Pardons in Canada
It is important to realize that pardons in Canada are no longer officially called pardons. AsÂ a result of the Conservative government’s omnibus crime bill, bill C-10 the term pardon in Canada has been replaced with record suspension. Therefore from a narrow view of the matter pardons in Canada no longer exist. However, since a record suspension is the same thing as a pardon, it is still possible to get a pardon in Canada. The record is sealed and that is all that really matters.
This term pardons in Canada was changed because the Tories felt that it implied the government was forgiving criminals and because a tough on crime stance rings very well with the electorate. This plus a few high profile cases of the wrong people receiving pardons allowed the Tories to capitalize on the public’s outrage and the general misunderstanding of what a pardon is supposed to do.
The truth is that a pardon in Canada is not about forgiveness. Instead it is about completing the rehabilitation process and allowing previous offenders to return to the workforce unimpeded. If you think finding work is difficult these days you should try looking for work with a criminal record.
This is why the pardons program in Canada has been so successful. Only 4% of people granted a pardon (now a record suspension remember) ever have the pardon revoked which is a very high level of success for a social program. Pardons in Canada are very much a part of keeping crimes as low as they possibly can be.
To become eligible for a pardon in Canada the rules are simple and clear. You must complete your sentence and stay out of trouble with the law and then you must wait either 5 years or 10 years until your eligibility time arrives.
If you were charged with only summary offences you are eligible for a pardon in Canada 5 years after completing your sentence.
If you have indictable offences you must wait 10 years before becoming eligible for a pardon in Canada.
There are some exceptions of course. People with Sexual offences involving a child are no longer eligible for a pardon in Canada. Similarly anyone with more than 3 indictable offences, each of which was punished by more than 2 years in prison, is no longer eligible as well.
If you have a criminal record I highly suggest you get it cleared. You can call it a pardon or you can call it a record suspension because they are both the same thing. Â The bottom line is that even if a criminal record is not affecting your life right now there is a very high possibility that one day it will. And since it’s possible in Canada to have a pardon for your charges and clear your record, failing to do so is more than likely going to be a costly mistake.