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Canadian Pardon Waiting Period – 5 and 10

Canadian pardon waiting periods

Canadian pardon eligibility subject to a 5 or 10 year waiting period.

If getting a Canadian pardon has been a concern to you in the past couple of years and you don’t know the significance of 5 and 10 years then you must have been living in a cave, maybe on the moon or on Mars or somewhere in the Kuiper belt. It would have been hard to avoid learning about these specific time frames.

Since living on the moon or other exotic outer worldly places is highly unlikely it is also possible that some of you have become interested in a pardon only recently.  I will therefore run through the time frames for you and give you my thoughts on why 5 and 10 are important but undesirable.

5 and 10 years

5 and 10 years refers to the amount of time people must wait – AFTER completing the sentence handed down by the courts – before becoming eligible for a pardon.

In the cases of summary offences the wait is 5 years.

In the case of indictable offences the wait is 10 years.

Summary vs. indictable offences – different waiting periods

Summary and indictable are simply ways of classifying less serious and more serious offences. It can be hard to know which one yours is especially since many of the offences we deal with are considered hybrid offences. A hybrid offence is one that can be prosecuted summarily or by way of indictment. The decision is left up to the prosecuting attorney.

Types of summary charges – 5 years

Although a DUI is a hybrid offence it is almost never an indictable offence unless someone was injured or it was a second or third offence. On the other hand something like shoplifting or theft under X amount of dollars is always summary. Other types of summary charges are a simple assault (no one was actually hurt), fraud under 1000, mischief, etc.

Types of indictable charges – 10 years

Generally speaking if someone was hurt during the event that led to the arrest it is highly unlikely that the charge will be summary. Assault causing bodily harm is most likely indictable. The same can be said for more serious non-violent offences like fraud over 5000 or possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Types of Hybrid offences – 5 or 10 years

Most charges we come across seem to be hybrid offences. In reality very few charges in the criminal code must be summary or indictable under all circumstances. However, something like manslaughter will certainly be indictable every time.  On the other hand something like mischief is invariably summary.

Why 5 and 10 years?

The waiting period for a pardon used to be 3 years for summary offences and 5 years for indictable offences. Then the Conservative government was elected and it ran partly on a tough on crime agenda. One of the programs it went after was the pardon program. Despite a 96% success rate for pardons (meaning that 96% of the people granted a pardon never re-offend) the Tories thought that changes were required.

This happened during the Conservative minority years and despite the best efforts of Vic Toews the bill could never get passed. However an amended version of the bill changed the waiting periods for a pardon from 3 and 5 years to 3, 5 and 10 years. In this case 10 years was reserved strictly for sexual offences and serious personal injury offences. This change actually made some sense.

However, once the Conservative government achieved a majority the original bill was passed and we are now stuck with 5 and 10

Proposed Changes

The move to redefine the waiting periods was an ideological one at best. I don’t think there is a single criminologist, lawyer, judge, etc in the country who believe that the Conservatives came to the 5 and 10 year waiting periods after a lengthy analysis of the pardon program.

Adding a longer waiting period for serious personal injury offences and sexual offences was a measure that most people understood and few opposed. However, it was not the idea of the Conservative government. It was instead a compromise proposed by the NDP during the debate surrounding the original version of this controversial crime bill.

Conclusion

It was highly unlikely that the Tories would allow the NDP to hijack its tough on crime agenda. Even though the waiting periods proposed by the NDP and passed in the House of Commons, made a lot more sense than what we have now, they had no hope of surviving once the Conservative government earned a majority status.

And of course they didn’t. The conservatives earned the majority and rest is history.

 

Comment (0)
Anne / April 13, 2013

Well my convictions and sentences are from 1982 and I don’t even remember what they were now – I wasn’t sentenced to jail though and don’t remember if I even got probation. Anyway I am disabled and too poor to afford a pardon so tough luck for me, and for all the organizations I would love to volunteer for.

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Michael Brown / April 24, 2013

I was young and stupid when I was charged. Since then I have reformed my life. I now have two children and a wife. I was one month away from my pardon so called to make sure that everything was going to go through. I couldn’t wait because now I can apply for a better job to support my new family better. I was so happy, after all my five years was about to be over. That was when the lady on the phone told me i would not be getting my pardon till 2019 due to the new laws passed. My hopes and dreams have just been crushed. I asked the lady, because I remember when I began my pardon process with Canadian Pardon Services, that it had said that if i started the process now it would make it so the new laws, that would come into effect four years AFTER i started my five year process, would not matter because I had filed with them before it came into place. Today, a month away from when I should get my pardon, a month away from when I can finally put this horrible stigma of being a criminal behind me and begin applying for jobs that will support my family properly, I am told that is not the case. They lied to me.. I feel so cheated. I must suffer for one stupid night for 10 years. If anyone knows how I might be able to change or fight this please let me know…I feel so lost right now I dont know where to go from here…

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Michael Ashby / April 24, 2013

Hi Michael,

Canadian pardon services absolutely lied to you. In fact I wrote about this problem in the industry quite some time ago on this blog so you can have a read if you like.

http://www.nationalpardon.org/blog/bill-c-23/the-truth-about-record-suspensions/

I wish I could help but the Conservative’s are a “kick em when they’re down” kind of government.

