Thank you for joining me today. I want to talk about a point of confusion that’s arisen about the terms record suspension versus pardon under Canadian criminal law. What’s the difference? Is there any difference and how does this apply? And I want to talk a little bit about the procedure for this. 

So first of all, in March 13 2012, they brought a new legislation so they effectively changed the term pardon to what we now call a record suspension. You can really think of them as the same terms, they just changed the name effectively. 

What does a pardon or record suspension mean? It means if you successfully apply to the parole board to have your criminal record, suspended, used be called a pardon, it means it’s set aside. It’s not on the Canadian police information center computer. So it won’t show up in a criminal record check and they keep that separate apart on another computer where no one can see it except certain government officials, for example, the Crown Attorney. So this is very important. So that was changed in 2012 and we now call it record suspension. Everyone still calls it a pardon frankly, you know, what, the name hasn’t really caught on but it really means that your record it doesn’t erase your record, it just means it’s kept separate apart. So it’s not searchable, which is a great thing because you can get a job and not worry about record following you around. 

Now a couple points. First of all, if you get a subsequent conviction, let’s say you’re convicted again, well the parole board will generally revoke your record, your pardon or suspension it will go back on the CPIC system. So that’s not a good thing. So it’s very important the new procedure as well. It used to be that you could apply three years after summary conviction sentence ended and five years after indictable. Now unfortunately, it’s a longer period. It’s five years after your summary conviction sentence ends and 10 years after your indictable offence. You can start the application process before. I’d recommend you start it about a year before. Gather the fingerprints. There’s an expense to it and it’s quite involved, but it’s a great thing for people because they can effectively remove their criminal record from the system and set it aside. Now it’s not automatic. The Parole Board will consider each individual case but by a large, they will grant pardons in the proper case, you know and there’s no question about that. It’s a time consuming process. It takes time you may or may not want to hire a lawyer or a paralegal to do that type work. So there you have it. A pardon is still effectively called now called a record suspension. I don’t call it that still. I wish I could get used to the terminology but that’s the proper terminology. Your record is kept in suspense set aside from what’s searchable under the Canadian police information center computer database and that that is what means when you’re when your employer does a criminal record check that’s the database that’s used so you’ll come up clear. 

By Published On: March 1, 2024Last Updated: March 1, 2024Categories: General, Video

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