For many years, Canada’s pardon program has afforded many people the opportunity to start afresh with respect to their criminal records. Though this program is not in actual fact, a form of forgiveness, it recognizes that the good conduct of those who receive it can outweigh previous criminal records, and these records should no longer reflect on them. It gives recipients a clean slate in spite of legally proven criminal offenses. By applying for it, the recipient indicates that he is no longer involved in any form of criminal offense.
To be able to apply for the Canada pardon program, applicants need to meet certain eligibility requirements that depend on the status of the court sentence. The sentence must have been completed, and pardons eligibility – waiting periods, in which the applicant must have been of good conduct, must have elapsed.
The good conduct here usually means that there must be no involvement with the law whatsoever. Being questioned by the police alone can be enough reason for the Parole Board of Canada, which grants the pardon, to assume that the applicant has not been of good conduct and could lead to denial of the application for pardon.
Before the bill C-10 was passed, the waiting period for eligibility for a pardon was three years for summary offenses and five years for indictable offenses. However, since the bill was passed, the waiting periods, as part of the eligibility requirements, are as follows:
Summary Offenses – 5 years
Indictable Offenses – 10 years
It is advised that those who wish to apply for pardon begin to do so at least, a year before becoming eligible so that their criminal records can be sealed more quickly.
How to Apply
Once an applicant is certain that they meet the necessary eligibility requirements set by the Parole Board, they can begin to process their application. This can be done in three ways.
1. By oneself
The Parole Board of Canada has made it clear that applicants of Canada pardon program can process their application by themselves. However, they will require a third party, which is an accredited agency to handle the step of fingerprinting, which applicants cannot do for themselves.
2. With a Lawyer
Some people hire lawyers, knowing that though it is not a requirement to process the pardon application, a good knowledge of the law can come in handy.
3. With a pardon services agency
If neither of the aforementioned options is satisfactory enough for applicants, they can request the services of a Canadian pardon service provider.
Having met all requirements, the documents that will be needed are:
Documents showing Convictions, Conditional and Absolute Discharges form (Criminal Record) from the RCMP in Ottawa
Military Conduct Sheet (current and former members of the Canadian Forces only).
Local Police Records Check(s).
Proof of Citizenship or Immigration Documents.
Photocopy of Document to Support Identification.
Schedule 1 Exception Form.
Record Suspension Application Form.
Measurable Benefit/Sustained Rehabilitation Form.
Applicants can mail these with the required processing fee.