Is it a pardon or not?

A pardon is a valuable thing. Who wants to have a criminal record tied to your back when you don’t have to? But is it really a pardon? The answer is both yes and no depending on what kind of person you are or how you tend to look at things.

While it is true that pardons are no longer called pardons it is still the same thing. You could call your cat a dog but it would still be a cat.

Since the conservative got their hands on Canada’s pardon program the term pardon has been changed to record suspension. But aside from making them slightly more difficult to obtain once a record suspension is granted your criminal record is removed. So it’s still a pardon.

Of course this is just semantic nitpicking and you can call it whatever you like. But whether you call it a pardon or a record suspension or a get back to work authorization application it amounts to the same thing and it is an important thing for anyone who has a criminal record to obtain.

For some reason the Conservatives were intent on changing the wording of the program. I suspect this is because deep down Conservatives aren’t really known for taking a rehabilitation approach to criminal justice. But I think it also might have a lot to do with the fact that when they really sat down to take a look at the Canadian pardon program they found themselves at a loss about what to do.

It’s understandable because as far as rehabilitation programs go it’s hard to imagine one being more successful than the pardons canada program. Approximately 97% of people granted a pardon never re-offend, which most people who work in criminal justice find remarkable.

Comment (0)
Kurt / April 16, 2012

There is a lot of negative comments against the conservative party on this blog. I am submitting comments in regards to The National Pardon Centre itself and its business dealings with their customers. I just had a waiver application from The National Pardon Centre and attended the Homeland Security at the Toronto Airport and was advised that I received misinformation from the agency, that both my wife and myself do not require a waiver, and an agent stated that “the agency is a ripoff” and the agent further stated that “if it was him he would hire a lawyer to get his money back”. Why is there a seemingly hatred and disgust with the Canadian agencies involved with the waiver process. I was asked who told me that I needed a waiver, and why I used an agency when all the forms are online. The conservatives may not be perfect but neither is The National Pardon Centre. Matter of fact when I called 514-842-2211 which is listed above, a couple of times I received the message “there is no service at this number”. I called the toronto office today to discuss this matter with them and my disappointment with their service on several matters, I was not able to obtain any resolution. One of my options would to be to inform others with my experiences.

Michael / April 16, 2012

Hi Kurt,

I tried to look up your file but was unable to find it with the email provided in your comment (which is not posted online). So it is hard to understand what you are upset about. I am not sure why the border agent you dealt with spoke negatively of us but I would guess he doesn’t know one company from the next. As for not requiring a waiver many people get refused at the border when they do not require one. We would not have proceeded with an applicatin for a waiver without your permission or request, nor wold we have done so if we did not think you required it. At any rate I would be happy to discuss this with you. My direct line is below.

514.842.2411 x 227

Birgit Davidson / April 18, 2012


The 514-842-2211 number that you mention was Not In Service is not our phone number. You can reach us at 514-842-2411.


tommy / April 27, 2012

Hi. Quick question. Suppose you already got a ‘pardon’, is it renamed as a record suspension? I imagine that it is still called a pardon. When the law took effect, the new applications are renamed record suspensions, no? So there would be a before the law (pardon), after the law (record suspension), is this correct?

Michael / April 30, 2012

Hi tommy,

I don’t think it matters at all what you call it but if it is important for any reason then I believe that a pardon will still be called a pardon. But I am not really sure to be perfectly honest. You could contact the Parole Board to find out.

Kind regards,



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