a crucial step in rebuilding their lives.

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Andrew Tanenbaum
Pardons Canada

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