Pardon F.A.Q.

  1. How likely am I to be granted a pardon?
  2. What will a pardon do for me?
  3. What are the limitations of a pardon?
  4. Can a pardon be revoked?
  5. If I have more than one conviction, do I need more than one pardon?
  6. How long after my conviction must I wait to apply for a pardon?
  7. How long does it take to get a pardon?
  8. Are there any advantages to starting the pardon process before I'm eligible?
  9. How do I apply for a pardon?
  10. Is it true that my criminal record automatically disappears after 10 years?
  11. If I was charged and convicted when I was a youth, does it appear on my adult record?
  12. How do I know if I have a criminal record? What if my charges were withdrawn, stayed, dismissed, or I was acquitted?
  13. Does my employer or landlord have access to my criminal record?
  14. What are the differences between pardons, waivers and file destruction?
  15. Do I have to undergo a criminal record police clearance before becoming a volunteer or adopting?
  16. If I apply for a Pardon, will the police come to my home or work?

1. How likely am I to be granted a pardon?

The National Parole Board (NPB) will not arbitrarily refuse to grant you a pardon. If you've waited the required time period after the sentence imposed was completed, you have all the proper supporting documents, and you have been "of good conduct", the NPB will grant you a pardon.
2. What will a pardon do for me?

A pardon will remove all information on your convictions from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC). Your record cannot be disclosed without permission from the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. The Canadian Human Rights Act forbids discrimination based on a pardoned conviction.
3. What are the limitations of a pardon?
  • The Criminal Records Act lists certain sexual offences. If you were pardoned for any of these offences, your record will be kept "separate and apart", but your name will still be flagged in the CPIC computer system. This means you may be asked to let employers see your record if you want to work with children or with groups that are vulnerable because of their age or disability.
  • A pardon does not guarantee you entry or visa privileges to another country.
4. Can a pardon be revoked?

Yes, a pardon can be revoked if:
  • You are later convicted of a summary offence under a federal act or regulation of Canada.
  • The NPB finds that you are no longer 'of good conduct'.
  • The NPB learns that a false or deceptive statement was made or relevant information was concealed at the time of the application.
5. If I have more than one conviction, do I need more than one pardon?

No. If the required waiting periods have passed for each of your convictions, and if you have met all of the other requirements, you can apply to have all of your convictions pardoned at the same time.
6. How long after my conviction must I wait to apply for a pardon?

For summary convictions, you must wait 3 years. For indictable offences, you must wait 5 years.
7. How long does it take to get a pardon?

A pardon application can take anywhere from 1 to 12 months from the time the application is filed.
8. Are there any advantages to starting the pardon process before I'm eligible?

Yes. Even if the exact date of eligibility is known, it is important to begin collecting the necessary paperwork as soon as possible because it can take several months.
9. How do I apply for a pardon?

You can apply for a pardon by contacting our office or completing our online application form.
10. Is it true that my criminal record automatically disappears after 10 years?

No. Criminal convictions are not automatically destroyed or sealed. You must take steps and apply to have your record removed.
11. If I was charged and convicted when I was a youth, does it appear on my adult record?

You do not need to apply for a pardon if you were found guilty in a youth court-your record will be destroyed as set out in the Young Offenders Act.
12. How do I know if I have a criminal record? What if my charges were withdrawn, stayed, dismissed, or I was acquitted?

If you have been charged with a crime and the charges against you were dismissed, stayed or withdrawn, you have a criminal record. A fingerprint number (FPS#) is assigned to your name and date of birth, and will exist until you take steps to have your record cleared. Even though you may not have been found guilty or convicted, your FPS# will be revealed in criminal record searches. You can have your record destroyed if you were not found guilty. However, if you were convicted of an offence, you will need a pardon.
13. Does my employer or landlord have access to my criminal record?

If you signed an apartment rental application or an employment application, the documents may have contained a statement giving your landlord or employer permission to conduct a criminal record search.
14. What are the differences between pardons, waivers and file destruction?

A pardon will permanently remove a criminal record. File destructions apply to records where someone was accused, fingerprinted and/or attended criminal court, but not convicted. In the case of file destructions and purges, your fingerprints and photographs will be destroyed. A waiver allows legal entry into the United States.
15. Do I have to undergo a criminal record police clearance before becoming a volunteer or adopting?

Yes. It is a legal requirement that volunteers and prospective parents wishing to adopt undergo a criminal record check during the screening process.
16. If I apply for a Pardon, will the police come to my home or work?

No. All communications with the police and the National Parole Board will be made through us.