When am I eligible for a pardon?
You are eligible for a pardon only after you have been convicted in court and your ordered sentence has been completed.
Common sentences include:
- community service
- time served
- restitution payments
You must then have waited the required 5 or 10 years (for summary or indictable offences) from the date that your sentence was completed to become eligible.
Keep in mind that we advise beginning the paperwork on your pardon application at least 1 year in advance of becoming eligible.
What are common summary Offences?
- Possession of a controlled substance
- Theft and Mischief Under $5000
- Obstruct Peace Officer
- Fail to Comply with Probation Order/Recognizance
- Fail to Appear/Fail to Attend Court
What are common indictable Offences?
- Possession of controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking
- Production/cultivation of a controlled substance
- Fraud, theft, and mischief over $5000
What are common Hybrid Offences? (can be Summary OR Indictable)
- Fraud under $5000
- Assault with a weapon
- Assault causing bodily harm
- Possession of property obtained by crime under $5000
- Possession / use of credit card obtained by crime
For more information:
What affects my eligibility?
The type and severity of the offence determines whether a charge is summary or indictable, which dictates the required waiting period.
- Summary offences carry a 5 year waiting period,
- Indictable offences carry a 10 year waiting period.
Waiting periods begin only once the entire sentence has been completed.
Weapons and driving prohibitions as well as community service are not considered a part of your sentence for purposes of applying for a Canadian pardon.
If you have not finished your sentence you are not eligible for your pardon. The Parole Board also takes into account any police contact (even if non-criminal) within the past 5 years.
Any contact with the police can cause the Parole Board to question your “good conduct” and consider you ineligible to receive a pardon.
For more information:
What happens if the court cannot confirm my fine or restitution payment?
You must try to obtain proof of payment from the victim involved (for restitution), and for both fines and restitution if you are unable to provide proof of payment you must submit a legally binding affidavit stating that all monies have been paid in full with your application.
What if I was given an extended period of time to pay my fines?
You are not eligible for the pardon until all monies owed have been paid in full and you have completed your waiting period. Waiting periods do not begin under any circumstance until fines have been paid and all other sentences complete.
The Parole Board is now being so particular about paid fines that we have seen people with unpaid surcharges of only a few dollars being refused their pardon. This is even in cases where the applicant was unaware of the surcharge and the offence dates back several decades.
What if I served time in jail instead of paying my fine?
This is sufficient for the Parole Board, but an affidavit must be submitted if no official documentation from the court can be provided.
Does a driver’s licence suspension / interlock device affect my eligibility?
Is there any way around my date of eligibility?
Are there any crimes that cannot be pardoned?
Yes there are many situations where a pardon will not be a possibility, for example:
- sexual offences involving a minor
- more than 3 indictable offences where the sentence was more than 2 years in jail each time
- any crime in which the sentence can never be completed (in some very serious cases the offender will receive lifetime in jail or lifetime probation)
Life Sentences and Section 745.6 of the Criminal Code
Does a pardon eliminate a prohibition order?
No. A prohibition order does NOT affect your eligibility, but it is also not removed by obtaining a pardon. There is no way to remove a prohibition order.
Can I apply to remove only certain offences from my criminal record?
No. You must be eligible for, and pardoned for ALL offences on your criminal record at the same time. The application for a pardon cannot be done piece by piece.
Who decides if I am eligible for a pardon or not?
Canadian law dictates whether or not you are eligible for a pardon. This cannot be challenged by anyone.
The Parole Board of Canada however has the final say and even those who are eligible under the law can be denied their pardon. This is something we strongly disagree with at the National Pardon Centre and our hope is that this aspect of the pardon legislation will eventually be challenged in federal court.
Our position is that the application for a pardon should not be subjective and that all Canadians should benefit from the guaranteed right of being innocent until proven guilty.
However, just the suspicion of guilt is now being used to refuse pardon applications. Since the Parole Board of Canada does not believe it must be held to that standard, we feel this is a violation of your rights and freedoms. We hope that this will one day be challenged in Federal Court.
Please bear in mind that we are not lawyers and our opinion on this matter is only that, an informed opinion.
What does it mean to bring the administration of justice into disrepute?
The Parole Board needs to make sure that applicants that would embarrass a Conservative minded government are not being granted.
This relates to the eligibility. It is our belief that the application for a pardon should be objective. Instead the Parole Board now uses a subjective selection criteria and reserves the right to refuse a pardon for any reason whatsoever.
As far as we can tell this measure is designed to keep the pardon system out of the media spotlight.
I am not eligible yet. When should I start the process?
Start your application as early as possible. It will save you money and time. We suggest a minimum of 12 months in advance but there is no harm starting even earlier.