Kind regards,

Michael

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Tiffany / October 4, 2017

Contact a lawyer and research the case of a Mr. Ricky Martin Chu in B.C. He filed an affidavit with the courts claiming it violated his Charter rights. (Rights as a Canadian) AND WON! If there was hope for him there is certainly hope for you. I JUST read about this gentleman about 5 minutes ago. The spelling of his last name might be wrong but I am Certain about the first given names. Google it and good luck

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Tim / August 19, 2013

Hi Micheal,

I know what you mean. I have a similar situation….. I had 6 months house arrest and 2 years of probation, and of course, they only start one after another (punishing you even longer). After that, the 5 years wait period started. A few months before The 5 years was up, I went to start the process of getting my pardon. They told me how it would cost around 1200$ and that, FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, EVEN WITH THE PARDON, I would have to get a US waiver to go in the USA (now that costs around 600$ and is renewable every time it runs out. They can approve you from 1 – 5 years).

Here’s the deal, I`m a LAW SCHOOL STUDENT.
Since I have a criminal record (that doesn’t stop you from getting an education), I`ll have to go in front of the board members of bar association to ask permission to pass my bar with criminal status…..If they refuse, I`ll have to wait 3 years to pass it. And even if they accept me, who will hire me?

Nevertheless….. 12 years and a half WAIT TIME for one idiotic night.

These new laws do not stop criminals or scare them away. Why? It’s easy….NOBODY KNOWS ABOUT THEM!!!!!

Thank you.

Tim

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Michael Ashby / August 20, 2013

Hi Tim,

I’ve had a few of those nights myself. Luckily for me they didn’t end up with house arrest and probation but it wouldn’t have taken much to send the night in the wrong direction like that. The Tories didn’t care about stopping crime. They cared about getting votes. And tough on crime gets votes.

Best luck. Stay away from the border until you get a pardon and you might never need one.

Michael

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Seth / October 25, 2016

Hey

i feel the same pain as you and Micheal. Im a nursing student and recently graduated in the program, im waiting to write the Licencing exam on Dec 17,2016. I haven’t had a problem in applying with the Order of nursing for the license but noone is willing to hire me as a nurse. I was arrested for fraud 2012 and just recently finished my trial sept 2016. The long wait was due to 67 ppl in the case. Now im on a conditional sentence for 2 yrs and another yr for probation. So im technically eligible to apply for pardon 2024 or 2029 .Which is a fucking long time . But im not sure how long i have to wait. I was charged with 465 1c) al cr.c
Anyone has an idea.

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Unlucky Guy / September 16, 2014

Hi, I understand totally. I submitted my forms for the Pardon after waiting 9 months for the RCMP document (they delays as much as possible until the new law) then when submitting they refuse me and because the 5 years start after the 6 month probation and then Talalam!!! the new Conservative law arrive to play 500$ more but that’s nothing I would pay 10 ,000$ to clear that you know why because now I have to wait 5 more years !!!!!!! Now making only 65,000$ / year while the average pay for my title is 85,000$ make the math 20,000$ loss per year x 5 years = 100,000.00$ loss of income at least it’s 100,000.00$ I didn’t pay tax to the Conservator government !!! US waiver is $685 US + document of court 86$ + fingerprint 95$ + 25$ RCMP total CAN$ = close to 1000$ + if they required a Panel physician exam add 1000$ extra for 1 year of waiver ONLY

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Krista / April 3, 2015

I got a DUI 8 years ago, went through pardons canada after 3 year ( THAT’S what it was then) they took my money, i got my finger prints done bla bla…there is no record of this anywhere!! They are rip off artistsI DONT USE THEM! I had an abusive bf who wanted to beat me up and the neighbours heard me screaming so they called thecops…because we were at his house, I was charged with domestic. A year later I was with yet another idiot he decided to smash me and then call the cops…he was a roofer and was hit by a shingle that day at work, told the cops “look at the scratch she gave me” i was arrested for domestic assault because again i was at his house, 1 year probation and my DNA was taken. I am all about taking my responsibility…you can’t fight with yourself, he should have been arrested too. They both should have. I got whiplash and a busted tooth.
Anyways…i have turned my life around, and have to wait to get this evil past gone!! 5 years?? And more money and time and humiliation to get my finger prints, yet again. Plus the money to pay John Howard,plus the 600-ish for the application?
my question after all that rambling is…..if i show up at the border am I screwed? Should I be prepared to turn right back around? And is it easier to get a waiver if I am a status Indian

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Michael Ashby / April 6, 2015

HI Krista,

If you can prove your Native status then you should not be refused crossing at the border regardless of a criminal record. You may want to have a read of the following post.

http://www.nationalpardon.org/us-travel-and-indian-status/

Kind regards,

Michael

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Darcy / November 18, 2015

I was a bit confused about my eligibility for a pardon. In May 2010 I was summarily convicted on a common assault charge and given 2 years probation which was completed without any further issues in May 2012. I was getting conflicting information about whether I have a 5 year wait period or a 10 year wait period.

