Can you trust your pardon?

I have been writing articles for a magazine concerned with the trucking industry called Over the Road. You might think truckers are the type to get arrested and that’s why pardons Canada and criminal records apply to them but that would be unfair. The reason truckers are interested in the pardon system more than the average Canadian worker is because they are crossing the border on a regular basis and therefore a criminal record, if it exists, will come under heavier scrutiny for people working in the industry. So maybe truckers get arrested more often that the average Joe but I don’t think so and I certainly don’t have any evidence to support the claim or deny it.

One of the articles I wrote was about a Canadian pardon and how it affects the border when the Americans were not previously aware of the criminal record. Click here to read some of my previous articles you aren’t quite sure how that works.

One of the readers was somewhat upset at the claims made in the article because it seems that his experience contradicted the advice I was giving. He sent me an email explaining how I must retract my statements because obviously they were flawed based on his experience crossing (or not crossing) the United States border.

This is a tough situation because the advice I give is accurate but not absolute. The system is a system and it is prone to flaws and transgressions and no, you can never expect it to work 100% effectively all of the time in every situation. Life just doesn’t work that way.

But all that being said the Canadian pardon program is still a valuable program and short of the most unusual cases you can certainly count on and have confidence in the system. It gets a little trickier when you factor in the American border but even then you should be ok. You just need to know where you stand.

If you have a pardon and you want to be sure all is ok drop by your local police station and ask them to search CPIC for you. If nothing comes up your pardon worked. And if you have never been stopped at the border, deported, or had any experience that would lead you to believe the Americans are aware of your criminal record then you should be ok to cross the border too. Just don’t tell the Americans about your pardon.

Mind you, in a case like that you are breaking the law again. If all this sounds complicated don’t worry because it is.

Life is like that!

Comment (0)
mike / August 5, 2014

Hello Michael,
I noticed in the new pardon rules that a flag will remain for anyone granted a pardon who had a sexual assault charge. Would this flag be seen at the US border?
Thanks in advance for taking the time yo answer!

Michael Ashby / August 6, 2014

HI mike,

The flag only shows up on a Vulnerable Sector search. To my knowledge the border guards do not have access to that database.

Kind regards,



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