Pardon Eligibility Today

Pardon eligibility is met after all sentences have been completed and a waiting period of good conduct has been met. A sentence can be anything from a fine or probation to jail time. Community service and house arrest are also common sentences we see at the National Pardon Centre.Good conduct is a subjective term but to keep it simple good conduct means staying out of trouble with the law.

Pardon Eligibility

Pardon Eligibility – Waiting Periods

Once you have completed your sentence the waiting periods to become eligible for a pardon are as follows:

  • Summary offences: 5 years
  • Indictable offences: 10 years

For court appearances which did not result in a conviction there are certain waiting periods that must be met before the files can be destroyed.

  • Absolute Discharge: 1 year
  • Conditional Discharge: 3 years

For not guilty outcomes varying time frames exist before the records can be destroyed.

  • Not Guilty Outcomes: normally within 1 year

Keep in mind that it is advisable to begin your pardon application or your purge and file destruction at least 1 year in advance of becoming eligible if you want your criminal record to be sealed as soon as possible.The 5 and 10 year criteria for pardon eligibility is a result of the Conservative government of Canada’s tough on crime legislation (Bill C-10) which significantly increased the waiting periods for eligibility.

Pardon Eligibility – History

Before the passage of bill C-10 eligibility for a pardon was as follows:

  • Summary Offences: 3 years
  • Indictable Offences: 5 years

However, prior to the passage of Bill C-10, another piece of legislation was passed in the House of Commons. Bill C-23 A maintained the previous eligibility waiting periods for summary and indictable offences at 3 and 5 years but increased the waiting period for sexual and serious personal injury offences to 10 years.

Further Reading on Pardon Eligibility:Bill C-10 (Bill C-23B becomes Law)Bill C-23 A

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