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Michael Ashby / November 19, 2015

Hi Darcy,

The confusion is because the wait was 3 years prior to 2012. Then Stephen Harper passed his omnibus crime bill and the wait was changed to 5 years. So unfortunately you’re stuck with the new 5 years waiting period. Give me a call if you would like to discuss your case.

Kind regards,

Michael

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Abdul / May 3, 2017

Do you think there will be any changes to that legislation where it would go back to 3&5?

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Michael / May 3, 2017

Hi Abdul,

I used to be quite confident but the government is taking so long I’m starting to wonder if it’s going to happen. Stay tuned to this blog. If anything does change I will announce it here.

MIchael

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Louise Langford / June 14, 2017

I would like to be kept informed of any changes to the pardon process. I also believe it makes it very difficult to make the most of a changed life with a five or ten year additional sentence hanging over you. Time served!!!

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Sam / November 21, 2017

Thanks for sharing Michael. I took my first step today by getting a criminal record check done at my local police station and adding up the dates it looks like I won’t be eligible for a pardon until May 2021. Hopefully this post will be here so I can come back and let everyone know I got it done. One thing I would like to share with anyone reading this is that there is always hope. Hope for a better government that doesn’t just make new laws without the right analysis like MIchael mentioned. From my experience it’s the average person that really gets shafted by the government not a career criminal. These fees the waiting time are all irrelevant for someone who is a career criminal. So exactly who are they punishing? If any government is going to get my vote they better speak towards my demographic, someone 25-30 who is educated that has work experience but a criminal record is holding them back from meaningful employment. If they can’t address this than we just need to get everyone’s signatures and show them this 5 year waiting period is nuts and I have a lot of my conservative friends that would agree that for non-serious offences like a summary offence the waiting period should not be so long. 5 years is enough to drive you into debt, change your entire outlook on life. 5 years of this disconnect from your community will make you feel like a castaway literally. I’m so pissed right now I’m ready to go protest this. And the public will still just look at me as a criminal, but wait until you’re on the wrong side of the law and see if anyone will believe your side of the story.

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Michael Ashby / November 21, 2017

Hi Sam,

If you were convicted prior to Feb 2012 and live in Ontario or BC I suggest you give me a call. IF not then keep your fingers crossed that the laws will change.

Kind regards,

Michael

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Chris Malard / January 2, 2018

Drinking and driving is a hybrid offense. So , the parole Board waiting time will be 5 or 10 years?. Does this depend on the option made by the crown attorney at the hearing ?

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Michael Ashby / January 3, 2018

Hi Chris,

Yes, it depends on how the crown chose to prosecute.

Kind regards,

Michael

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N / February 17, 2018

Hello,

If I was convicted of a DUI in late November 2013 and had received a one-year suspension of driving and a $1500 fine. Is that a 5-year wait? If it is, should I apply for a pardon this year?

Thank you.

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Michael Ashby / February 19, 2018

Hi Nicole,

I always suggest getting started a year early if possible. If you’d like to discuss your case feel free to give me a call. If you just want to get going you can easily apply online:

https://nationalpardon.org/apply-online-pardon-canada/“>Apply Online

Kind regards,

Michael Ashby
514-842-2411 x 227

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Patrick Chapman / July 17, 2018

NOW THAT WE HAVE A MORE THOUGHTFUL AND FORGIVING GOVERNMENT CAN WE NOT GET THIS RIDICULOUS LAW CHANGED? I RECENTLY SAT IN ON A EMPLOYMENT SEMINAR FOR PEOPLE OVER 45-YEARS OF AGE AND ALMOST EVERYONE WAS HAVING THE SAME ISSUE. THEY COULD NOT GET A JOB BECAUSE A LESSER SUMMARY CONVICTION WELL IN THEIR PAST BECAUSE OF THE COST. UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE THIS TYPE OF MONEY. SO WHAT HAPPENS IS THE GOVERNMENT (TAXPAYERS) ARE FORCED TO PAY OUT A HUNDRED TIMES MORE TO SUPPORT UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE. IT MAKES NO SENSE. WE NEED TO GO BACK TO THE WAY IT WAS BEFORE. TOUGH ON CRIME WHAT A BUNCH OF POLITICAL HOGWASH. THIS IS JUST TOUGH ON POOR AND UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE AND IS NOT GOOD FOR THE INDIVIDUAL OR THE TAXPAYER. HOW WOULD WE GO ABOUT LOBBYING THE LIBERAL GOVERNMENT FOR THE CHANGE BACK?

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Michael Ashby / July 17, 2018

Hi Patrick,

I don’t think this government has any intention of working on this portfolio, at least not before the next election cycle. Hopefully I am wrong.

Michael

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