The Parole Board of Canada (PBC) is the responsible federal agency granting pardon decisions pursuant to the Criminal Records Act (CRA). According to the CRA, the PBC can issue, grant, deny, and revoke pardons.
In 2012, the Parliament of Canada promulgated the Safe Streets and Communities Act, which changed many conditions related to the criminal justice system. The Act changed the word “pardon” with “record suspension”, and the pardon procedure was also modified.
A pardon keeps a criminal conviction record separate from other personal records, and allows law abiding citizens to attempt a reintegration into the society.
The CRA eliminates all data regarding the conviction for which an individual was granted the pardon from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC). Once the pardon in issued, Federal Canadian agencies are not allowed to provide information about the conviction unless they get the approval of the Minister of Public Safety Canada.
A pardon does not cancel the conviction. The criminal record is not eliminated, but it is maintained separately from other personal records.
A pardon lifts the ineligibility of a citizen that was caused by the conviction, like the inability to enter into contracts with the Canadian government, or eligibility to naturalize as a Canadian citizen.
A pardon does not guarantee the removal of conditions of inadmissibility to other countries. For example, individuals applying for a U.S. Visa may be required to disclose the conviction and apply for a waiver of grounds of inadmissibility.
Individuals may request a Pardon if they were tried and convicted as an adult of a criminal statute in Canada, or federal Canadian crime. Non-Canadian citizens are entitled to a Canadian pardon only if they were convicted in Canada.
To qualify for a pardon, individuals must have served their sentences and must also satisfy a pre-filing waiting period.
Individuals are deemed to have served their sentence if:
- Fines were paid in full;
- sentences of imprisonment were served, along with any probation order.
All applicants who have been convicted of a crime may be inadmissible to the U.S. for life.
Pardons Criminal Waivers
Depending on the nature of the crime(s), rehabilitation period, community involvement and social status, an applicant may be approved if he/she files an application for Advanced Permission to enter the United States.
These applications are currently taking 6 to 8 months to process and if approved are valid for a one year period.
Extensions are granted in one year increments and a permanent Border Crossing Card may be obtained after the applicant’s third renewal